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What is ADHD?

According to the National Attention Deficit Disorder Association, as many as two thirds of children with ADHD will continue to face major challenges caused by the disorder when they are adults. Follow-up studies of children with ADHD finds that about half will continue to have symptoms into adulthood. Many girls and women suffer the effects of ADHD and do not get the help they need.

Once diagnosed, many women recall painful or difficult childhood experiences in school that were likely caused by ADHD, but at the time were attributed to laziness or lack of ability. Low-self esteem is the outcome of chronic criticism and common among women with ADHD. ADHD, once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, is the most common psychiatric condition among children. Two to three times more boys than girls are affected. In adults, the ratio of males to females with ADHD approaches one to one. On the average, at least one child in every classroom in the U.S. needs help for the disorder. ADHD can be mild, moderate or severe. An ADHD diagnosis is more difficult to identify in women and girls because they tend to be less hyperactive, less defiant and more compliant. The absence of disruptive behavior delays identification of ADHD in girls.

ADHD appears to be genetic. If one parent has ADHD, there is a 50 percent chance that the child will have it. If the child has ADHD, there is a 40 percent chance that one of the parents has it. The persistence of ADHD in the parent increases the likelihood that the child with ADHD will have persistent symptoms into adulthood.

Like other chronic medical conditions, there are no cures for ADHD. Many experts believe that the most significant, long-lasting gains occur when medication is combined with behavioral therapy, emotional counseling and practical support. Some studies suggest that the combination of medicine and therapy may be more effective than medications alone, especially when other coexisting psychiatric conditions occur (i.e. depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders or substance abuse).

Medication can help to control the core symptoms, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. But more often, there are other aspects of the problem that medication can't touch. Even though ADHD primarily affects a person's behavior and cognition, having the disorder has broad emotional repercussions.

Common Symptoms of ADHD Can Include:

 Failing to give close attention to details or making careless mistakes

 Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks

 Appearing not to listen when spoken to directly

 Failing to follow instructions carefully and completely

 Losing or forgetting important things

 Feeling restless or fidgeting

 Talking excessively or blurting out answers before hearing the whole question.

At present, ADHD is a diagnosis made in people who demonstrate chronic, unchanging and persistent symptoms across a number of settings. Although people identify with some of these symptoms at different times in their lives, ADHD is a disorder starting in childhood that may persist into adulthood. Childhood onset is the cornerstone of the diagnosis. There is no such disorder as "adult-onset ADHD" .


Treatment Plans

An effective treatment plan will help you cope with ADHD, whether you or your child is the one with the diagnosis. For adults, the treatment plan may include medication along with practical and emotional support. For children and adolescents, it may include providing an appropriate classroom setting, as well as medication and helping parents understand and manage the child's behavior. Treating ADHD can be done through medical or behavioral therapies, or a combination of the two.

A combination of medication and ADHD-focused counseling is generally the most successful ADHD treatment.                ---> Continue >>

Treating ADHD During the School Year.

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