Jumped the Synapse: Thoughts without sponsors!

These are my thoughts that don't fit in my other blogs. They'll eventually cover a large range of topics.

Friday, July 21, 2006

What is ADHD?

ADHD - Better Learning - January 2004

What is ADHD? (or ADD as it used to be called)
According to the U.S. Government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood. The NIH goes on to say that its core symptoms include developmentally inappropriate levels of attention, concentration, activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD usually have functional impairment across multiple settings including home, school, and peer relationships. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success, and social-emotional development.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), the standard medical reference, there are three types of ADHD:

1) The Hyperactive Type ~ hyperactivity and impulsivity are the primary characteristics

2) The Inattentive Type ~ inattention is the primary characteristic

3) The Combined Type ~ together hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

The diagnostic criteria list nine possible symptoms for each of the first two sub-types, of which at least six of them must be present. These symptoms are related to general distractibility or inability to focus attention, inappropriate activity levels (hyperactivity) relating to the surroundings or task at hand, or a general inability to retrain oneself (i.e. impulsive behaviours).

The definitions further state that these symptoms must have persisted for at least six months, and that they must be present in at least two different settings. Furthermore, some of these elements must have been evident before age seven for a diagnosis of ADHD to be confirmed.

Of the three sub-types, the Combined type is the most-often diagnosed type, while the Hyperactivity-Impulsivity type is described as relatively rare.

For those interested in the specific diagnostic criteria, they can be referenced here: http://lib-sh.lsumc.edu/fammed/intern/adhd.html

... another random musing


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