Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Head | Neurology | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Disease)


Attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder is a behavioural disorder in which a child consistently has a high level of activity and/or difficulty attending to tasks. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder it is also sometimes known as hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children; is more common in boys and should not be confused with the normal boisterous conduct of a healthy child. Adolescents and adults with ADHD tend to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments.

The symptoms of ADHD are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw the line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin. The symptoms of ADHD develop in early childhood, usually between the ages of 3 and 7, and may include: inability to finish tasks; short attention span and inability to concentrate in class; difficulty following instructions; tendency to talk excessively and frequently interrupt others; difficulty waiting or taking turns; inability to play quietly alone; physical impulsiveness. Symptoms may persist into adulthood for up to half of children diagnosed with ADHD.

Causes and Risk factors

The specific causes of ADHD are not known. There are, however, a number of factors that may contribute to, or exacerbate ADHD. They include genetics, diet and the social and physical environments. ADHD has three subtypes: predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive.

Diagnosis and Treatment

ADHD is diagnosed via a psychiatric assessment; to rule out other potential causes or comorbidities, physical examination, radiological imaging, and laboratory tests may be used.

Methods of treatment often involve some combination of behavior modification, life-style changes, counseling, and medication....