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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

1053 words - 5 pages

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that is characterized by a person's inability to focus attention. The condition is present at birth and is usually evident by early childhood (Nagel, 2002, p.237). It is the major cause of poor school performance of children, but is not a learning disability. The exact cause of ADHD is unknown. Some researchers believe that the mechanism, behind its symptoms, is the imbalance of certain neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that transmit messages between nerve cells (Lerner, 2008, p. 401). A brain imaging study, by researchers at the National Institute for Mental Health, documented ...view middle of the document...

Although difficult to assess in infancy and toddlerhood, signs of ADHD may begin to appear as early as age two or three, but the symptoms change as adolescence approaches. The hyperactivity symptoms may be gone or diminished, when ADHD individuals get into adulthood, but for some the impulsivity and inattention remain throughout their lives.
ADHD has 3 subtypes, the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, the predominantly inattentive, and the combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. ADHD people that falls into the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype, show more hyperactivity symptoms and act wildly. Inattention symptoms may be present in this type, but not too much. Children with the predominantly inattentive subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD. Most children have the combined type of ADHD. In this subtype, they both show the inattentiveness and hyperactivity equally.
The two main symptoms of ADHD are the hyperactivity and inattentiveness. Symptoms of inattentiveness include a child's failure to pay attention to detail, tendency to make careless errors in schoolwork, inability to follow instructions or complete tasks with ease, seeming not to listen when spoken to, having apparent difficulty keeping attention on the subject at hand, frequently losing things necessary for schoolwork or play, and being easily distracted by sights or sounds (Nagel, 2002, p.237). Symptoms of hyperactivity include a child's inability to sit still, running around or climbing when expected to remain seated, excessive talking, and difficulty playing or performing activities quietly. Symptoms of impulsive behavior in social situations include blurting out answers before questions are completed, difficulty waiting for one's turn, and interrupting others (Nagel, 2002, p.237)
Psychosocial therapy, usually combined with medications, is the treatment approach of choice to alleviate ADHD symptoms. Psychostimulants, such as dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), pemoline (Cylert), and methylphenidate (Ritalin) are commonly prescribed to control hyperactive and impulsive behavior and increase attention span (Lerner, 2008, p.402). They work by stimulating the production of certain neurotransmitters in the...

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