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Adhd, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

933 words - 4 pages

Imagine living in a world where sights, sounds, images and thoughts are constantlychanging and shifting. Unable to focus on whatever task is at hand, your mind wandersfrom one activity or thought to the next. Sometimes you become so lost among all thethoughts and images that you don't even notice when someone is speaking to you.This is what it is like for many people who have Attention Deficit HyperactivityDisorder, or ADHD. Once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, ADHD is oneof the most common mental disorders among children. It affects 3 to 5 percent of allchildren, and it is likely to occur two to three times more in boys than in girls.People who have ADHD may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks, or becompletely aware of what is going on in the world around them. However, on someoccasions, they may appear 'normal', leading others to believe that the person withADHD can control such behaviors. As a result of this, ADHD can hinder the person'srelationships and interactions with others in addition to disrupting their daily life andlowering self-esteem.To determine whether or not a person has ADHD, specialists must considerseveral questions: Do these behaviors occur more often than in other people of the sameage? Are the behaviors an ongoing problem, not just a response to a [temporary]situation? Do the behaviors occur only in one specific place or in several different settings?In answering these questions, the person's behavior patterns are compared to a setof criteria and characteristics of ADHD. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM) presents this set of criteria. According to the DSM, there are threepatterns of behavior that indicate ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.According to the DSM, signs of inattention include: becoming easily distracted byirrelevant sights and sounds; failing to pay attention to details and making carelessmistakes; rarely following instructions carefully and/or completely; and constantly losingor forgetting things like books, pencils, tools, and such.Some signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity, according to the DSM, are: theinability to sit still, often fidgeting with hands and feet; running, climbing, or leaving a seatin situations where sitting or quiet, attentive behavior is required; difficulty waiting in lineor for a turn; and blurting out answers before hearing the entire question.However, because almost everyone will behave in these manners at some time, theDSM has very specific guidelines for determining if they indicate ADHD. Such behaviorsmust appear early in life, before age 7, and continue for at least 6 months. For children,these behaviors must occur more frequently and severely than in others of the same age.Most of all, the behaviors must create a true handicap in at least 2 areas of the person's life(e.g. school, home, work, social settings).One of the difficulties in diagnosing ADHD is that it is usually accompanied byother problems. Many...

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