Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnostic term given to children and adults who have problems in four major areas of their lives. These four areas are impulsivity, hyperactivity, boredom and inattention. ADHD is a neurologically-based disorder.
The lower portion of the brain houses an area known as the reticular activating system. This system in the brain keeps the higher brain centers alert and ready for input. With ADHD, there is some evidence that this particular area is not working correctly and that the brain seems to be going to sleep. The hyperactivity is the brain's attempt to stimulate activity and maintain alertness.
Other areas of the brain may also be affected. These include the inhibitory mechanisms of the cortex and the frontal lobes. Each of these particular areas of the brain is associated with a variety of various functions.
There has been some controversy over the diagnosis of ADHD as a neurological condition. Many experts say that there is no evidence whatsoever that ADHD is neurological, as there have been no medical tests to diagnose the deficiency. Also, the criteria encapsulated are too broad to make a specific diagnosis.
There are number of factors that are fairly common in ADHD sufferers. The condition seems to run in families, and there are connections with families who have a history of depression and/or alcoholism. Asthma may be more prevalent in sufferers of ADHD, and affected children often show considerable artistic ability, but may also show difficulty in writing or drawing.
ADHD is five to seven times more common in boys than girls, and it occurs at every level of intelligence. The condition is more commonly diagnosed in the United States than in Europe. Stimulant medication is used more commonly in America as an intervention strategy.
ADHD comes in a variety of forms. It can be subdivided into two categories, inattentive disorder and impulse-hyperactive disorder, or a combination of the two. The term attention deficit order with or without hyperactivity was recently used to describe the condition. No two sufferers of ADHD or attention deficit disorder (ADD) are exactly alike.
About 35% of all children who are referred to mental health clinics are referred with ADHD. The condition effects about 3% of adults and 5% of children. It is thought that 50 to 60% of children will outgrow ADHD by the time they reach their twenties.