Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

1594 words - 6 pages

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that displays as distracted, hyperactive, and unable to focus on tasks and activities. Also known as Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder, Hyperkinesis, Hyperactive Syndrome, Minimal Brain Damage, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, and Undifferentiated Deficit Disorder, ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in children. Although many children with ADHD are quite intelligent, their lack of focus can frequently lead to poor grades and a low self esteem. The exact cause of ADHD is still unknown, but it is considered highly inheritable. Results from numerous international studies on twins have found that ADHD may have a genetic link. The occurrence of ADHD in one twin is more often mirrored an identical twin who has the same genetic makeup, then in a fraternal twin whose genetics are similar but not identical. It is also believed that if a parent, uncle, or grandparent had ADHD, it is more likely their family may develop it as well. No gene has been discovered that directly relates to the disorder. MRI studies comparing the brains of children with and without the condition have shown that children with ADHD have weaker brain activity in the frontal area of the brain when responding to tasks that require inhibition. Because of this, it is thought that ADHD affects certain sections of the frontal cortex, parietal lobe, and possibly parts of the cerebellum.
ADHD presents itself in three major categories; predominately hyperactive, predominately inattentive, or a combined hyperactivity and inattention. Predominately hyperactive presents as excessive physical activity and impulsive behaviors. This can include constant fidgeting, an inability to stay in their seat, an inability to play quietly, interrupting, or difficulty waiting their turn. Predominately inattentive , more commonly referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is the inability to pay close attention to detail, remain on task, or to organize tasks. The combination of both leads to a high level of activity with a high level of distractibility.
It is estimated that 3-5% of school-aged kids in the USA suffer from ADHD. It is also 3-5 times more likely to affect a boy then a girl, though in adults that ratio drops closer to 2 males to even 1 female. Most children grow out of the disorder as they age and gain more self control. However, anywhere between 30-80% of children that suffer from ADHD, will continue to have symptoms as an adult. Because the cause is still unknown, diagnosis can be difficult. Most children will display some symptoms of ADHD at some point in their childhood, but at low levels. Determining what is “normal” inattention is where the problem with diagnosis lies. Psychiatrists and other medical professionals use the criteria from the DSM-IV-TR to determine the presence of the disorder. To receive an ADHD diagnosis a child must display at least six of the symptoms of inattention or...

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