attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

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attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

,

ADHD

A persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, or both, occurring more frequently and severely than is typical in those at a comparable level of development. ADHD is the most commonly reported neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. The illness may begin in early childhood but may not be diagnosed until after the symptoms have been present for many years. The prevalence is estimated to be 3% to 5% in children; 4% in adults.

Symptoms

Signs may be minimal or absent when the person is under strict control or is engaged in esp. interesting or challenging situations. They are more likely to occur in group situations. Although behaviors vary widely, affected people typically exhibit motor restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty concentrating on a single task or chore. They tend to do more poorly in school than one might predict based on assessments of their intelligence alone. While characteristics of ADHD are found in many people at one time or another, a key feature of ADHD is the excessive or unusual pattern of behavior outside normal bounds of exuberance or excitement. The findings must be severe enough to be maladaptive and inconsistent with specified levels of development, and last at least six months.

Diagnosis

CAUTION!

ADHD may sometimes be confused with other disorders.

The disorder is difficult to diagnose in children under age 5. It is important to distinguish ADHD from age-appropriate behavior in active children and from disorders such as mental retardation, primary learning disabilities, alteration of mood, anxiety, petit mal seizures, or personality changes caused by illness, family stress, or drugs. The criteria determined by the American Psychiatric Association include specific limits concerning the duration and severity of symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. The findings must be severe enough to be maladaptive and inconsistent with specified levels of development.

Treatment

In both children and adults, the domestic, school, social, and occupational environments are evaluated to determine contributing factors and their relative importance. Standard treatment includes behavioral and psychological therapy, environmental changes, and medication. Medications commonly used to treat ADHD include methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, atomoxetine, and pemoline. These agents, with the exception of atomoxetine, are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Adverse reactions to CNS stimulants include decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, stomach ache, headache, jitteriness, and social withdrawal (the latter in children).

Behavior therapy for patients with ADHD includes positive reinforcement, time-out, response cost (loss of rewards or privileges for problem behaviors) and token economy (a combination of positive reinforcement and response cost). Combinations of drug therapy and behavioral therapies, or drug therapies alone, appear to have a more beneficial effect than behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, or parent skills training alone.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

A condition in which a person (usually a child) has an unusually high activity level and a short attention span. People with the disorder may act impulsively and may have learning and behavioral problems.
References in periodicals archive ?
Chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyper activity disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol effects are all more common among First Nations boys,
The Learning Breakthrough Program was developed for children with attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
All of the patients received treatment for their respective conditions, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, cognitive behavior therapy and/or hypnotic medication for insomnia, and psychiatric evaluation and possible medication for primary attention deficit disorder.
We hear much these days about "hyperactive" kids suffering from attention deficit disorder (A.
Neurodevelopmental disorders--including learning disabilities, dyslexia, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, and autism--are highly prevalent and affect 5-10% of the 4 million babies born in the United States each year (Bertrand et al.
Objectives: To determine the adult status of children and adolescents previously diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Lack of attention can also be the result of not taking good care of yourself (not eating right or getting enough sleep and exercise), bigger issues like attention deficit disorder (see the next example) or--yikes
Q:MY grandson has been referred to the hospital because his GP thinks he has attention deficit disorder.
From Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's Syndrome on one end of the spectrum, to severe forms of autism on the other, these illnesses have seemingly exploded into what many consider an epidemic in just the last decade.
Experts said Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder had just as big an impact on a child's development as conditions such as depression, anxiety and dyslexia.
Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood, by Edward M.
Called Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood (Touchstone Publishers, 1995), it changed Ms.

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