Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder. It’s often identifiable by poor attention, distractibility, and impulsive behaviors of an individual. The use of stimulants to aid in this disorder date back to the late 1930s. ADD/ADHD is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children.
ADHD affects 3% to 5% of children around the world. It’s a chronic disorder with 30% to 50% of those diagnosed in childhood continuing symptoms into adulthood. An estimated 4.7% of American adults live with ADHD and tend to develop coping mechanisms to counteract for some or all of their impairments.
Diagnosed two to four times more frequently in boys than girls, the diagnosis of ADHD has been controversial since the 1970s. However, in 1998, the American Mental Association concluded that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD are based on extensive research. And, when applied correctly, can lead to the diagnosis of the disorder with high reliability.
ADHD has three subtypes:
1) Predominately hyperactive-impulsive
2) Predominately inattentive
3) Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
Finally, although most people exhibit some of the above-listed behaviors, they are generally not to the degree where it significantly interferes with their work, relationships, or school. Cases where they exhibit behavior listed above, combined with meeting other behavioral and diagnostic criteria, can lead to diagnosing the disorder.
In conclusion, the exact cause of ADHD is still up for determination. But, it is a condition that many believe to have genetic and biological components. This is because it tends to run in families. So, if ADHD runs in your family, this may be a symptom that you may be living with ADHD too.
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.