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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), also known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a developmental disorder that is primarily characterised by:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsiveness
  • Inattentiveness

Individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder normally have symptoms classified in one of the three following subgroups of the disorder:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder mainly hyperactive-impulsive
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- mainly inattentive
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder combined (A combination of all three behavioural problems - impulsiveness, inattentiveness and hyperactivity)

ADHD develops in childhood and may continue in to adulthood. The cause of ADHD is not known, however research suggestsa strong genetic link, mixed with some other environmental factors. Some potential causes/increased risk of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder include:

  • Inherited condition - ADHD tends to run in families
  • Neurotransmitters in the brain may not function correctly, therefore messages are not carried properly
  • Less brain activity in the areas of the brain that control attention
  • Imbalance of chemicals such as noradrenaline and dopamine
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a child with ADHD
  • Being male
  • Family stress
  • Educational difficulties
  • Brain injury due to birth trauma

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Common symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder include:

  • Restlessness
  • Easily distracted
  • Temper tantrums
  • Tendency to fidget/squirm
  • Short attention span
  • Excessively noisy when playing
  • Disorganised
  • Difficulty with turn taking
  • Failure to complete tasks
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Clumsy

ADHD often occurs alongside other conditions. Other behavioural problems that may occur include:

  • Specific learning difficulties, e.g. dyslexia
  • Severe clinical depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Confrontational defiant behaviour e.g. refusing to comply with orders and tasks
  • Conduct disorders, e.g. deceitful behaviour including stealing and lying
  • Tourette's Syndrome

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