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Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Attention-deficitHyperactivity Disorder

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder refers to a group ofbehavioral symptoms that include impulsiveness, hyperactivity, andinattentiveness. According to the National Health Services (2015),between 2 % and 5% of school-aged children have ADHD. The symptomsthat characterize this condition are divided into three groupsinattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention in childrenis usually hard to detect until they join school. For adults, it isrelatively easy to detect, particularly when a person is in his/herworkplace or social situations. A person with this condition mightnot complete tasks such as homework on time. He/she also tends tomove from one uncompleted task to another more often. The person mayalso lack focus and experience problems staying on one issue duringconversations. The individual also tends to be disorganized.Additionally, he/she may have trouble paying attention to detailswhich result in him/her making numerous careless mistakes (NationalInstitute of Mental Health, 2016).

The level ofhyperactivity exhibited by persons who have attention-deficithyperactivity disorder

may differ withage. Children with hyperactivity squirm or fidget when seated, talkexcessively and also tend to be restless. A child who has thecondition may get up more often to run or walk around. Preschoolersand toddlers suffering from ADHD constantly move from one place toanother. They also have problems taking part in group activities thatrequire them to sit or stand still. For example, it may be hard forthem to sit still and listen to a story. For teenagers and adults,hyperactivity is demonstrated by being overly restless. They may alsoexperience challenges engaging in quiet activities where they have tosit still (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).

On the other hand, impulsivity involves being highly impatient. Aperson suffering from impulsivity usually has problems waiting forhis/her turn, for example, during conversations. People withattention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also experience problemssuch as depression and anxiety disorder (National Institute of MentalHealth, 2016).

Risk factors for ADHD

Twin studies show that one may inherit the disorder from his/herparents. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(2016), certain genes are known to affect dopamine neurotransmissionresulting in a person having problems paying attention. Besidesgenetics, some environmental factors have been found to cause ADHD.These factors include alcohol consumption and cigarette smokingduring pregnancy. Also, exposure to certain toxins such as lead mayresult in a person developing the condition. Additionally, extremepremature birth before the 37th week of pregnancy canresult in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (National HealthServices, 2015).

Treatment and Therapies

Medications in the treatment of ADHD help in reducing impulsivity andhyperactivity. They also improve the person’s ability to stayfocused, learn, and work. Additionally, these medications enhance thepatient’s ability to coordinate. However, not all medicines workfor everyone. As such, more often, a person has to take severaldifferent medications before finding the one that works for him/him(National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).

Examples of medication used for the treatment of ADHD includestimulants, nonstimulants, and antidepressants. Stimulants help aperson who has ADHD by enhancing the functioning of brain chemicalssuch as norepinephrine, which are known to play a crucial role inenhancing attention and thinking. When prescribed by a doctor,stimulants are considered safe. However, a person may experience sideeffects and risks, particularly when these medicines are taken inhigh doses. Also, these medicines are known to increase anxiety andraise blood pressure. As such, a person suffering from conditionssuch as kidney or liver disease, heart conditions, high bloodpressures, and seizures must notify his/her doctor before the latterprescribe stimulants to him/her (National Institute of Mental Health,2016). Other side effects of using stimulants to treat ADHD includestomach aches, sleep problems, decreased appetite, and increasedirritability and anxiety.

Other medications used for the management of the condition arenon-stimulants. It may take some time before non-stimulants startworking. However, they are known to enhance attention in individualswith ADHD. These medications are mostly prescribed to a patient whoexperiences severe side effects when he/she takes stimulants(National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). Additionally, somedoctors give antidepressants to patients with ADHD. However, theUnited States Food and Drug Administration has not approved the useof antidepressants for the treatment of ADHD. Antidepressants mayhelp in dealing with symptoms associated with ADHD, particularly inpatients experiencing severe side effects when they use stimulants(National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).

Psychotherapy is the other method used for the treatment of ADHD. Therole of psychotherapy in the treatment of ADHD is to help patients,as well as their families to cope with the daily problems associatedwith the condition. Behavioral therapy aims at helping the patient todeal with his or her behavior. Additionally, it may involve thetherapist offering practical assistance such as completing schoolworkand other tasks. The other aims of behavioral therapy are to teachthe patient how to monitor his/her behavior and think before talking.Another type of psychotherapy applied in patients with ADHD is thefamily and marital therapy. This type of therapy helps spouses andfamily members learn how to improve their interaction with thepatient (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). The last methodused to treat ADHD is education and training. This method utilizesstress management techniques, support groups, and parental skillstraining to help patients with ADHD (National Institute of MentalHealth, 2016).

In conclusion, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder is acondition characterized by high level of inattentiveness andimpulsivity. It is mostly inherited from parents. It is also causedby environmental factors such as cigarette smoking and alcoholconsumption during pregnancy. It is treated with medication,psychotherapy, and education and training.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016).Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Accessed on November 28,2016. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/

National Health Services. (2015). Attention-deficit hyperactivitydisorder. Accessed on November 28, 2016.http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Attention-deficithyperactivity disorder. Accessed on November 28, 2016.https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml