attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder


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attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

 
a childhood mental disorder characterized by inattention (such as distractibility, forgetfulness, not finishing tasks, and not appearing to listen), hyperactivity, and impulsivity (such as fidgeting and squirming, difficulty in remaining seated, excessive running or climbing, feelings of restlessness, difficulty awaiting one's turn, interrupting others, and excessive talking). Onset of the disorder is before age seven. Patterns of behavior vary in individual children and even in the same child from day to day, at times from hour to hour. The activity level improves during adolescence but attention problems often continue. Medications have been tried with varying degrees of success. Stimulants are often helpful as a palliative measure. Good results have also been obtained with clinical behavior therapy, parent training, and contingency management.

The national institutes of health issued a consensus statement called Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It makes note of the major controversy regarding use of psychostimulant medication for short and long term treatment of this condition. It also urges development of an integrated care model to provide services to individuals, families, and schools affected by the disorder.