Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, a chronic, neurologically based syndrome characterized by any or all of three types of behavior: hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Hyperactivity refers to feelings of restlessness, fidgeting, or inappropriate activity (running, wandering) when one is expected to be quiet; distractibility to heightened distraction by irrelevant sights and sounds or carelessness and inability to carry simple tasks to completion; and impulsivity to socially inappropriate speech (e.g., blurting out something without thinking) or striking out. Unlike similar behaviors caused by emotional problems or anxiety, ADHD does not fluctuate with emotional states; sleep deprivation may also cause symptoms in children that resemble those of ADHD. While the three typical behaviors occur in nearly everyone from time to time, in those with ADHD they are excessive, long-term, and pervasive and create difficulties in school, at home, or at work. ADHD is usually diagnosed before age seven. It is often accompanied by a learning disability.

The cause of ADHD is unknown, although there appears to be a genetic component in some cases. Intake of sugars is no longer considered to be a factor. Some studies suggest that although food additives, such as colorings, do not cause symptoms in the general population, they may aggravate hyperactivity in some susceptible individuals. It has been shown that people with ADHD have less activity in areas of the brain that control attention. Treatment usually includes behavioral therapy and emotional counseling combined with medications such as methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) that correct neurochemical imbalances in the brain; over the long term, however, such medications do not appear to offer any benefits. Symptoms may decrease after adolescence, although they often persist into adulthood.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The ADHD Epidemic in America
Stolzer, J. M.
Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 9, No. 2, January 1, 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Making Sense of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Carol R. Lensch.
Bergin & Garvey, 2000
ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adults
Paul H. Wender.
Oxford University Press, 2000
The Risk Society and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Critical Social Research Analysis concerning the Development and Social Impact of the ADHD Diagnosis
Kean, Brian.
Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Why Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Is Not a True Medical Syndrome
Lindstrøm, Jon A.
Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 14, No. 1, April 1, 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Younger Children in the Classroom Likely Overdiagnosed with ADHD
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Science and Children, Vol. 49, No. 8, April-May 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Self-Management and ADHD: A Literature Review
Haraway, Dana L.; Barry, Leasha M.
The Behavior Analyst Today, Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Assessment of Attention-Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder: An Evaluation of Six Published Rating Scales
Angello, Lisa Marie; Volpe, Robert J.; DiPerna, James C.; Gureasko-Moore, Sammi P.; Gureasko-Moore, David P.; Nebrig, Michelle R.; Ota, Kenji.
School Psychology Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, Spring 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Rethinking ADHD: Integrated Approaches to Helping Children at Home and at School
Ruth Schmidt Neven; Tim Godber; Vicki Anderson.
Allen & Unwin, 2002
Thinking Positively: How Some Characteristics of ADHD Can Be Adaptive and Accepted in the Classroom
Sherman, Jody; Rasmussen, Carmen; Baydala, Lola.
Childhood Education, Vol. 82, No. 4, Summer 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Children and Behavioural Problems: Anxiety, Aggression, Depression and ADHD -- A Biopsychological Model with Guidelines for Diagnostics and Treatment
Martine F. Delfos.
Jessica Kingsley, 2004
Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Public Health Implications
Newlove-Delgado, Tamsin; Stein, Ken.
Perspectives in Public Health, Vol. 132, No. 5, September 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Understanding Girls with Attention-Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Applying Research to Clinical Practice
Soffer, Stephen L.; Mautone, Jennifer A.; Power, Thomas J.
The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2008
Understanding Sensory Dysfunction: Learning, Development and Sensory Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Bipolar Disorder
Polly Godwin Emmons; Liz Mckendry Anderson.
Jessica Kingsley, 2005
Preschool ADHD and Medication ... More Study Needed?!
Posey, W. Mark; Bassin, Sarah A.; Lewis, Ashley.
Journal of Early Childhood and Infant Psychology, Vol. 5, Annual 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Doctor's Orders: A New Prescription for ADHD Medication Abuse
Rigney, Erinn L.
Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 88, No. 2, December 2012
Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook
Paul Bennett.
Open University Press, 2006 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)" begins on p. 357
Psychologists' Desk Reference
Gerald P. Koocher; John C. Norcross; Sam S. Hill III.
Oxford University Press, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder through the Life Span"
Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis in Social Work Practice
Jacqueline Corcoran; Joseph Walsh.
Oxford University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder"
The Social Brain: Evolution and Pathology
Martin Brüne; Hedda Ribbert; Wulf Schiefenhövel.
Wiley, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Do Children with ADHD Not Need Their Frontal Lobes for Theory of Mind? A Review of Brain Imaging and Neuropsychological Studies"
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