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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

What is Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It interferes with a person's ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate inhibition (cognitive alone or both cognitive and behavioral). Some of the warning signs of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details. There are several types of ADHD: a predominantly inattentive subtype, a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype, and a combined subtype. ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, although the condition can continue into the adult years.

Is there any treatment?

The usual course of treatment may include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), which are stimulants that decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity and increase attention. Most experts agree that treatment for ADHD should address multiple aspects of the individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should include structured classroom management, parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), and tutoring and/or behavioral therapy for the child.

What is the prognosis?

There is no "cure" for ADHD. Children with the disorder seldom outgrow it; however, some may find adaptive ways to accommodate the ADHD as they mature.

What research is being done

Several components of the NIH support research on developmental disorders such as ADHD. Research programs of the NINDS, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seek to address unanswered questions about the causes of ADHD, as well as to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Organizations

CHADD - Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
8181 Professional Place, Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785
http://www.chadd.org
Tel: 301-306-7070 800-233-4050
Fax: 301-306-7090

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
P.O. Box 543
Pottstown, PA 19464
mail@add.org
http://www.add.org
Tel: 484-945-2101
Fax: 610-970-7520

Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road, Suite 1
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
info@ldaamerica.org
http://www.ldaamerica.org
Tel: 412-341-1515
Fax: 412-344-0224

National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
http://www.ld.org
Tel: 212-545-7510, 888-575-7373
Fax: 212-545-9665

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-615-NIMH (-6464) 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892