ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is defined as a disorder in individuals who have difficulty maintaining an attention span because of their limited ability to concentrate and who exhibit impulsive actions. There are two types of Attention Deficit Disorder, the standard Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Attention Deficit Disorder is found in an estimated three to five percent of all school-age children and in both males and females, but it is more common in males.
Attention Deficit Disorder is not just in children, it can also be found in adults. ADD symptoms in adults and children are similar and include difficulty focusing, rapid speech, impulsiveness, excessive irritability, and organizational problems. Dr. David Goodman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, notes an important aspect of ADHD in adults so it is not confused with behaviors exhibited by lots of people: "the symptoms must have started in childhood and persisted into adulthood," he says. Long term studies by the National Institute of Health have discovered that up to two thirds of children who have ADD will suffer from the disorder as adults.
No one is sure what causes the disorder, but it is believed to have a genetic component since it runs in families. According to the National Attention Deficit Disorder Association, studies show that if one person in a family is diagnosed with ADD, there is a strong probability that another family member could also have ADD. A deficit of two neurochemicals in the brain's frontal lobes has been found in brain scans of individuals with ADD. The fontal lobes are known as the center of learning. The neurochemicals are dopamine, which improves attention, and norepinephrine, which enhances decision making processes.
Many people with symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder may be unable to sit still, plan ahead, finish tasks, or be fully aware of what's going on around them.