Attention deficit disorder also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADD and AD/HD for short, are used interchangeably and are really one and the same. According to the ADD Association, approximately 4-6% of the country’s population, both children and adults, is affected with this disorder.
In years past, children who appeared to be hyperactive,
irritable, or who did not “mind their elders” were considered to be the result
of poor parenting, too much TV, too much sugar, and neglect by teachers or
Research has shown that this is just not so, and that these behaviors are very likely to be caused by biological factors.
ADD disorder appears to run in families, and if one family member has
been diagnosed, then chances are greater that other family members have it too,
in greater numbers than the rest of the general population.
According to the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV, some of the most common signs and symptoms of existing AD are inability to stay focused on a task, short attention span, poor attention to detail, failure to listen to when spoken to, failure to follow directions, careless or reckless behavior, restlessness, fidgeting, constantly moving arms and legs, not being able to sit still, or excessive talking.
These symptoms are not all present in every case and vary from person to person, and from child to adult. A diagnosis of attention deficit must be made by a medical doctor or psychiatrist, who can prescribe the proper treatment regimen, including medications and counseling.
The most common medications used to treat ADD are those called stimulants, such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Dexedrine. This seems strange because we think of stimulants as speeding you up instead of slowing you down, but in children and in some adults, stimulants have the paradoxical, or opposite effect.
These medications have proven to be very effective for attention deficit disorder and are routinely prescribed in addition to behavior modification and individual therapy. Adults diagnosed with AD benefit from coaches who can help them develop coping skills to improve organizational skills and work more efficiently at home and on the job.
There are several online resources available to anyone wanting more information on ADHD, diagnosis, and treatments in adults and children. There is also quite a bit of controversy surrounding this diagnosis and the medications used to treat it. Stimulants can have side effects, and their use should be discussed with your health care provider, to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.
ADD and ADHD Resources - Educating yourself on both ADD/ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Dysfunction is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment. Check out these great ADD and ADHD resources that will help.
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