Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) refers to a family of related cognitive disorders that interfere with a person's capacity to have normal activity levels (hyperactivity), hold back on impulsive behaviour (impulsivity), and focus on tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways. ADHD is a neurobiology disorder, meaning the problem affects brain function (thinking, learning and memory) and behaviour.
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can have difficulties at home, at school, and in relationships with friends and other children their age. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on school performance, career or job success, and social-emotional development. Because children with ADHD are not able to sit still and pay attention in school, they may have disciplinary problems, and they can be viewed as troublemakers by teachers and other students. They experience peer rejection and show a broad range of disruptive behaviours. Their academic and social problems can have far-reaching and long-term effects. These children have higher injury rates. As they grow older, children with untreated ADHD, in combination with conduct disorders, are at risk for abuse, antisocial behaviour, and injuries of all sorts. Up to 70% of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adulthood.
What is the relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other disorders, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or depression?
Most children treated for ADHD have other conditions. ADHD can co-occur with learning disabilities (15-25%), language disorders (30-35%), conduct disorder (15-20%), oppositional defiant disorder (up to 40%), mood disorders (15-20%), and anxiety disorders (20-25%). Up to 60% of children with tic disorders also have ADHD. Problems with memory, cognitive processing, sequencing, motor skills, social skills, control of emotional response, and response to discipline are common. Sleep disorders are also more common.
[The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder information above is based on source material from the National Institute on Mental Health entitled "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Questions and Answers," published in March 2000.]
To elaborate on the previous answer, since ADHD and ADD have a significant biochemcial component, it is not surprising that those with ADHD find it varies in intensity over time, from day to day, and even during different times of day. The environment also plays a role in how easy it is to concentrate and refrain from fidgeting. Many, if not most people with ADHD and ADD learn to cope with it with the various aspects of the disorder, by compensation or practice. However, some of the ADHD deficits are not cope-able, meaning one needs to learn to live and work them. It will not actually go away, but it can become less of a problem as one learns to compensate for it. The most effective ways to deal with it usually include a combination of medication (for the biochemical part), behavior modification, and coping strategies.
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