Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders of childhood. It affects 3 to 5 percent of all children, however, in many cases, problems continue through adolescence and adulthood. It has been reported that males outnumber females four to one in diagnosis. Also, there are more cases of ADHD in the United States than anywhere else. This may be due to the labeling of behavioral patterns that in other countires would be considered normal child development. The core symptoms of ADHD are developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. .
How is ADHD Diagnosed?.
ADHD is considered a mental health disorder, so only a licensed professional can make the diagnosis that a child, teen, or adult has ADHD. These professionals use the DSM IV. Over the past 10 years, public awareness about ADHD has led to more children and adults being diagnosed with the disorder. Some people believe that the condition is being over-diagnosed. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, the individual must meet the specific diagnostic criteria set forth in the DSM IV. The criteria are set around the most prevalent symptoms of the disability: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. .
Inattention. Attention is a process. When we pay attention: we initiate, direct our attention to where it is needed at the moment; we sustain, pay attention for as long as needed; we inhibit, avoid focusing on something that distracts our attention from where it needs to be; and finally we shift, move our attention to other things as needed. Children with ADHD have no problems with paying attention; their problems have to do with what they are paying attention to, for how long, and under what circumstances. With ADHD, three common areas of inattention arise. They are: sustaining attention long enough, especially to boring, tedious, or repetitious tasks; ignoring distractions, especially to things that are more .