Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Many school age children and adults are affected with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which may interfere with their school/work performance and their family relationships. Although "ADHD" is still the official term, the term "ADD" is becoming more accepted as we recognize the many facets of this disorder. Currently, ADD is described in three subcategories in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association: Hyperactive Type, Inattentive Type, and Mixed Type (both hyperactive and inattentive).
CHARACTERISTICS OF ADD INCLUDE:
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
- Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
- Does not seem to listen to what is being said to him/her.
- Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the work place (This lack of follow through can often be due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions. Evaluation can help differentiate between the two.).
- Has difficulties organizing tasks and activities.
- Avoids or strongly dislikes tasks (e.g., schoolwork or homework) that require sustained mental effort.
- Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school assignments, pencils, books, tools, or toys).
- Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
- Seems to need to "let off" energy by fidgeting with hands or feet, making repetitive leg or hand movements, or squirming in seat.
- Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
- Runs about or climbs excessively in situations where it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, restlessness may be limited to their own subjective feelings, rather than actual behaviors).
- Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
- Blurts out answers to questions before the questions have been completed.
- Has difficulty waiting in lines or awaiting turn in games or group situations.
- Persons with ADD (or their teachers/supervisors) usually report that these disturbances cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
- Many persons with ADD act impulsively and/or have "rage reactions" (screaming, slamming doors, and/or physical violence) that are out of proportion to the problem they are reacting to.
- A large percentage (perhaps a third) of persons with ADD have other clinical psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., are overly oppositional, compulsive, or depressed).
If you have questions about any of these or other symptoms of ADD, this expert service can offer suggestions that may help, including:
- Behavior modification strategies
- Medication management information
- Resource suggestions
For more information:
Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
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- Read articles on this topic
- Browse the previously asked questions
Last Reviewed: Jul 21, 2006