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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

6461 words - 26 pages

IntroductionAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disruptive behavior disorder of childhood characterized by persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity. Approximately 3-7% of school-age children have the disorder (APA, 2000). The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders (2003) says that Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects more often boys than girls, and is characterized by distractibility, hyperactivity, behaving impulsively, and not being able to remain focused on tasks or activities.PrevalencePineda, Ardila, Rosselli, and Arias (1999) say that determining the prevalence of ADHD is controversial, but it is often ...view middle of the document...

The symptoms of impulsivity include blurting out answers before questions have been completely asked, having difficulty waiting one's turn, and often interrupting or intruding on others (APA, 2000).A child with impulsiveness will act without thinking. A child with hyperactivity cannot sit still, walks, runs, or climbs when others are still, and talks when others are talking. A child who is inattentive will daydream, get sidetracked, or seem to be in another world (nimh.nih.gov).ADHD inattentive type can be mistaken for other difficulties. The National Institute of Mental Health website says that "parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have the disorder because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, compared with those with the other subtypes, who tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. For example, adults may think that children with the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes just have emotional or disciplinary problems."DiagnosisDiagnosing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder requires the presence of at least six symptoms of inattention, and at least six symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity combined. Further criteria may also include that some symptoms be developed before age seven, the symptoms impair functioning in at least two settings such as work and school, and the symptoms appear for a period of at least six months (APA, 2000). Thackery (2003) believes that the first step in diagnosing should be to take the child to a pediatrician who will make an evaluation and perform an examination to rule out any organic causes of ADHD symptoms. If no organic cause is found, then the next step is to take the child to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other type of learning specialist who will then perform a thorough assessment for ADHD. This includes taking a complete history, such as medical, educational, and family history. Interviews may also be performed to help determine if the child has ADHD. Other types of inventories and scales help with the diagnosis as well.No one test can tell a person if they have ADHD. Instead, a mental health specialist will gather information into the person's history to determine if there is a medical issue, will observe the client's behavior, and will then determine if a diagnosis should be made (nimh.nih.gov).While attention-disorder symptoms for adults and children are essentially similar, adults may exhibit less hyperactivity and more reports of restlessness and agitation. As stated in the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, considering a childhood history of ADHD is necessary for the adult diagnosis. A strong family history is usually found. Another important item to remember is the DSM-IV criterion that requires the patient to...

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