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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders among children. About 3 percent to 5 percent of American children are affected by this disorder. This disorder is commonly mis-diagnosed in children who are very hyperactive, assuming that very hyperactive kids have this disorder. In this paper I plan to discuss ideas such as: the symptoms, theories of causation, risks, and how this disorder is looked at and treated. There are signs that a child may be affected by ADHD, which are very noticeable in some cases.

Some of the physical symptoms that are involved include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsitivity. When discussing inattention, the idea that individuals have difficulty sustaining interest in finishing a task, strangely, a person with ADHD may have no problems with attention while doing an activity they enjoy, but wont be able to finish a complicated or new task. People with this disorder are often noted for their inconsistencies, have bad handwriting, miss details, and are often forgetful.

But because the individual over-focuses on something of great interest, or something that is highly stimulating, many times an untrained observer may assume that this ability to concentrate negates the possibility of ADHD being a concern, especially when they see children able to pay attention while working one-on-one with someone, doing something they enjoy, or can sit and play a video game or watch television for hours on end. In addition to problems with attention, people with ADHD can be fidgety, and appear to be moving around constantly. Which leads me to myth that all people with ADHD are hyperactive, this is not always the case.

Because society has traditionally thought of a person with ADHD as being hyper, many children who have this disorder with no signs of being hyperactive are not being identified or treated. For those individuals who are not hyperactive, they are often thought of as a day-dreamers or an absent-minded professors. The non-hyperactive children with ADHD most often seem to be girls, but it is 5 to 7 more common in boys. (Booth, 2000) Another symptom that is very common in people with ADHD is impulsitivity, which means that the individual seems to be unable to think before they act.

They may interrupt others who are talking, blurt out inappropriate comments, or have a hard time waiting their turn. Regardless of the consequence, people with ADHD can out as if they are out of control. Although researchers are still studying exactly what causes ADHD, they know what doesnt cause it, and that is sugar. Sugar and food additives dont cause ADHD, and in research study in 1982 the National Institutes of Health concluded that restricting sugar and food additive consumption only helped about 5% of the children with this disorder.

Minor brain injuries from early infection, or birth complications also have been ruled out, head injuries can only explain a few cases of ADHD, not all of them. Television watching, poor home and school environments also dont cause ADHD, they may contribute to behavior that resembles the symptoms. Instead new theories point to low levels of activity in some parts of the brain as an indicator of ADHD. In one study, investigators found that control attention, meaning that areas were less active and caused inattention. Cocaine and heavy alcohol use during pregnancy may also distort developing nerve cell.

Using alcohol during pregnancy may cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which leads to low birth weight, and certain physical and intellectual impairments. Many FAS children also show the same symptoms as children with ADHD. I feel that you can rule out genes, because they probably account for some ADHD causes. Children with this disorder usually have at least one relative with ADHD, with one-third of fathers with ADHD having children with disorder also. More important, identical twins are often both affected. (National ADD, 97)

Treatment is available for people who have ADHD, which includes therapy and drug treatment. But in order to make sure these symptoms are from an actual case of ADHD, and not from an emotional or physical disorder, a medical professional would need to look at the history of the symptoms, ruling out any learning disabilities, or physical problems or environmental factors that may have caused problems. If the doctor is diagnosing a child, school report cards that contain comments about the childs inattention and discipline problems are helpful factors that help point out ADHD.

Another important step in diagnosis is option to use treatment that involves stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin, which reduce hyperactivity and help individuals to pay better attention. Studies show that nine out of ten children usually improve. If the symptoms worsen, the doctor may adjust the dosage. Using therapeutic treatment, combined with drug therapy has proved to be a successful tool in handling ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is something the never goes away, it follows you into adulthood.

Individuals with ADHD may want to join a support group to share in their frustration and successes when they are older. This is a disorder that is treatable, and for those who are not treated, serous socially problems are a problem I have learned a great deal about the ADHD disorder. I feel that anyone who has children, or works with kids should be aware of ADHD, because it affects a lot of children. A big concern is really recognizing the symptoms, and getting treatment for these kids so they can have a chance at living a successful life, just like everyone else.

