Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a disorderin which an individual consistently shows certain behaviors over time. Thethree categories for these behaviors are inattention, hyperactivity, andimpulsivity.
What is going on in the body?
In people who have ADHD, the areas of the brain that controlattention use less glucose than the brains of other people. This indicates thatthe areas are less active. The lower activity level seems to cause inattention.No one knows for sure why these brain areas are less active.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
No one knows the exact cause of ADHD. Most experts believe thatthe following factors may play a role in causing ADHD:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
People with ADHD may show the following signs of inattention:
Someone who has ADHD may also show signs of impulsivity andhyperactivity, such as:
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the condition diagnosed?
Diagnosis of ADHD begins with a medical history and physical exam.The healthcare provider will look for behaviors that are typical of ADHD. Inorder to diagnose ADHD, the provider must determine that the behaviors havecertain characteristics:
The healthcare provider may order tests to rule outother disorders. These tests may include:
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the condition?
Many times, ADHD cannot be prevented. The following measures maybe helpful:
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Without effective treatment, ADHD can cause serious problems atschool, home, work, and social settings.
What are the risks to others?
ADHD is not contagious. It poses no risk to others. There may be agenetic component to the disorder.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment for ADHD usually involves medicine along with one ormore other strategies. The most common medicine for ADHD is a stimulant calledmethylphenidate. This medicine is known as Ritalin, Concerta, or Metadate.Other medicines used to treat ADHD include the following:
Medicines are often used together with other treatment strategies,such as:
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects from medicines can include the following:
A person who is receiving any form of therapy may show an initial increase innegative behavior. This may last until new behaviors become routine.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
Treatment and monitoring of ADHD is lifelong.
How is the condition monitored?
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcareprovider.
Article type: xmedgeneral