Attention-Deficit Disorder 101

Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) is mental disorder that impairs growth and development of the brain affecting a number of cognitive functions. It falls into the category of brain/central nervous system impairments known as Neurodevelopmental disorders. Symptoms manifest between six and twelve years of age, remain consistent for more than six months and create issues within at least two environments (school, home, work or recreational). Recently, ADD has been officially designated AD/HD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). ADHD is characterized by individuals exhibiting difficulties concentrating, controlling behavior and excessive activity.
The title of ADD has changed much over the years since it was first diagnosed. In 1994, it was officially named AD/HD by the American Psychiatric Association. Individuals with AD/HD is generally associated by its main features: inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Three AD/HD Subtypes:

• AD/HD Predominantly Combined
• AD/HD Predominantly Inattentive
• AD/HD Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive
These subtypes have been created as not all children with AD/HD display the exact same set and level of issues. Thereby, this separation provides more accurate and effective treatment on a case by case basis. Predominantly Combined may show symptoms equally of inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. In turn, the subtype Predominantly Inattentive indicates individuals who may mostly suffer with issues concentrating having only mild or no symptoms of excessive activity or impulsiveness. Moreover, the Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive subtype categorizes those who may have mild attention issues with hyperactivity and impulsivity being much more severe.

ADD/ADHD Causes And Symptoms

AD/HD is a neurodevelopmental disability affecting between 3-5% of the school-aged population. To this day, the exact cause of this disorder has yet to be pinpointed. However, theories have arisen naming genetics, environment and society as primary candidates. Diagnosis can be difficult to make because many other disorders have overlapping symptoms. In addition, due to the wide spread knowledge of the disorder, many individuals project and manifest issues causing countless misdiagnosed AD/HD candidates.

Predominantly Inattentive Symptoms:

• Easily distracted, poor attention to detail and memory issues
• Frequently shifts between subjects or activities
• Easily bored in minutes unless very interested in activity
• Difficulty concentrating on one task
• Troubles organizing and completing tasks or learning new things
• Problems listening even when being directly spoken to
• Slow movement, easily confused and frequent daydreaming
• Struggle to follow instructions and process information as quick or accurate as others
• Difficulty in comprehending the small details

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Symptoms:

• Fidget, squirm or constantly in motion with difficulty sitting still during class
• Nonstop talking, endless flows of thought, interrupt others and jump around with subjects
• Distracted by every detail and constantly touching everything in sight
• Display impatience, have difficulties waiting for things they want or waiting their turn
• Difficulties performing tasks quietly despite repeated requests
• Blurt inappropriate comments, lack emotional restraint and lack regard of consequences

AD/HD Pathophysiology

Today’s understanding of AD/HD associate the disorder with some type of function impairment of neurological systems. Specifically, this is indicated by an issues arising from the production of certain neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters govern a number of cognitive process. These are directly responsible for executive function (cognitive behavior control), motivation, reward perception and motor function.

Todd Ruggets
Todd Ruggets

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