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
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
CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit
8181 Professional Place
Landover, MD 20785
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
P.O. Box 543
Pottstown, PA 19464
National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
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
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© Anthony George 2005 Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
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