Definition of ADHD

The definition of ADHD, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder published in 1994, is "a behavioral condition defined by a series of chronic and disruptive behavior patterns that usually exhibit adhd hyperactivity, inattentiveness or a combination of the two." The condition is characterized by a person's inability to channel their frustrations or control these behaviors, among other symptoms. It often develops in children around the age of seven, and may or may not improve, but actually get worse as the child moves into adulthood.

A proper diagnosis requires that these symptoms be worse than the normal population for at least six months, and be observed in 2 or more different settings.

It's estimated that there are about 2 million or more children in America affected with ADHD. Other statistical data suggests that:

  • About 3 to 7 percent of school children are diagnosed with ADHD.

  • Of this group, 9.5 percent are boys, while 5.9 percent are girls with ADHD.

Findings also show that 40 percent of these children with ADHD have one or both parents affected with the condition, while about 4 percent of the adult population in the United States suffer from this disorder.

The Definition of ADHD Subtypes

ADHD is better understood when defined by patterns of behavior associated with it. Signs of ADHD are usually severe and hard to ignore and the children affected may show different types of these patterns.

Hyperactive ADHD type is closely associated and defined by behavior that includes:

  • Excessive talking
  • Constantly moving or fidgeting
  • Inappropriate physical activity, like climbing or jumping where the child is not supposed to be doing this
  • Inability to remain still or quiet
  • Impulsiveness

Hyperactive children with ADHD tend to interrupt conversations or behave recklessly. They are also inattentive, easily distracted and impatient. These children often make careless decisions or actions and will have great difficulty organizing or staying focused. Losing their belongings or destroying a thing they are handling is a common occurrence.

Inattentive ADHD type is defined by behavior patterns showing:

  • A difficulty to follow instructions
  • Missing or forgetting details
  • Having trouble performing tasks
  • Forgetfulness

Inattentive types may be labeled as daydreamers or absent-minded individuals. ADD is an abbreviation that specifically identifies attention deficit disorder.

Studies show that hyperactive types are common with boys while inattentive types are prevalent with girls. Then there is also the type that exhibits a combination of these two patterns.

What ADHD Isn't Defined As

Some people often confuse ADHD with learning disability. While the condition can greatly affect a child's performance in school, it also impacts other aspects of their life such as their social life or relationships with others. Adults who suffer from ADHD may have difficulties keeping track of their finances, holding a job or having a peaceful home.

The symptoms usually start to manifest around six or seven years of age and become more prevalent as the child grows older or if the condition isn't properly treated. Its appearance has nothing to do with whether or not the child looks ill; in fact, most children are physically healthy.

When the behavior effects two or more of the child's settings namely home, school or social life, a consultation with a professional is strongly advised. Since symptoms are different per child and behavior patterns manifested vary with every action, an ADHD diagnosis by a qualified medical expert must be done in order to assess the condition. The definition of ADHD and its diagnosis can be determined after a history and physical, and and the use of ADHD screeners are performed and analyzed.


› Definition of ADHD

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