Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Description of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperkinetic/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects children and often persists into adulthood. It is characterized by difficulty in sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. It is seen thrice as commonly in boys as in girls.
Causes and Risk Factors 
The exact cause of ADHD is not known. Factors that have been implicated include the following:
1. Genetics
2. Environmental factors such as exposure to lead, found in paint, has been seen to increase the incidence of ADHD.
3. Cigarette smoking or alcohol abuse in pregnancy also increases risk of ADHD in the child.
4. Food additives
Signs and Symptoms 
Common symptoms are:
1. Makes careless mistakes in activities
2. Has trouble sustaining attention during tasks
3. Can be easily distracted
4. Dislikes waiting for his turn
5. Has difficulty following instructions
1. No single test can diagnose a child as a case of ADHD. The child needs to be seen by a pediatrician and a psychiatrist.
2. American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) lists certain criteria for diagnosis of ADHD
Though complete cure of ADHD is not possible, with current treatment modalities, it is possible to significantly reduce symptoms and improve function. These include:
1. Medications that help to,
a) Reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity
b) The children to focus on the task
2. Psychotherapy is a behavioral therapy that aims to change the behavior of a child, so that he can focus better.
3. Parents can help the child by keeping a more or less fixed schedule, and by organizing his everyday items.
In about 50% of patients with ADHD, the symptoms persist into adulthood. Symptoms can however be controlled to a great extent with proper treatment, and most patients are able to lead a near-normal life.
Complications and When Should You See a Doctor 
Complications may increase the risk of:
1. Alcohol and drug abuse
2. Delinquent behavior
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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