Define Attention Deficit Disorder

In order to define Attention Deficit Disorder, let us go now to ADHD specialists, Dr. C & Elwood.

Dr. C: ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  It is a neurological behavioral disorder which is usually inherited.  We talk about three different kinds: the combined type, the primarily hyperactive/impulsive type, and the primarily inattentive type (formerly known as ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder).  Mostly we focus on the combined type and the inattentive type since we are not certain that the hyperactive impulsive type exists without the inattention.  We used to believe that hyperactivity was the primary feature but now are focusing more on inattention.  In fact, some experts believe that ADHD is an inability to stop thoughts or actions.  If you can’t stop thoughts, it is quite difficult to stay on task.  If you can’t stop actions, you act without thinking.

In the diagnostic manual are lists of symptoms which we use to help us diagnose ADHD.  You need at least 6 inattention symptoms to satisfy that requirement and at least 6 symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity to meet that criteria.  Very young children probably need 7 or even 8 symptoms since younger children normally exhibit some of these behaviors.  Even if you have all of the symptoms, without significant impairment, we are not supposed to diagnose ADHD.  In other words, it is not a disorder if it is not interfering with your ability to function.

There is a lot more that I could say about ADHD.  In fact, that’s why I produced my videos. The only other things that I want to add at this time is that ADHD is the most frequently diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood.  It is also one of the most controversial, since many people believe that we made it up.  The medication used to treat it is also controversial however newer advances have developed in the last few years.  Most notable is the request by Cephalon inc. for Modafinil to be approved for treating ADHD..  People believe that we want to drug all of the children and turn them into zombies.  I often have wondered what reasonable parent would let a doctor over-medicate a child to that degree.

Elwood: I have always wanted to be a zombie for Halloween.  You mean that it’s not a good idea?

Dr. C: Of course you can dress up like a zombie if you want.  What I’m saying is that parents should never let a doctor over-medicate a child.

Elwood: Dr. C, you need to just say what you mean and not be so confusing.  You need to learn to COMMUNICATE better.

Dr. C: Thank you, Elwood.  I appreciate your input.

For more info on ADHD, check out Dr. Sam Caron’s Introduction to ADHD Video Series.

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