If you look up the definition of ADHD on the Internet you will be amazed at how many sites there are that will offer an answer to this question. The textbook response is that it is a mental disorder that affects the parts of the brain that deal with concentration or attention span, hyperactivity and impulsivity, the ability to make plans and organize, as well as other areas that are affected by the disorder.
What causes ADHD?
So far science has only been able to determine that there is a genetic link. Invariably a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD will have a family member who also has the disorder. Interestingly there are a number of parents who discover that they themselves are ADHD only when they have a child who is diagnosed with the disorder. This clearly indicates that it is hereditary in nature.
There is also evidence to suggest that ADHD might be caused through the unborn child being exposed to cigarette smoke, alcohol, and drugs, while an exposure to lead in the early life of the child is also suspected of having an influence on the development of the disorder.
What does not cause ADHD?
When it comes to the definition of ADHD we know more about what does not cause ADHD than about what does cause it. For instance although it was believed that certain foods were responsible for causing the disorder it has since been determined that this is not the case. There is no link to suggest that additives and preservatives, for instance, cause ADHD in children anymore than watching too much television does or playing too many TV and computer games do. While these things can exacerbate the symptoms it does not mean that they cause the symptoms.
Is ADHD a legitimate disorder?
The answer to this question is yes, it is a very real disorder. There are many people out there who think that this is a fake disorder concocted by unscrupulous doctors and pharmaceutical companies that are entirely interested in making profits and that it does not really exist as all. If you take a look at some posts left by people on ADHD forums online you will see that there are those who think that ADHD does not exist and that poor parenting and lack of discipline are to blame for the apparently ADHD behavior. This is all ignorance unfortunately. ADHD is not a fake disorder and nor is it a new epidemic affecting modern children. In fact it has been known about since the early 1900s and has been extensively researched by scientists and doctors with thousands of papers having been written on the subject and which provide the definition of ADHD.
What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?
ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder while ADHD stands for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The two terms are usually used interchangeably since they are basically the same thing. The only real difference is that in the latter instance there is the additional aspect of hyperactivity. ADD and ADHD are divided into three sub-categories:
1. Inattentive type
2. Hyperactive/Impulsive type
3. Combination inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive type
Most people tend to fall in the third category and treatment is geared toward improving concentration and reducing the tendency for hyperactivity and impulsivity.
How do you know if your child has ADD or ADHD?
If they display the symptoms of the disorder they will need to be properly evaluated by an expert who is qualified to render a diagnosis. There is no such thing as a single test to determine whether someone has ADD/ADHD and the process is a somewhat long and drawn out one. Certain medical conditions or events in the child’s life can produce symptoms indicative of the disorder and those need to be ruled out before a diagnosis is made. If the child is diagnosed treatment will commence and this is usually a combination approach involving ADHD medication and therapy although there are alternative treatments that have become more popular over the last few years. vyvanse prescription online