About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all children in the United States. A smaller, but still significant percentage of adults also struggle with ADHD symptoms. ADHD interferes with a person’s ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate inhibition (cognitive alone or both cognitive and behavioral).
There are several types of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive subtype
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype
- Combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive subtype
Some of the warning signs of ADHD include consistent failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, consistently leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details.
Confluence of ADHD and Learning Disabilities
Care should be taken by parents and educators to determine the possible combination of ADHD with learning difficulties:
ADHD Treatment Options
The usual course of treatment may include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), or mixed dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall), which are stimulants that decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity, and increase attention. Most experts agree that treatment for ADHD should address multiple aspects of the individual’s functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should include structured classroom management, parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), tutoring and/or behavioral therapy.
Structured Brain Training for ADHD Symptoms
A newer treatment option is the use of structured brain training programs that can increase focus and attention skills. The Karolinska Institute in Sweden pioneered the use of software brain training for ADHD symptoms – several research studies have indicated that specialized brain training for increasing Working Memory capacity (important for learning new information) can succeed in mitigating ADHD symptoms, especially when the patients adhere to a rather rigorous training schedule.