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Home » Disorder » Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Imagine living in a world where sights, sounds, images and thoughts are constantly changing and shifting. Unable to focus on whatever task is at hand, your mind wanders from one activity or thought to the next. Sometimes you become so lost among all the thoughts and images that you don’t even notice when someone is speaking to you. This is what it is like for many people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders among children.

It ffects 3 to 5 percent of all children, and it is likely to occur two to three times more in boys than in girls. People who have ADHD may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks, or be completely aware of what is going on in the world around them. However, on some occasions, they may appear “normal”, leading others to believe that the person with ADHD can control such behaviors. As a result of this, ADHD can hinder the person’s relationships and interactions with others in addition to disrupting their daily life and lowering self-esteem.

To determine whether or not a person has ADHD, specialists must consider several questions: Do these behaviors occur more often than in other people of the same age? Are the behaviors an ongoing problem, not just a response to a [temporary] situation? Do the behaviors occur only in one specific place or in several different settings? In answering these questions, the person’s behavior patterns are compared to a set of criteria and characteristics of ADHD.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) presents this set of criteria. According to the DSM, there are three patterns of behavior that indicate ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. According to the DSM, signs of inattention include: becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds; failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes; rarely following instructions carefully and/or completely; and constantly losing or forgetting things like books, pencils, tools, and such.

Some signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity, according to the DSM, are: the inability to sit still, often fidgeting with hands and feet; running, limbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet, attentive behavior is required; difficulty waiting in line or for a turn; and blurting out answers before hearing the entire question. However, because almost everyone will behave in these manners at some time, the DSM has very specific guidelines for determining if they indicate ADHD. Such behaviors must appear early in life, before age 7, and continue for at least 6 months.

For children, these behaviors must occur more frequently and severely than in others of the same age. Most of all, the behaviors must create true handicap in at least 2 areas of the person’s life (e. g. school, home, work, social settings). One of the difficulties in diagnosing ADHD is that it is usually accompanied by other problems. Many children who have ADHD also have a learning disability. This means that they have trouble with certain language or academic skills, commonly reading and math. A very small number of people with ADHD also have Tourette’s syndrome.

Those affected by Tourette’s syndrome may have tics, facial twitches, and other such movements that they cannot control. Also, they ay grimace, shrug, or yell out words abruptly. Almost half of all children with ADHD, mostly boys, have another condition known as oppositional defiant disorder. This sometimes develops into more serious conduct disorders. Children with this disorder, in conjunction with ADHD, may be stubborn, have outbursts, and act belligerent or defiant. They may take unsafe risks and break laws — ultimately getting them into trouble at school and with the police.

Still, not all children with ADHD have an additional disorder. The same is true for people with learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, etc. They do not all have ADHD with their initial disorder. However, when ADHD and such disorders do occur together, the problems can seriously complicate a person’s life. As we speak, scientists are discovering more and more evidence suggesting that ADHD does not stem from home environment, but from biological causes. And over the past few decades, health professionals have come up with possible theories about what causes ADHD. But, they continue to emphasize that no one knows exactly what causes ADHD.

There are just too many possibilities [for now] to be certain about the exact cause. Therefore, it is more important for the person affected [and their family] to search for ways to get the right help. A common method for treating ADHD is the use of medications. Drugs known as stimulants seem to have been the most effective with both children and adults who have ADHD. The three which are most often prescribed are: methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine or Dextrostat), and pemoline (Cylert). For many, these drugs dramatically reduce hyperactivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn.

Research done by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also suggests that medications such as these may help children with accompanying conduct disorders control their impulsive, destructive behaviors. However, these drugs don’t cure ADHD, they only temporarily control the symptoms. Many health professionals recommend that these medications be used in combination with some type of therapy, training, and/or support group. Such options include: psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, parental skills training (for parents with ADHD children), and support groups.

Although most people with ADHD don’t “outgrow” it, they do learn how to adapt and live better, more fulfilling lives. With the proper combination of medicine, family, and emotional support, people who have ADHD can develop ways to better control their behavior. Through further studies, scientists are better understanding the nature of biological disorders. New research is allowing us to better understand how our minds and bodies work, along with new medicines and treatments that continue to be developed. Even though there is no immediate cure for ADHD, research continues to provide information, knowledge, and hope.

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