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Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral[1] developmental disorder[2][3]affecting about 3-5% of the world's population.[4] It typically presents during childhood, and is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention, with or without a component of hyperactivity.[5] ADHD occurs twice as commonly in boys as in girls.[6] ADHD is generally a chronic[7] disorder with 5 to 12% of individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to meet diagnostic criteria in adulthood.[8][9] As they mature, adolescents and adults with ADHD are likely to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for their impairment.[10]

Though previously regarded as a childhood diagnosis, studies completed during the last few decades have shown that ADHD often continues throughout adulthood - though generally with a reduction in hyperactivity. ADHD has a strong genetic component.[11] Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, life style changes, and counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that stimulant medications and/or behavior therapy are appropriate and generally safe treatments for ADHD.[12] Long term safety of stimulants however has not been determined[8] and drug treatment of pre-school children is not recommended.[13] ADHD "is a controversial pediatric disorder despite being a well validated clinical diagnosis" This is because it is one of the most common childhood psychiatric disorders and stimulant medication has been shown to be the most effective way to treat symptoms.[14]

ADHD is best seen as the extreme of a continuous trait that is found throughout the population. [13] ADHD is a developmental disorder where certain traits such as impulse control lag in development when compared to the general population[15]. Using magnetic resonance imaging, this developmental lag has been estimated to range from 3 to 5 years in the prefrontal cortex.[16]. These delays are considered to cause impairment. ADHD has also been classified as a behavior disorder and a neurological disorder. [3]


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder".