The Basics of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a common problem. It has been around long enough that lots of opinion and debates exist about it. However, we know more about ADHD than many other mental health conditions. We also know what treatments help. In this article, we explain for parents from professional experience what ADHD is, how it can be evaluated, and what can be done about it.
What is ADHD?
The primary features of ADHD represent the high end of a range of traits all of us possess. We all have a certain ability to pay attention, a specific activity level and an individual range of impulse control. At certain times and in specific situations, we all might have problems paying attention or become overactive, restless and impulsive. However, ADHD is different from normal behavior in a number of important ways.
First, individuals with ADHD show many hyperactive-impulsive and/or inattentive behaviors. The current symptoms of ADHD include nine hyperactive-impulsive behaviors and nine inattentive behaviors (see below). Children must have at least six of the nine symptoms from either or both lists in order to qualify for ADHD. New standards for physicians and psychologists to diagnose ADHD will be released this summer. Those may require that patients meet only four symptoms from each list if they are 17 or older. A person can receive the label of ADHD by having enough symptoms in the hyperactive-impulsive area, the inattentive area or both.
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