Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
While all children and for that matter most adults suffer periodically from bouts of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsive behaviors, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is marked by behaviors that are inappropriate for one’s age. While common in children and teens, ADHD can affect adults as well. While the symptoms differ in adult ADHD, patients usually have problems with interpersonal relationships and in employment situations. For someone to be diagnosed with ADHD, some symptoms must be present before the age of seven. In addition, the symptoms must impair the patient’s ability to function appropriately in more than one setting (e.g. at home and at work or at home and at school).
What are the main symptoms of ADHD?
There are three different categories of symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity.
Inattention may manifest itself in the following ways:
It is often difficult to find evidence of inattention until a child is put in a school environment.
Hyperactivity symptoms may be apparent in very young preschoolers and are nearly always present before the age of seven. Symptoms include:
Impulsivity symptoms include:
ADHD is most commonly diagnosed after children display at least some of the above-mentioned behaviors consistently over a period of about a half a year in at least two different settings.
What is the long-term prognosis for those with ADHD?
A great many children with ADHD ultimately adjust. Approximately 20-30% of those diagnosed do develop some type of learning disability. Those ADHD sufferers with an associated conduct or oppositional-defiant disorder are more likely to drop out of school.
For the common patient diagnosed with ADHD, inattention tends to persist throughout childhood and adolescence and into adulthood, while the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to diminish with age.