Definition Of ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurochemical disorder that affects up to 3-10% of US children and 4-6% of US adults. It primarily affects children but can last into adulthood.
Sufferers have challenges succeeding at school and work, and have difficulties achieving healthy peer and romantic relationships.
In addition, sufferers of ADHD are at increased risk of other mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, etc.), substance abuse and addiction.
It affects boys at three to four times the rate of girls, but it may be under diagnosed in girls. One reason is that, in girls, ADHD tends to manifest as inattention rather than hyperactivity.
Such girls are often labeled as "daydreamers" and often fly under the radar of parents and teachers, resulting in lack of proper diagnosis.
Further, adults are more likely to suffer from from the subtype ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) which is ADHD without the hyperactivity.
Both adolescents and adults are at increased risk of addiction in part due to self-medicating their symptoms via using or abusing recreational drugs to help take the edge off.
There is no cure for ADHD, but it can managed and controlled.
There are three categories of ADHD symptoms: Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity.
Inattention involves being easily distracted, not following directions, "daydreaming" or appearing not to listen, making careless mistakes, being forgetful, frequently losing things, being disorganized, and challenges at tasks or activities that require a sustained, focused effort.
As you can see, Inattention can seriously hinder one's ability to succeed in school (for children) or work (for adults).
Hyperactivity involves an inability to sit still (particularly in school settings), fidgeting, squirming, frequent climbing, running, difficulty playing quietly, always "on the "go," general restlessness, and excessive talkativeness.
Impulsivity, or impulsive behavior, involves acting with little or no consideration of the possible consequences. People who engage in impulsive behavior tend to lack the executive brain functioning that would inhibit others from taking dangerous risks.
Lack of impulse control in children with ADHD can manifest as calling out in class, interrupting others, cutting in line, taking dangerous risks when riding bicycles or skateboards, difficulty waiting for his or her turn, and extreme impatience.
In adults, such impulsive behavior may manifest as interrupting others, sexual promiscuity, drug use, gambling, excessive shopping or spending, and extreme impatience.
While the exact causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are not completely known, it has been linked to a variety of factors. Premature birth, childhood exposure to toxins such as lead paint and PCB's, smoking, drinking, and alcohol use in pregnant mothers, maternal exposure to toxins such PCB's, brain imbalance, and poor diet (see The ADHD Food Link.
In my clinical opinion, there are two effective, recommended at-home behavioral treatment programs for ADHD are the ADHD Breakthrough Program for children and 30 Days To Better Focus Program for adults.