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Mark Hutten, M.A.
Re: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in kids. Kids
with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home,
school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence
and adulthood. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neuro-behavioral developmental disorder. ATTENTION
DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER is primarily characterized by the co-existence of attentional problems and
hyperactivity, with each behavior occurring infrequently alone.
 
While symptoms may appear to be innocent and merely
annoying nuisances to observers, if left untreated, the
persistent and pervasive effects of ATTENTION DEFICIT
HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER symptoms can insidiously
and severely interfere with one's ability to get the most
out of education, fulfill one's potential in the workplace,
establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, and
maintain a generally positive sense of self.

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER is
the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric
disorder in kids, affecting about 3 to 5% of kids globally
with symptoms starting before seven years of age.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER is a
common chronic disorder in kids with 30 to 50% of those
individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to have
symptoms into adulthood.
Adolescents and young adults with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER tend to develop coping
mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments. However, many aspects of daily life that most people
take for granted are rendered more difficult by the symptoms of ADHD. Though previously regarded as a childhood
diagnosis, ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER can continue throughout adulthood. 4.7 percent of
American adults are estimated to live with ADHD.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER is
diagnosed two to four times as frequently in boys as in
girls, though studies suggest this discrepancy may be
due to subjective bias of referring teachers. ADHD
management usually involves some combination of
medications, behavior modifications, lifestyle changes,
and counseling. Its symptoms can be difficult to
differentiate from other disorders, increasing the
likelihood that the diagnosis of ATTENTION DEFICIT
HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER will be missed or vice
versa. Additionally, most clinicians have not received
formal training in the assessment and treatment of
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER,
particularly in adult patients. ADHD and its diagnosis
and treatment have been considered controversial since
the 1970s.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER and its diagnosis and treatment have been considered
controversial since the 1970s. The controversies have involved clinicians, teachers, policy-makers, parents and the
media. Opinions regarding ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER range from (a) not believing it exists at
all to (b) believing there are genetic and physiological bases for the condition as well as disagreement about the use
of stimulant medications in treatment. Most health-care providers accept that ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY
DISORDER is a genuine disorder with debate in the scientific community centering mainly on how it is diagnosed and
treated. The AMA Council on Scientific Affairs concluded in 1998 that diagnostic criteria for ATTENTION DEFICIT
HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER are based on extensive empirical research and, if applied appropriately, lead to the
diagnosis of a syndrome with high reliability, good face validity, and high predictability of course and medication
responsiveness.

ADHD has three subtypes:

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive—
o  Most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.
o  Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.

• Predominantly inattentive—
o  The majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-
impulsivity are present, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.
o  Kids with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other kids. They may sit quietly,
but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the youngster may be overlooked, and parents
and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.

• Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive—
o  Six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present.
o  Most kids have the combined type of ADHD.
More about ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER:

•        
What are the symptoms of ADHD in kids?
•        What Causes ADHD?
•        How is ADHD diagnosed?
•        How is ADHD treated? - Medications
•        How is ADHD treated? - Psychotherapy
•        What conditions can coexist with ADHD?
•        How can I work with my child’s school?
•        Do teens with ADHD have special needs?
•        Can adults have ADHD?
•        What efforts are under way to improve treatment?
•        Citations