Classification and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a fairly common neurobehavioral developmental disability which affects millions of children around the world. Its primary symptoms are marked, prolonged periods of hyperactivity along with an inability for the child to focus or concentrate for extended periods of time. These symptoms typically make it difficult for children to succeed in traditional classroom environments, and it is often a child's teacher who will alert parents to their son's or daughter's symptoms.

Types of ADHD

There are three subtypes of ADHD:

For ADHD to be diagnosed, the child must begin to exhibit symptoms before the age of seven that are continually present for a period of at least six months. ADHD symptoms must also negatively affect the child's quality of life in at least two of the five following spheres: the classroom, the playground, the community, in social settings or at home.

Managing ADHD

Treatment is focused on managing symptoms, typically with a combination of stimulant medications, which have been clinically proven to dramatically improve concentration, and behavioral interventions. Because the very nature of the symptoms of ADHD makes it difficult for children to succeed in traditional classroom environments, alternative schools may provide better learning environments for affected children.

The causes of ADHD are a subject of great debate in the scientific community, and those who have studied the condition believe that genetic components play a strong role. However, environmental, dietary and social factors may also contribute to the onset of ADHD.

Given the commonness of the condition, help is easy to find. If your child is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, visit your family doctor to have your case individually assessed.

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