ADHD is neurodevelopmental disorder affecting individuals across the lifespan that causes difficulty in sustaining attention on tasks and controlling activity level in many different situations. There are three distinct types of ADHD- Predominantly Inattentive presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive Presentation, and Combined Presentation.
ADHD affects 5% of children and 2.5% of adults. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls. Girls diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be diagnosed with the inattentive presentation. Children with ADHD are at greater risk than the general population to be diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder, with some research studies showing that as much as 50% of ADHD children demonstrating a co-occurring disruptive behavior disorder.
Children with ADHD often have difficulty focusing. This can cause significant impairment in school since these children get very easily distracted by noise or daydreaming, fail to follow through with instructions and try to avoid challenging tasks such as classwork and homework; and causes difficulty at home since these children often fail to listen to directions, fail to complete tasks and chores and can be very disorganized and forgetful with daily routines. ADHD children with hyperactivity often look like they are "on the go." They have difficulty remaining seated in different situations, fidgeting or becoming restless with their body, talking excessively, and controlling impulsive responses. These behaviors are often disruptive to classroom functioning at school and can be very difficult for parents to manage at home and in public. Children with ADHD often have difficulty in social situations because they impulsively intrude in group activities, have more energy than certain social situations call for, dominate conversation, and get impatient and have difficulty sharing.
Research shows that while many children will see impairments of ADHD even through adulthood, a subset of children will demonstrate enough brain maturation by late adolescence to longer see effects of the disorder. For those who are affected by ADHD into adulthood, their inattentive, hyperactive, and impulse symptoms will remain, but will present themselves differently as in childhood. Adults with the disorder have difficulty organizing and planning tasks, missing subtle details on tasks and activities, working on boring tasks through completion, and procrastinate on tasks that require attention to detail. They are also more likely to make risky, impulsive decisions which can affect their functioning in family, occupational, and social situations.
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