Topics: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Attention, Dopamine Pages: 6 (1776 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder commonly associated with a child but can also be detected in adults. ADHD affects ones ability to regulate his/her attention span, impulse, and activity level. ADHD can not be diagnosed by a blood test or brain scan. However, it can be diagnosed by health professionals that form an opinion after observing a child’s behavior and obtaining input from caregivers. Frank (2004, p 16) lists five elements to consider before diagnosing ADHD:

1. Chronic and pervasive problems with inattention and/or impulsivity and/or hyperactivity
2. Onset of symptoms before age seven
3. Symptoms present across settings (e.g., home, school, work, daycare, etc.)
4. Clear evidence of interference with developmentally appropriate social, academic, or occupational functioning 5. Symptoms not accounted for by anther mental disorder (e.g., mood, disorder, anxiety disorder)

ADHD is defined using three different categories. Each category is based on the level of the primary symptom. Predominantly Inattentative Type (ADHD-I) is referred to when one exhibits strong signs of inattention. Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive (ADHD-HI) is diagnosed when the primary symptoms are hyperactivity and impulsivity. Then there is the combination of symptoms (i.e. inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity), this is referred to as Combined Type (ADHD-C). Diagnosing ADAD-I and ADHD-Hi is based on nine characteristics of inattention and nine characteristics of hyperactive-impulsiveness. Six of each must be present in order to diagnose the correct category. ADHD-C would be the combination of many of these characteristics (Frank, 2004, p. 17).

Inattention Characteristics
1. Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
2. Difficulty sustaining attention
3. Does not appear to listen
4. Struggles to follow through on instructions
5. Difficulty with organization
6. Avoids or dislikes requiring sustained mental effort
7. Often loses things necessary for tasks
8. Easily distracted
9. Forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactive-Impulsive Characteristics
1. Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2. Difficulty remaining seated
3. Runs about or climbs excessively (adults, feeling of restlessness)
4. Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
5. Acts as if driven by a motor
6. Talks excessively
7. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
8. Difficulty waiting in turn-taking situations
9. Interrupts or intrudes upon others

Children with ADHD can develop additional problems. They may begin to exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, low self confidence, and nervousness. They may also develop Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). ODD may be diagnosed when the child displays very aggressive behavior (Reamers & Brunger, 1999). . Barkley (2000) notes that ADHD is a developmental disorder associated with the ability to regulate behavior that reflects upon the future. Barkley (2000, p. 24) states:

“I believe the disorder stems from interactivity in an area of the brain that, as it matures, provides ever-greater means of behavioral inhibition, self organization, self-regulation, and foresight. Relatively hidden from view in a child’s moment-to-moment behavior, the behavioral deformity this under activity causes is pernicious, insidious, and disastrous in its impact on a person’s ability to manage the critical day-to-day affairs through which human beings prepare for the future, both near and far (p. 24).”

Barkley (2000, p. 19) makes a strong argument in his book in defense of the ADHD child as follows:
“It is not just a matter of being inattentive and overactive. It is not a temporary state that one will be outgrown, a trying but normal phase of...

References: Barkley, RA. (2000). Taking charge of ADHD. New York, NY: The
Guildford Press.
Chaker, AM. (2005, April 5). “Attention Deficit Gets New Approach.” The Wall
Street Journal {Online}
Frank, K. (2004). Does my kid really have AD/HD?. Bloomington. ID: Author
Lougy, RA. & Rosenthal, DK. (2002), ADHD a survival guide for parents and
Reimers, C. & Brunger, BA. (1999), ADHD in the young child driven to
Schmidt, S. (2005, June 20). “Video game helps combat ADHD.”
News {Online}, Retrieved June 29, 2005, from
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