Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD Essay Research

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Essay, Research Paper Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Imagine living in a world where sights, sounds, images and thoughts are constantly changing and shifting. Unable to focus on whatever task is at hand, your mind wanders from one activity or thought to the next. Sometimes you become so lost among all the thoughts and images that you don’t even notice when someone is speaking to you. This is what it is like for many people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders among children. It affects 3 to 5 percent of all children, and it is likely to occur two to three times more in boys than in

girls. People who have ADHD may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks, or be completely aware of what is going on in the world around them. However, on some occasions, they may appear “normal”, leading others to believe that the person with ADHD can control such behaviors. As a result of this, ADHD can hinder the person’s relationships and interactions with others in addition to disrupting their daily life and lowering self-esteem. To determine whether or not a person has ADHD, specialists must consider several questions: Do these behaviors occur more often than in other people of the same age? Are the behaviors an ongoing problem, not just a response to a [temporary] situation? Do the behaviors occur only in one specific place or in several different settings?

In answering these questions, the person’s behavior patterns are compared to a set of criteria and characteristics of ADHD. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) presents this set of criteria. According to the DSM, there are three patterns of behavior that indicate ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. According to the DSM, signs of inattention include: becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds; failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes; rarely following instructions carefully and/or completely; and constantly losing or forgetting things like books, pencils, tools, and such. Some signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity, according to the DSM, are: the inability to sit still, often fidgeting with hands and

feet; running, climbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet, attentive behavior is required; difficulty waiting in line or for a turn; and blurting out answers before hearing the entire question. However, because almost everyone will behave in these manners at some time, the DSM has very specific guidelines for determining if they indicate ADHD. Such behaviors must appear early in life, before age 7, and continue for at least 6 months. For children, these behaviors must occur more frequently and severely than in others of the same age. Most of all, the behaviors must create a true handicap in at least 2 areas of the person’s life (e.g. school, home, work, social settings). One of the difficulties in diagnosing ADHD is that it is usually accompanied by other

problems. Many children who have ADHD also have a learning disability. This means that they have trouble with certain language or academic skills, commonly reading and math. A very small number of people with ADHD also have Tourette’s syndrome. Those affected by Tourette’s syndrome may have tics, facial twitches, and other such movements that they cannot control. Also, they may grimace, shrug, or yell out words abruptly. Almost half of all children with ADHD, mostly boys, have another condition known as oppositional defiant disorder. This sometimes develops into more serious conduct disorders. Children with this disorder, in conjunction with ADHD, may be stubborn, have outbursts, and act belligerent or defiant. They may take unsafe risks and break laws — ultimately getting