Attention Deficit - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

 By: Michael Russell Platinum Expert Author
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) generally occurs in early in childhood. It is characterized by the inability to sit still, focus on a specific task and uncontrollable impulses. As well the child may not be able to multi task even two commands or requests and be able to comprehend and complete such as picking up shoes and placing them where they belong. A child with ADD may require single commands. Children with these behaviors show them more frequently or severely more than other children. A child with ADD may also experience social dysfunction such as school work, friendships or family life. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has also been referred to as, hyper- kinesis, minimal brain dysfunction and minimal brain damage.

ADD is the most common mental disorder of childhood, affecting 3-5 percent of school age children. The disorder occurs more often in boys than in girls. The majority of children, who have ADD, usually outgrow it with age. However it has been proven that ADD can continue to follow them through adolescence and even into adulthood. Some estimates show that approximately 2 percent of adults have an Attention Deficit Disorder.

Children and adults with ADD consistently show various degrees of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Inattention means that people with ADD have difficulty keeping their minds on one thing. They may get bored with homework or other tasks after a few minutes, make careless mistakes, have trouble listening and seem to daydream. However, children with ADD sometimes can concentrate on and complete new or unusually interesting tasks. Hyperactivity involves almost constant motion, as if driven by a motor. Children may squirm and fidget at their desks in school, get up often to roam and around the room, constantly touch things, disturb other people, tap pencils and talk constantly. ADD also makes children unusually impulsive, so that they act before thinking. They may run into the street without looking, blurt out inappropriate comments in class, interrupt conversations and be unusually accident prone.

Children with ADD often have learning difficulties because of their inability to pay attention, follow directions and complete tasks. As well, their disruptive, demanding behavior makes them unpopular with peers. Children with ADD often receive constant criticism and correction from teachers and parents, who believe the behavior, is intentional. The combination of negative feedback, poor academic achievement and social problems may contribute to low self-esteem and other emotional problems.

As of today, scientists still do not know what causes Attention Deficit Disorder. There are many claims that have now been discredited with continuing research. One such theory was that ADD was caused by refined sugar and food additives. Scientists questioned this theory when studies showed that few children with ADD benefited from diets restricting sugar and food colorings. Another theory that has been dismissed was that children with Attention Deficit Disorder come from families that are dysfunctional or from poor parenting. But one major misconception of ADD was that the disorder was developed from minor head injuries or undetectable brain damage due to complications at birth.

Today however research and science regard ADD as a biological disorder caused by abnormalities in the brain. Research has shown that areas of the brain that control attention span limit impulsive behavior are less active in people with ADD. In addition, ADD seems to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors may play an important role. One study showed that about one-third of fathers who had ADD in childhood have ADHD.

As of today there is no actual cure for ADD. However there are several methods of treatment. Treatment ranges anywhere from medication, counseling, or social training skills. However treatment is depended upon the individual and support. But whatever type of treatment is chosen by the parents and physicians the ultimate key is to remain consistent and follow through with what ever goals are set.

Prescription medication is the most common treatment for ADD. Medication can help reduce symptoms of the disorder. Physicians usually prescribe one of three drugs: Ritalin, Dexedrine or DextroStat and Cylert. These drugs generally are stimulants, but yet they ease the hyperactivity and other symptoms in 90 percent of children with Attention Deficit Disorder. These drugs work by altering levels of brain chemicals that transmit nerve signals. A newer stimulant used to treat ADD is Adderall. Adderall is a combination of Dexedrine and amphetamine.

Most children with Attention Deficit Disorder need more than medication. Drugs only relieve symptoms of ADD, which usually return when medication is discontinued. Although drugs help a child to concentrate and complete schoolwork, they cannot increase a child's knowledge, teach academic skills, or directly alter underlying disorders or other problems. Experts cite the need for more information on whether medication improves a child's chances for a successful career.

Children may benefit from several different kinds of therapy. Psychological counseling, for instance, can help them recognize and deal with negative feelings that result from their symptoms. Social skills training can help them recognize how their behaviors effects other people and help them develop more appropriate behavior. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder also may benefit from special academic tutors who show them how to break school assignments down into small parts that can be completed at one time.

Because children with ADD often cause family turmoil, parents and other family members may benefit from therapy or support groups in which other parents share their experiences. Parental skills training can teach parents to manage a child's behavior with praise and other rewards and with penalties such as "time-out" in which a child must sit alone to calm down.

Many children with Attention Deficit Disorder continue to have problems as adolescents and adults. Adults with ADD may be unusually impatient and restless and may become bored before finishing a task. They may constantly arrive late for appointments, lose things, change jobs frequently and fail to organize their time or set priorities. Adults with ADD may also have difficulty maintaining friendships and other relationships. Studies suggest they are more likely than others to develop other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as well as substance abuse problems such as alcoholism and drug dependence.
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There is not only one test that could be used for diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults and children. ADHD will be diagnosed if a person is showing all or some of the symptoms of ADHD on continuous basis for more than 6 months. Additionally, symptoms should be present in multiple settings.
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ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder that is characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and hyperactivity and impulsiveness of children. Kids with this disorder need more help than normal children and must be given proper attention and ADHD treatment as early as possible.
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