Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) defines Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity. This pattern is displayed more frequently and severely in these individuals than in their peers. Many times, the impairment that comes from this inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity manifests’ itself in more than one setting. For example: the child patient’s inattention may show in his school work and at home; the adult patient may show her signs of inattention and impulsivity in her work and her home. It is important to clarify that the inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that comes with AD/HD clearly interferes with social, academic and even occupational functioning.

It is important to point out that many times, the symptoms of AD/HD are also seen in other medical problems, especially in young children.

There are 3 main types of AD/HD. The most well known type of AD/HD is the hyperactive form. However, many people suffer from a type of AD/HD that can cause serious difficulties paying attention, but do not display the hyperactivity. Some people also suffer with both the hyperactivity and the attention problems.

The definition of AD/HD calls for a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity.

The DSM-IV-TR describes inattention as a failure to pay close attention to detail; the patient finds it difficult to stick with a project until completion; the patient has a difficult time fulfilling requests or following instructions and often times fails to complete assigned projects; the patient is easily distracted by outside, unassociated stimuli. Inattention can be manifested in academic, occupational or social situations.

The DSM-IV-TR describes hyperactivity as appearing to be on the ‘go’ all the time; the patient seems to have a hard time sitting still and is often observed fidgeting and squirming around; the patient seems to have a hard time engaging in leisure activities. It is important to note that hyperactivity varies with age and developmental levels, and not all young children are hyperactive.

The DSM-IV-TR describes impulsivity as impatience; the patient frequently interrupts or intrudes upon others; the patient typically makes comments out of turn and fails to listen to instructions. Impulsivity can be manifested in academic, occupational, or social situations.

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