Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
According to the DSM IV, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity- impulsity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. Some of there symptoms of inattentiveness and hyperactivity must have been present before age seven, however most people are not diagnosed until years later although the symptoms have been present. In order to be correctly diagnosed with ADD there must be impairment in at least two areas of life, at home and school or work. There should be clear evidence of interference with developmentally appropriate social, academic, or occupational functioning.
The symptoms related to this disorder include failure to give close attention to detail, making careless mistakes in schoolwork or other tasks. Their work is usually messy and thrown together with very little thought. These individuals find it difficult to sustain attention in tasks or play activities and find it hard to stick to a task until completion. They often do not follow through on requests or instructions. It'll appear as if their mind is somewhere else entirely or as if they simply aren't listening to what was said. They may frequently shift from one uncompleted task to another. Tasks that are thought to require mental effort are seen as extremely unpleasant. These individuals typically avoid activities that require close concentration. As for work habits they are often disorganized, materials needed are scattered or possibly lost. People with this disorder are easily distracted by irrelevant and trivial noised that others can easily ignore, such as car honking or background conversations. In social situations, the inattention will be seen infrequent changing of conversations or not listening. Hyperactivity is noticed by fidgetiness or squirming in ones seat, not remaining seated when supposed to, running around in inappropriate situations. They will talk excessively and might also have a hard time playing quietly or being part of a leisure activity
Hyperactivity may vary depending on age. Although most toddlers and preschoolers are very active, children with this disorder differ from normal active kids. They are constantly on the go and they get into everything. They run and jump on furniture and can't sit to listen to a story being read. School-age children have similar symptoms but they aren't as frequent or severe as that of the toddlers. They often fidget with objects, shake their feet tap on things just to keep moving. They will also talk excessively and make a lot of noise during quiet activities. In adults these symptoms of hyperactivity turn into feelings of restlessness.
Some children with Attention Deficit Disorder experience significant problems socializing with peers and cooperating with authority figures. This is because when children have difficulty maintaining attention during a conversation with an adult, they may miss important parts of conversation. This often will result in the child not being able to follow instructions due to not listening in the first place. In this case the child is not being disobedient though they may be labeled as so. When giving directions to Attention Deficit children it is important to have them repeat the directions to make sure they have received them correctly. For younger children the directions should consist of only one or two steps. For older children more complicated instructions should be given in writing. Children with poor attention and concentration often miss important aspects of social interaction with their peers; they have trouble fitting in. They need to focus on how the other children are playing with each other and try to behave similarly. These kids often enter a group of kids and upset the play session. As they bombproof their ability to attend and concentrate they can be coached on how to play appropriately with other children. ADD kids may have poor impulse control. This can result in several different problems during playtime. They have difficulty stopping a behavior once they've started and sometimes will carry that behavior to an intensity that is too much for the average child.
The symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder are caused by a neurological dysfunction within the brain. Several studies have confirmed that there is a definite difference in brain functioning between a group of individuals diagnosed with ADD and those without it. The underlying reason that causes ADD is still not fully understood and remains under scientific study. It is thought that the brain chemistry is out of balance and that specific chemicals may be lacking in individuals with ADD. When given their medications their brain activity was much more like that of the normal brain. The area of the brain of Attention Deficit Disorder sufferers where activity is low are known to be associated with attention and concentration as well as planning and organization. ADD may be either inherited or acquired. Recent research in genetics has definitely shown that the disorder runs in families. The specific chromosomes that ate involved have not been fully identified though more clues are being discovered as research progresses. Like many other disorders the child may have it even though the parents don't. However there are usually aunts, uncles or grandparents who have the disorder. Attention Deficit Disorder may be acquired through various conditions that could cause damage to the brain. Like drug use during pregnancy infectious diseases, overexposure to radiation prematurely or complicated delivery. After birth the conditions include meningitis, seizures from fever, or head injury. Excessive intake of sweets does not cause the disorder but it can make the symptoms worse. Since many children with ADD seem to outgrow it, the condition can also be looked at as a developmental disorder. Some children seem to develop the ability to pay attention and concentrate later than others do. In the past, children with ADD and other learning disabilities were labeled as underachievers in their younger years and then reclassified as late bloomers when their development is this area caught up with their peers. Now many adults look back realizing they had a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder, which they may or may not have overcome. Some people with ADD become very successful, while others continue to have significant symptoms as adults. These individuals often drop out of school, which is why this disorder should be treated when the symptoms are exhibited.
Medications such as stimulants are most commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. These medications are thought to improve the chemical imbalance in the brain that causes the symptoms. They stimulate the production of two neurotransmitters known as dopamine and norephinephrine. Medications that treat ADD are not tranquilizers or sedatives. They do not slow down the nervous system. They actually stimulate areas of the brain to be more active so that the attention and concentration functions and self-control functions work better. Most people are treated with a medication called Ritalin. This drug appears to be very effective to those who use it despite its bad press. When Ritalin doesn't work there are other drugs that can be used. Other amphetamines, or anti-depressants and beta blocks have also been proven effective. Medication is the most commonly used treatment; it is however, used in combination with psychological behavior modification and patient/ family education. Traditional child psychotherapy, such as play therapy or non-directive talking therapy, has not been proven effective in the treatment of ADD. Providing individual therapy to one or both parents also does not work. Research demonstrates that modern psychological treatment methods, especially behavior modification, cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation can have a positive effect. One of these in combination with medication is very effective. Counseling alone is to provide education for the child and family to help them better understands the disorder, not to treat it. Counseling may also be used to help build self-esteem that has been damaged due to the disorder. Modern psychological treatments can result in actually changing mental functioning which would mean a change in brain functioning. If they can change the brain functioning then the brain chemistry can be altered without medication. The research indicates that changing the brain functioning which results in a change in brain chemistry would remain permanent over time.