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ADHD Basic Information

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral and developmental disorder that affects millions of people. While some adults suffer from the condition, the largest group of people who are affected are children, particularly those between the ages of two to seven. Approximately three to five percent of children worldwide have ADHD before the age of seven, and some carry the disorder into adulthood. The statistics show that about 30-35% of children with ADHD will have it throughout their entire lives. It is a very difficult disease to understand and many people attach a stigma to it that kids with ADHD are troublemakers or bad. Sometimes, problems like anxiety and depression can be side effects of the disorder, making it very hard to diagnose. Typical symptoms of ADHD include mood swings, difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, depression, and even signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many children have a hard time staying still, seem to forget things quite easily, and cannot pay close attention to details. Often this results in failing grades and difficulty in school. People who suffer from ADHD tend to interrupt people while they are talking, act impatient, fidget, and have a hard time remaining calm.

While there is no known cure for ADHD, there are several different methods of treatment that can be used. One such treatment is known as behavioral modification. This method involves using cognitive therapy, counseling, and allowing children to do some things that are part of their ADHD, such as chewing gum or twiddling thumbs while they do school related activities. Punishing kids who “act out” certain behaviors can often make the problem worse, so by allowing them to do the things that are not causing anyone harm, it helps to ease the more severe symptoms. Parents often feel helpless when it comes to dealing with kids who have ADHD, but there are numerous resources available that can help. Medication and drug treatment is another way to deal with ADHD. Ironically, stimulants such as Ritalin are often prescribed as a way to soften ADHD. There are also non-stimulants being used and other experimental drugs currently being tested to help people deal with ADHD in a more effective way. About 35% of patients using some form of drug treatment have experienced improvements, but studies vary and treatment with medicine is controversial.

  • National Institute of Mental Health – Comprehensive information about ADHD, as well as treatment suggestions and ways to get more information
  • Chadd.org – Children and Adults with ADD – organization that helps both kids and adults in dealing with ADHD
  • Signs and Symptoms – Some things to look for to determine if your child may have ADHD
  • Adult ADHD – Use this test to help screen whether or not an adult may have ADHD
  • What Parents Should Know – Help for parents of children with ADHD and information they need to know.
Further Reading