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By Arthur Buchanan

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also referred to as ADHD and formally called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction is a neurologically based syndrome characterized by any or all of three types of behavior: hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity.

ADHD is usually diagnosed before age seven. It is often accompanied by a learning disability. It often create difficulties in school, at home, or at work.

Not everyone who is overly hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive has an attention disorder. People with ADHD are excessive and have long-term periods of hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness. Eating too much sugar does not cause hyperactivity. ADHD is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

ADHD is a diagnosis applied to children and adults who consistently display certain characteristic behaviors over a period of time. The behaviors must be excessive, long-term, pervasive, a continuous problem, and not occuring in other people of the same age.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common behaviors fall into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


Inattentive refers distraction by irrelevant sights and sounds or carelessness and inability to carry simple tasks to completion. People who are inattentive have a hard time keeping their mind on one thing and may get bored with a task after only a few minutes. They may give effortless, automatic attention to activities and things they enjoy. Focusing deliberate, conscious attention to organizing and completing a task or learning something new is often difficult.

Some signs of inattention are:becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds.

Failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes rarely following instructions carefully and completely losing or forgetting things like toys, or pencils, books, and tools needed for a task.

Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming running, climbing, or leaving a seat, in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected blurting out answers before hearing the whole question and having difficulty waiting in line or for a turn hyperactivity.

Hyperactivity refers to feelings of restlessness, fidgeting, or inappropriate activity (running, wandering) when one is expected to be quiet. People who are hyperactive always seem to be in motion. They can't sit still.

They may dash around or talk incessantly. Sitting still through a lesson can be an impossible task. Hyperactive children squirm in their seat or roam around the room. Or they might wiggle their feet, touch everything, or noisily tap their pencil.

Hyperactive teens and adults may feel intensely restless. They may be fidgety or, they may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next.


People who are overly impulsive seem unable to curb their immediate reactions or think before they act. They may blurt out inappropriate comments. Their impulsivity may make it hard for them to wait for things they want or to take their turn in games.

What Causes ADHD?

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown.

How is ADHD Treated?

Treatment usually includes behavioral therapy and emotional counseling and medication. Two of the most common medications that are prescribed are: Stimulants and Antidepressants.

Stimulants decrease motor activity and impulsivenss and increase attention span and concentration. The usual dosage is 2-3 times a day.

Antidepressants can be used if the patient does not respond to stimulants. Antidepressants work by decreasing hyperactivity. Side Effects of Treatment? Antidepressants and Stimulants may cause headaches, upset stomach, loss of appetite, tiredness and difficulty sleeping.


1 in 4 children with ADHD have a parent who has or has had ADHD In about 10% of the cases, ADHD can persist into adulthood.

About The Author

Listen to Arthur Buchanan on the Mike Litman Show!


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