Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADD and AD/HD, are used interchangeably and are really one and the same. According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, approximately 4-6% of the country’s population, both children and adults, are affected with this disorder. In years past, children who appeared to be hyperactive, irritable, or who did not “mind their elders” were considered to be the result of poor parenting, too much TV, too much sugar, and neglect by teachers or caregivers. Research has shown that this is just not so, and that these behaviors are very likely to be caused by biological factors. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder appears to run in families, and if one family member has been diagnosed, then chances are greater that other family members have it too, in greater numbers than the rest of the general population.

According to the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV, some of the most common signs and symptoms of existing attention deficit are inability to stay focused on a task, short attention span, poor attention to detail, failure to listen to when spoken to, failure to follow directions, careless or reckless behavior, restlessness, fidgeting, constantly moving arms and legs, not being able to sit still, or excessive talking. These symptoms are not all present in every case and vary from person to person, and from child to adult. A diagnosis of attention deficit must be made by a medical doctor or psychiatrist, who can prescribe the proper treatment regimen, including medications and counseling.

The most common medications used to treat attention deficit disorder are those called stimulants, such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Dexedrine. This seems strange because we think of stimulants as speeding you up instead of slowing you down, but in children and in some adults, stimulants have the paradoxical, or opposite effect. These medications have proven to be very effective for attention deficit disorder and are routinely prescribed in addition to behavior modification and individual therapy. People diagnosed with attention deficit should seek help from psychiatrists who can help them develop coping skills to improve organizational skills and work more efficiently at home and on the job. Finding a good psychiatrist in New York is not hard. You can simply types something like “psychiatrist near me” and you will get several clinics to choose from.

There are several online resources available to anyone wanting more information on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diagnosis, and treatments in adults and children. There is also quite a bit of controversy surrounding this diagnosis and the medications used to treat it. Stimulants can have side effects, and their use should be discussed with your health care provider, to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.

You should never take any stimulants or medications without your doctor prescription. The doctor will need to access your family history and reaction to common drug before he/she will give any prescription.

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