Attention Deficit Disorder is a behavioral pattern characterized by hyperactivity or hyperkinesias of brain activity resulting in inattentive and impulsive behavior. Officially, Attention Deficit Disorder is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.), but commonly people use the term A.D.D. to refer to the disorder.
Typically A.D.D. is a psychiatric disorder diagnosed and treated in children. This is important because it is a developmental disorder that can have unhealthy effects into adulthood. Many people that have been diagnosed in childhood with A.D.D. tend to lead chaotic lifestyles and become much disorganized at times. Most of these symptoms go untreated which can lead to unhealthy choices such as reliance on non-prescription drugs and impulsive behavior, especially under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It remains unclear how many adults are diagnosed with A.D.D. because many people were not diagnosed as children. It is known however that boys have A.D.D. three times as much as girls according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s also known that A.D.D. crosses all ethnicities and countries in about the same numbers.
The causes of A.D.D. are still relatively unknown, but the Professional Group for Attention and Related Disorders have noted that scientific studies show that the disorder is genetically transmitted and result in a chemical imbalance and deficiency in neurotransmitters. A study completed by the National Institute for Mental Health concluded that the rate that the brain uses glucose, its primary source of energy, is lower in children with A.D.D. Although it is not officially known the direct cause, a number of detailed studies have shown A.D.D. is not environment based, and therefore not caused by parents or teachers.
What are the symptoms of A.D.D.?
The three main signs of Attention Deficit Disorder are inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. While usually focused on a child’s behavior, these signs can apply to adults as well.
- Does not pay attention to detail and make careless mistakes in schoolwork or menial tasks.
- Does not listen when directly spoken to.
- Does not follow through with instruction and fails to finish schoolwork or assignments.
- Has difficulty organizing tasks
- Easily distracted by small stimuli
- Forgetting tasks in a daily routine
- Fidgets with hands and feet
- Talks excessively
- Always “on the move” to do something new
- Restlessness in adults and excessively running and movement in children
- Often intrudes and interrupts
- Acting before thinking
- Difficulty waiting one’s turn
- engaging in risky behavior
It is important to note that most people experience these symptoms from time to time. Some people many exhibit this behavior consistently. It does not mean these people have A.D.D. People including parents and teachers, should not be making any diagnosis themselves. Those concerned with the potential of the disorder should seek a medical professional.
How is A.D.D. treated?
Standard treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder are medication and counseling.
Medications are only prescribed when diagnosed by a doctor. If needed, a doctor will prescribe either a stimulant, non-stimulant, or anti-depressant based on the person’s condition and medical history. As with any medication there can be side effects but with A.D.D. medications they are rare if taken properly.
Counseling and Social Training
There are various types of counseling available to treat A.D.D. sufferers and their family members. These include family therapy, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, parenting skill training and social skills training. All of these treatments tend to be successful as it involves all members of the family working with mental health professionals.
These can be a great source of comfort for parents or adults with A.D.D. to bond and sort out issues affected by the disorder. Fears, concerns and other problems can be addressed in a compassionate environment where everything can be voiced and no one feels alone.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a real concern for parents with children that excessively display the signs of the disorder. At a crucial developmental stage, this disorder can have lasting effects. It’s important to seek a mental health professional if the behavior is unmanageable.