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Attention Deficit Disorder (Add)

Overview

A condition characterized by an attention span that is less than expected for the age of the person; there is often also age-inappropriate hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. People with attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.) are easily distracted, have difficulty paying attention, and may be unable to focusmore than a few moments on mental tasks. They may be physically active and behave impulsively.There are 3 sub-categories of attention deficit disorder:- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: combined type- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: predominantly inattentive- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: predominantly hyperactive or impulsive


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Causes

The cause of attention deficit disorder is unknown. Some contributing factors include prenatal toxic exposure and prematurity .There frequently is a family history of school problems, behavioral disorders, or other psycho-social problems. There issometimes a history of injuries to the central nervous system. However, there is no scientific evidence that shows conclusivelythat ANY of these factors directly cause attention deficit disorder.The apparent incidence of A.D.D. has been increasing over the last 15 years, possibly related to better diagnosis, changing expectations, or problems with supportive social structures. The disorder affects 3 to 10% of all school-age boys and is 3 to 10times more common in males than females.Typically affected children, whether intellectually handicapped or not, perform poorly in school because of the inability to attend to tasks at hand or to sit still during the school day. The diagnosis is generally not considered until school age.


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Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms typically begin by 3 years of age.Attention deficit:- does not pay close attention to details; may make careless mistakes at work, school, or other activities- failure to complete tasks- has difficulty maintaining attention in tasks or play activities- does not listen when spoken to directly- has difficulty organizing tasks- is easily distracted- unable to follow more than one instruction at a timeHyperactivity :- fidgeting, squirming in seat, or moving constantly- wandering, may leave the seat in the classroom when expected to stay- has trouble participating in "quiet" activities such as reading- runs and climbs in inappropriate situations- talks excessivelyImpulsivity:- may blurt out answers before questions have been completed- has difficulty awaiting turn- interrupts others

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Prevention

There is as such no way that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be prevented, but avoiding drugs, alcohol and smoking during the pregnancy helps reduce the risk for the child. Also if the symptoms are detected early the severity of symptoms can be reduced. This helps in reducing learning and attention problems. These can be achieved by:

  • Having healthy habits and having proper medical care during pregnancy.
  • Giving good parenting and consistent behavior limits to your child.
  • Optimizing to the maximum the pre school learning by reading to your child and providing new learning experiences by giving puzzles etc. developing attention techniques is more beneficial than letting the child watch TV.

Attention deficit disorder is a complex issue, and many preventive measures have been proposed. None have been proven at this time.


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Treatments
Medication and Psychological Intervention Psychotherapy

The treatment depends from one individual to another and on the severity of the symptoms.

Continuous and regular communication between the parent- child, teachers-child and doctor-patient has proven to be beneficial for children with the disorder.

Further there is medication available which acts as stimulants and further helps in reducing the severity of the disorder. Medications like amphetamine for example, Dexedrine, Adderall or methylphenidate for example, Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate CD, Focalin or nonstimulant atomoxetine Strattera are available.

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