• Category: Science
  • Words: 429
  • Grade: 75
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder that affects human behavior. Children with ADHD often experience negative effects on their social and emotional development as well as on their performance in school and work settings. Physicians recognize 3 subtypes of ADHD: Inattention, Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, and Combined type, a child who displays a combination of symptoms from both categories.
ADHD affects approximately 3 to 5 percent of all school-aged children in the United States (nearly 2 million children). It is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children and adolescents. Up to 66 percent of those children will continue to exhibit symptoms into adolescence and adulthood.
ADHD cannot be identified through high-tech tests or blood counts. At times, all children behave in a way that may resemble the symptoms of ADHD. Because of this, there are specific guidelines for determining when the behaviors indicate ADHD. These behaviors must appear before age 7 and must continue for at least 6 months. Generally, these behaviors must be more frequent or more severe than in other children the same age. And, the behaviors must create a real handicap in at least two areas of life, such as school, home, or in social settings.
A physician or a specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician and/or neurologist often make the diagnosis of ADHD. But you have input too.

ADHD is a very real disorder and has no cure. But, there are proven treatments that specifically target the core ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD may be the key to increasing a child's chances of being able to function at a higher level at home, at school, and with friends. Clinical studies show that there are potentially serious consequences for not treating ADHD. Some of these potential consequences include low self-esteem, social and academic failure, and a possible increase in the risk for alcoholism, smoking and drug use later in life. Left untreated, ADHD children often become more susceptible to peer pressure, are more likely to "bully" other children, and are more likely to be promiscuous in their teens.

Some standard treatments include educational approaches, psychological or behavioral modification therapies, and medication. The standard treatment for ADHD is a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy tailored to the specific needs of a child. This study found that treatment that includes behavioral modification and carefully monitored medication greatly reduced symptoms of ADHD. The most effective drugs for treating ADHD are the stimulant medications.

Studies show that stimulant medication DECREASES the potential for future substance abuse in children with ADHD.
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