Summary: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, is a behavioral disorder, seen in childhood, wherein the child is inattentive, impulsive, hyperactive, and has an inability to concentrate. The child may show intrusiveness into others' conversations. He/she cannot remain seated for long at a place.
Last updated
10th March, 2015
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ADHD is defined in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as a behavioral disorder of childhood onset (by the age of 7 years) characterized by symptoms of inattentiveness and impulsivity / hyperactivity. According to DSM-IV, an inability to concentrate, intrusiveness into others' conversations, and an inability to stay seated.

DSM-IV recognizes the following subtypes of ADHD:
  1. Predominantly inattentive subtype
  2. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive subtype
  3. Combined type in which both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms are present
  4. Not otherwise specified (NOS) for individuals presenting with atypical features.

Probable causes of ADHD

  1. Genetic fault, possibly involving several genes, including the dopamine D2 and D4 (DRD4-7) receptors as well as the dopamine transporter (DAT-1). 
  2. Disordered regulation of brain's message transmission mechanisms based on chemicals of the family called catecholamine
  3. Abnormalities in the frontal cortex (front part of brain) and in projecting sub cortical structures (areas beneath the superficial layers of that part of the brain).
  4. There may be some relationship between brain function and some particular brain disorders like:
    a)    viral infections
    b)    metabolic (body chemistry) disturbances
    c)    epilepsy

ADHD is distinct from Mental Retardation or Mental Disorders. Children with severe ADHD may show extreme self-injurious, repetitive, highly unusual and aggressive behavior. It may be associated with autistic behavior.

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