Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a childhood disorder characterized by changes in behavior, although the symptoms may vary from person to person. The condition was previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD) before the American Psychiatrist Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The manual revised the criteria required to diagnose someone with ADHD. There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. Inattentive ADHD occurs when someone shows enough symptoms of inattention or easy distractibility, but is not hyperactive or impulsive. Inattentive ADHD is also referred to as ADD. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD occurs when a person exhibits symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity but is not inattentive. The combined type occurs when someone shows symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.DescriptionThe exact cause of ADHD is still unknown although research indicates that the illness is likely to be caused by impairment in the functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are important as they help the brain to organize and direct thoughts and behavior.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2013), ADHD is likely caused by an interaction of both genetic and environmental factors. Most people with ADHD have relatives with the same disorder, usually parents, and siblings. There are a lot of genes that are linked to ADHD, and each gene has a role to play in the disorder. Some of the non-genetic risk factors of ADHD include:
• Smoking or drinking while pregnant
• Very low birth weight or birth complications
• Exposure to lead and other toxic chemicals
• Extreme neglect, abuse or social deprivation
• Food additives such as artificial colorings (National Institute of Mental Health, 2013)ADD/ADHD is characterized by a change in behavior due to the impaired functioning of neurotransmitters.
Consequently, the main symptom that is measured is behavior. However, children with ADD/ADHD have been found to be at risk of other mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, a learning disability or conduct disorder among others (National Institute of Mental Health, 2013). Any child can be fidgety and restless for some time, but a child with ADD/ADHD has these symptoms to a degree that can be distractive at home or in school. There are three primary symptoms of ADD/ADHD: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. For each set of symptoms, there are a number of criteria specified in the DSM-5 that a child will need to meet to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The number of criteria can vary with age where children below 16 years must exhibit six or more symptoms while those above 17 only need five (Kinman, 2015). The symptoms also have to present for at least six months and must be inappropriate for the child’s developmental level.Children who have symptoms of intention may exhibit the following behavioral symptoms:
• Be easily distracted, forget things and frequently change activities
• Have difficulty paying attention to one thing• Unless they are …