Introduction To ADD & ADHD
Imagine living in a fast-moving kaleidoscope, where sounds, images, and
thoughts are constantly shifting. Feeling easily bored, yet helpless to
keep your mind on tasks you need to complete. Distracted by unimportant
sights and sounds, your mind drives you from one thought or activity to
the next. Perhaps you are so wrapped up in a collage of thoughts and images
that you don't notice when someone speaks to you.
For many people, this is what it's like to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder, or ADHD. They may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish
tasks, or be fully aware of what's going on around them. To their family,
classmates or coworkers, they seem to exist in a whirlwind of disorganized
or frenzied activity. Unexpectedly--oon some days and in some situations--tthey
seem fine, often leading others to think the person with ADHD can actually
control these behaviors. As a result, the disorder can mar the person's
relationships with others in addition to disrupting their daily life,
consuming energy, and diminishing self-esteem.
ADHD, once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, is one of
the most common mental disorders among children. It affects 3 to 5 percent
of all children, perhaps as many as 2 million American children. Two to
three times more boys than girls are affected. On the average, at least
one child in every classroom in the United States needs help for the disorder.
ADHD often continues into adolescence and adulthood, and can cause a lifetime
of frustrated dreams and emotional pain.
But there is help...and hope. In the last decade, scientists have learned
much about the course of the disorder and are now able to identify and
treat children, adolescents, and adults who have it. A variety of medications,
behavior-changing therapies, and educational options are already available
to help people with ADHD focus their attention, build self-esteem, and
function in new ways.
Many childhood mental illnesses escape notice, but children with attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often the subject of great concern
on the part of parents and teachers. Children with ADHD-the most common
of the psychiatric disorders that appear in childhood-can't stay focused
on a task, act without thinking, can't sit still, and rarely finish anything.
If untreated, the disorder can have long-term effects on a child's ability
to make friends or do well at school or work. Over time, children with
ADHD may develop depression, lack of self-esteem, and other emotional
- Experts estimate that ADHD affects 3 to 5 percent of school-age
- ADHD affects two to three times as many boys as girls.
- Children with untreated ADHD have higher than normal rates of injury.
- ADHD frequently co-occurs with other problems, such as depression
and anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, drug abuse, or antisocial
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