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What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder affecting children and adults. ADHD is the most common neurological disorder in children. ADHD in children is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

According to the Center for Disease Control, ADHD affects 7.4 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 and 4 percent of adults. Boys are 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder than girls, and roughly 60 percent of children with ADHD will continue to exhibit symptoms into adulthood. Symptoms range from severe inattentiveness to aggression and are categorized into three types: predominately inattentive, predominately hyperactive-impulsive or “combined.”

Whereas the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, research...

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with the neurological function of the brain. Strongly linked to genetic and environmental influences, researchers have yet to identify an exact cause. That said, researchers have found links between these potential cause and risk factor to attention deficit disorder:

  • Genetics
  • Neurotransmission impairment
  • Brain abnormalities
  • Dietary factors
  • Perinatal/neonatal influences
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Trauma
  • Societal
  • Environmental factors

The hallmark symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. A formal list is outlined in the fourth edition of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). That said symptoms can vary considerably from person to person and are dependant upon age, gender, genetics and environmental circumstances.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is diagnosed through an individual’s behavioral symptoms. No medical, physical or genetic test exists. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include the following:

  • Clinical interview
    • Detailed history of the indentified patient’s difficulties
    • Symptoms checklist
  • Psychological tests
  • Medical exam
  • Additional testing (optional)

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