Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

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Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  

What is Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It interferes with a person's ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate inhibition (cognitive alone or both cognitive and behavioral). Some of the warning signs of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details. There are several types of ADHD: a predominantly inattentive subtype, a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype, and a combined subtype. ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, although the attention disorder condition can continue into the adult years.

Is there any treatment?

The usual course of treatment may include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) or pemoline (Cylert), which are stimulants that decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity and increase attention. Most experts agree that treatment for ADHD should address multiple aspects of the individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should include structured classroom management, parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), and tutoring and/or behavioral therapy for the child.

What is the prognosis?

There is no "cure" for ADHD. Children with the attention disorder seldom outgrow it; however, some may find adaptive ways to accommodate the ADHD as they mature.

What research is being done?

Several components of the NIH support research on developmental disorders such as ADHD. Research programs of the NINDS, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seek to address unanswered questions about the causes of ADHD, as well as to improve diagnosis and treatment.


Attention Deficit Information Network
58 Prince St.
Needham, MA 02492
Tel: 781-455-9895
Fax: 781-449-1332

CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder
8181 Professional Place
Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-306-7070
Fax: 301-306-7090

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
P.O. Box 543
Pottstown, PA 19464
Tel: 484-945-2101
Fax: 610-970-7520

National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South
Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-545-7510
Fax: 212-545-9665

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Tel: 301-496-5133
Fax: 301-496-7101


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