Attention Deficit Disorder with and without Hyperactivity – Part 1 Overview

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the percentage of children with attention deficit with hyperactivity (ADHD) is between three to five percent. The number may be as high as eleven percent when taking into account those children who have attention deficits but are not hyperactive. Worldwide, between three and four percent of adults aged 18-44 are thought to have ADHD based on the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative.

Many adult diagnosed with ADHD during childhood continue to show symptoms as adults. ADHD does not fade at a certain age.

Not all countries look at the causes of ADHD the same way. The United States places the cause of ADHD within the individual. France and England place the cause within the person’s living environment. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused, paying attention, controlling behavior, and hyperactivity. These symptoms must be present in more than one place (e.g. school and home).

Children with attention deficit without hyperactivity (ADD) are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they’re doing. These children often fall between-the-cracks and their attention problems may go unnoticed for years.

Before a child is diagnosed, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within the family. Parents and children need help to deal with accumulated negative feelings. Mental health professionals can help the children and parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy, exposure to high levels of lead, and consumption of certain food additives like artificial colors or preservatives may increase the likelihood or have an effect on hyperactivity.

People with ADHD tend to have less electrical flow in the frontal lobe and cerebral cortex and in other areas responsible for attention and inhibition of behavior. In some cases medication is helpful, but should be the last resort. Drugs used for attention deficit disorder with and without hyperactivity are more effective when used in combination with alternative therapies such as neurofeedback and counseling.

Children and adults prescribed with drugs for ADHD should be monitored regularly for: blood pressure and pulse; height, weight, and appetite; onset or worsening of psychiatric symptoms (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, hostility, anxiety, agitation, psychosis, or mania); and symptoms suggestive of heart disease.

Each year of use, treatment should be interrupted to see if the drug is still necessary.

Next blog, we continue Part 2 with tips for parents to help kids stay organized and follow direction.


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

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