ADHD: Help is on the Way
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder)- An Overview:
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is the label given
to one of the most common syndromes known to child and adolescent psychologists.
Although researchers and clinicians may vary in their estimations of the
incidence of ADHD, developmental effects and appearance, there is little disagreement
that it has far-reaching implications in the daily functioning and adjustment of
children and adults. It has become truly
one of the most highly diagnosed disorders of the twentieth/twenty-first century.
Prevalence and Statistics:
ADHD has been conservatively estimated to be at a
level of approximately 3% to 6% of the general population of individuals from
various cultures. Although its cross-cultural nature has been recognized
worldwide, documented prevalence rates vary because of diverse methods of
detection and differences in diagnostic
definition. It has been suggested by the American Psychiatric
Association and widely accepted, that approximately 3% to 5% of
school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD, with boys being
over-represented, on an average, of a ratio of approximately 3:1.
Researchers now believe that the disorder persists into adolescence in
50-80% of cases clinically diagnosed in childhood, and into adulthood
in 30-50 % or more of these same cases.
Genetic, Social variables?
Regardless of the diagnostic
system used to define the symptom patterns of individuals with ADHD and the
related prevalence rates, researchers and clinicians are in agreement that it is
a significant condition impairing the functioning and lives of individuals
throughout the entire world. Also, most if not all, are beginning to recognize
the necessity of considering a diversity of variables including genetic factors,
psychological and social experience, neurology and nutrition.
ADHD: Diagnosis and Symptoms:
The most common definition that
psychologists and psychiatrists use for diagnostic purposes in the United States
is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), developed by
the American Psychiatric Association in 1994. Over the past two decades,
according to the DSM editions in use at the time, ADHD has been conceptualized
as consisting of three core clusters of behavioral symptoms, including poor
sustained attention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. While maintaining the
same behavioral symptoms, the latest version of the diagnostic manual has
combined the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity into one category,
maintaining that sometimes attentional problems may be diagnosed separately from
symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity. Some of the basic symptoms include:
inability to pay close attention to details, sustaining attention, listening
when spoken to, lack of follow through, difficulty organizing, avoiding
activities that require sustained effort, fidgeting, running and excessive
activity, difficulty remaining quiet, excessive talking, difficulty waiting
his/her turn and interrupting and intruding on others.
Medications currently found to be
effective in the treatment of child and adult ADHD include Ritalin, Adderrall
and the newest ADHD/ADD medication Concerta. Medications will be covered on a
separate web page.
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Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)