Attention Deficit Disorder Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is commonly known as a childhood syndrome characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and a short attention span. These often lead to learning disabilities and various behavioral problems. ADD is defined as an inability to control behavior due to difficulty in processing neural stimuli. Most of the diagnosis is at childhood. Experts say that over 2 million children have ADD. About 50% of these 2 million children who have ADD are believed to be underachievers.
Also with this 50% the children who have ADD are believed to be to have social and academic difficulties. About 40% of the 2 million have a 40% IQ discrepancy. The good part is that 80%-90% of these children receive medication for their problem, but most of them still need behavior modifications. Most schools help with that. People with ADD are often noted for their inconsistencies.
One day they can "do it", and the next they cannot. They have difficulty remembering simple things. Typically, they have problems with following through on instructions, paying attention appropriately to what they need to attend to, seem not to listen, be disorganized, have poor handwriting, miss details, have trouble starting tasks or with tasks that require planning or long term effort, appear to be easily distracted, or forgetful. In addition, some people with ADD can be fidgety, verbally impulsive, unable to wait their turn, and act on impulse regardless of consequences.
It is important to remember that not all people with ADD have all of these difficulties, nor all of the time. Due to the fact that society has traditionally thought of a person with ADD as being 'hyper,' many children who have ADD with no hyperactivity are not being identified or treated. Individuals with ADD without hyperactivity are sometimes thought of as daydreamers. The non-hyperactive children with ADD most often seem to be girls. ADD obviously affects the performance of a person in a school setting, it will also other parts of life, which can include relationships with others, organizing, planning and managing. ADD is considered to be a neurobiological disorder.
The most recent research shows that the symptoms of ADD are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. When diagnosing ADD, a thorough evaluation is very important. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with ADD, comprehensive evaluations must be administered that include a complete individual and family history, ability tests, achievement tests, and the collection of observations from people who are close to the person who is being assessed. It is also extremely important to have an assessment that is individualized and designed to uncover co-existing conditions, such as learning disabilities and behavior, mood or anxiety disorders (such as depression, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder) or any other problem that could be causing symptoms that look similar to the symptoms of ADD.
A thorough evaluation includes gathering information from a variety of sources. A thorough review of the person's medical, academic and family history is essential. In the case of a child this is done through a detailed, structured interview with the parents. Behavior rating scales should be filled out by parents, and teachers to provide information on types and severity of ADD symptoms at home and at school, as well as types and severity of other emotional or behavior problems.
Depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders are tested through a comprehensive psychological screening. Intellectual and achievement testing is used to help screen for and then assess learning problems, and areas of strength and greatest struggle. Researchers have identified classroom characteristics encourage success for many children who have ADD. Some suggestions are more structured classes, shorter work periods, more individualized instruction, and use of positive reinforcements. School is where the characteristics of ADD are first noticed. Most tasks in school are hard for a person with ADD.
School may also become of a place of disorder for an undiagnosed ADD child. ADD children often appear to be lazy or under-achievers. Their work is often incomplete, sloppy or lost. The paper may be done but directions were not followed. The child is often unprepared for class. They may stare at the paper because they do not know how to start the assignment, and his performance is inconsistent.
Teachers should be well aware of these signs. A treatment to help the situations affected by ADD is Ritalin. It comes in short term tablets that last about three hours. The medication will last through the school day. Although some people believe that Ritalin is a good medication, it has began a great deal of controversy. The side effects seem to be worse than the actual problem.
Some children may lose weight, have less appetite, and tend to grow at a slower pace. Others might have problems falling asleep. Even though the medication has side effects, doctors say that they can be handled by reducing the dosage. Another leading treatment is dextroamphetamine or commonly known as Dexedrine. Dexedrine is also used to treat Narcolepsy and a short-term treatment for obesity.
Dexedrine is one of the better drugs to help patients with ADD. It does have some side effects. The most common side effects are agitation, irritability and insomnia. The infrequent side effects that rarely occur are hallucinations, liver irritation, increased heart rate, tics, Tourette's syndrome, and sexual difficulties. Guanfacine or Tenex is yet another medication to treat ADD, but it is also used to treat mild to moderate high blood pressure. Tenex seems to work the best for hyperactivity, but not so much the distractibility.
Some people that are treated with Tenex experience some side effects such as, drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, mild lowering of blood pressure on standing. Some infrequent side effects that occur are skin problems such as rashes or itching, headache, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea and slow heart rate. In conclusion, ADD is treatable through prescription medication and behavioral therapy and if left untreated inhibits one from functioning in society properly. At this time there is no cure for ADD, but much more is now known about effectively coping with and managing this persistent and troubling developmental disorder.