Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, often referred to by the initials ADHD, is a mental disorder commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents, which can continue into adulthood. According to recent statistics in the United States alone over six million children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Children with the disorder can have difficulty focusing on a task or sustaining attention, an inability to control behavior or impulsiveness, along with hyperactivity. While some individuals affected by ADHD struggle with a single problem such as inattentiveness, others may be more challenged by both hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Most of those diagnosed with ADHD manifest a combination of symptoms.
ADHD can affect how an individual functions at school and in social interactions. For adults with the disorder, job performance may also be impaired. ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in males than females and in most cases the exact causes of the disorder are unclear. Additionally, individuals affected by ADHD may be predisposed to having an anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, learning disabilities, as well as substance abuse issues.
Diagnosis of ADHD is based on a pattern of symptoms and requires a comprehensive evaluation to rule out other medical or psychiatric conditions. While symptoms for some may lessen with age, the issues associated with ADHD often persist into adulthood. Treatment for the disorder can involve behavioral interventions, coping strategies and medications.