Attention Deficit Disorder

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© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Attention Deficit Disorder: Clinical and Basic Research
Terje Sagvolden; Trevor Archer.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989
The Hyperactive Child, Adolescent, and Adult: Attention Deficit Disorder through the Lifespan
Paul H. Wender.
Oxford University Press, 1987 (3rd edition)
Behavioral Subtypes of Attention Deficit Disorder
Dykman, Roscoe A.; Ackerman, Peggy T.
Exceptional Children, Vol. 60, No. 2, October-November 1993
Educational Assessment of Students with Attention Deficit Disorder
McKinney, James D.; Montague, Marjorie; Hocutt, Anne M.
Exceptional Children, Vol. 60, No. 2, October-November 1993
Issues in Educating Students with Disabilities
Edward J. Kameenui; David Chard; John Wills Lloyd.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Attention Deficit Disorders"
Educational Interventions for Students with Attention Deficit Disorder
Fiore, Thomas A.; Becker, Elizabeth A.; Nero, Rebecca C.
Exceptional Children, Vol. 60, No. 2, October-November 1993
Co-Occurrence of Attention-Deficit Disorder and Learning Disability: An Overview of Research
Maynard, Janice; Tyler, J. Larry; Arnold, Mit.
Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 3, September 1999
The Gifted Child with Attention Deficit Disorder: An Identification and Intervention Challenge
Leroux, Janice A.; Levitt-Perlman, Marla.
Roeper Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, April 2000
Heredity and Ability: How Genetics Affects Your Child and What You Can Do about It
Charles M. Strom.
Plenum Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder"
Students in Discord: Adolescents with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
C. Robin Boucher.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Attention-Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity"
Children in Difficulty: A Guide to Understanding and Helping
Julian Elliott; Maurice Place.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity and Similar Difficulties"
The Run on Ritalin: Attention Deficit Disorder and Stimulant Treatment in the 1990s
Diller, Lawrence H.
The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 26, No. 2, March-April 1996
Special Education: A Summary of Legal Requirements, Terms, and Trends
Richard F. Daugherty.
Bergin & Garvey, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Section 504 Issues: Children with Communicable Diseases and Attention Deficit Disorders"
Psychological Perspectives on Deafness
Marc Marschark; M. Diane Clark.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, vol.2, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, and Deafness"
Biofeedback: A Practitioner's Guide
Mark S. Schwartz; Frank Andrasik.
Guilford Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Neurofeedback for the Management of Attention Deficit Disorders"
EEG Markers for Attention Deficit Disorder: Pharmacological and Neurofeedback Applications
Sterman, M. Barry.
Child Study Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, March 2000
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