written by: jamesj
• edited by: Emma Lloyd
• updated: 9/23/2010
There are many myths about ADHD and there are many things not yet known, but what are the facts on ADD and ADHD? Here are the top 10 facts, things we do know, about the condition.
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ADHD is the term currnetly being used in scientific circles, replacing the term ADD, to refer to the condition of Attention Deficit Disorder. The key difference is whether a person has hyperactivity, which is a key fact on ADD and ADHD. Those who do not have hyperactivity will still probably have a measure of restlessness. Two basic types of ADHD are the hyperactive version of the inattentive version.
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Medical professionals say symptoms should show up before a person is seven years old to have the condition. Many things can mask the symptoms, so they may not be noticeable until later.
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An interesting fact of ADD and ADHD is that more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD. There could be many reasons for this. One theory suggests that young girls are better at coping with their symptoms until they reach the middle school years when school work and life itself gets more complicated.
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Is it ADHD or a lack of sleep? Studies have shown that 11-12 year-olds who get 6.5 hours of sleep a night, or less, can have symptoms much like ADHD. The lack of sleep slows brain function and can impair a person's ability to pay attention. It is important then to make sure the child is getting enough sleep before jumping to the ADHD diagnosis.
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A diagnosis of ADHD involves a lot more than a person not being able to pay attention. To have a clincal diagnosis some basic criteria must be met. A person must consistently show at least six of the list of symptoms of either innatention type ADHD or hyperactive ADHD. These symptoms must have persisted for at least six months -- whether or not they were there before the age of seven -- to a Idegree that is not considered age appropriate or to a level disruptive to the person's normal life. These criteria must also be met in more than one setting, such as school, home or work. A psychiatrist is the person who should make the diagnosis only when all of these criteria have been met.
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Inattention is one of two main types of ADHD. This condition is marked by the following:
Difficulty paying close attention and making careless mistakes.
Difficulty staying on task.
Gives the impression of not listening, whether really listening or not.
Difficulty following through on instructions or finishing any task, and this is not related to failure to understand or any defiant behavior.
Avoiding or disliking having to give a sustained mental effort.
Loses things needed to complete tasks.
Forgetful of routing daily matters.
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Hyperactivity is the second of two main types of ADHD, and symptoms are:
Fidgeting or squirming in one's seat.
Failing to remain seated when remaining seated would be expected.
Running around or climbing excessively in inappropriate situations.
Always moving, on the go.
Answering before questions are finsihed.
Difficulty waiting one's turn.
Often interrupts others.
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Adjusting to change
People with ADHD often have trouble adjusting to change, new situations or basic changes in the way things are done. They give the appearance of being inflexible. This is strange considering that most ADHD people are always looking for something new and about always restless. Psychiatrists say ADHD people need routine and order to help them get organized and handle their world effectively.
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Symptoms are not very different for adults than for chldren. Many adults are not diagnosed because the diagnosis was not very common 20 or 30 years ago when they would have been children. Sometimes childhood cases were not too severe so they were not as noticeable until they reached adulthood.
Treatment is largely the same for adults and children, which involves medication and therapy. Developing coping skills is seen as useful, but medical officials do not see any advantage in trying programs designed to improve memory are attention skills.
About five percent of children have ADHD, and about half of them have the condition into adulthood.
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ADHD is not always a bad thing. There are some positives, leading some to believe that treatment is not needed.
Creativity is one positive trait shared by people with ADHD. People with ADHD also tend to be charming and warmhearted toward others. A sense of humor and willingness to forgive others, and to keep trying when things go bad, are other positive traits common to people with ADHD. People with ADHD tend to be intuitive and sensitive to their environment. They can also be very enthusiastic and passionate once they do get focused on a task. While having difficulty getting focused is a problem, once they get locked in, it is hard to get them off the task at hand.
One oddity is that while people with ADHD do not often adjust well to change, they do seem more willing to take risks and try things that have not been tried before.