Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Introduction Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, is one of the most common mental disorders among children. (Elia, Ambrosini, Rapoport, 1999) It affects 3 to 5 percent of all children, with approximately 60% to 80% of these children experiencing persistence of symptoms into adolescence and adulthood, causing a lifetime of frustrated dreams and emotional pain. There are two types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: an inattentive type and a combined type. The symptoms of ADHD can be classified into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This behaviour stops ADHD sufferers from focussing deliberately on organising and completing a specific task that they may not enjoy, learning new skills or information is proved to be impossible. An example of such behaviour is recognised by the report written by the National Institute of Mental Health where one of the subjects under study was unable to pass schooling examinations due to her inattentive behaviour. Such behaviour can damage the person's relationships with others in addition to disrupting their daily life, consuming energy, and diminishing self-esteem. (National Institute of Mental Health 1999) There are also secondary symptoms which are associated with ADHD, such as learning disorders, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, tic disorders, and conduct disorders. (Spencer, Biederman, and Wilens 1999 in Monastra V, Monastra D, George, 2002) Stimulant drugs are widely used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. These stimulants dramatically reduce the hyperactivity of sufferers and improve their ability to focus, learn and work. Such medication may also improve physical coordination, for instance handwriting and sports. Research completed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests that these medicines may also help children with an accompanying conduct disorder to control their impulsive, destructive behaviours. The three medications that have been proven by the NIMH to be most effective in both children and adults suffering from ADHD are: methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine or Dextrostat), and pemoline (Cylert). (NIMH 1999) Yet there is currently much research on the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as t... ... middle of paper ... .... A comparison of the newer treatment options for ADHD. Formulary, 38 (1), pp. 38 Elia, J., Ambrosini, P.J., Rapoport, J.L. (1999). Treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 56 pp. 530-533 Michelson, M.D., Albert J. Allen, M.D., Ph.D., Joan Busner, Ph.D., Charles Casat, M.D., David Dunn, M.D., Christopher Kratochvil, M.D., Jeffrey Newcorn, M.D., F. Randy Sallee, M.D., R. Bart Sangal, M.D., Keith Saylor, Ph.D., Scott West, M.D., Douglas Kelsey, M.D., Ph.D., Joachim Wernicke, M.D., Ph.D., Nancy J. Trapp, B.A., and Donald Harder, M.S. (2002). Once-daily atomoxetine treatment for children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. American Psychiatric Association Monastra, V., Monastra, D., George, S. (2002). Effects of stimulant therapy, EEG biofeedback, and parenting style on the primary symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 27(4) pp. 231-249 National Institute of Mental Health (1999). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Retrieved April 2, 2003 from

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