Medications

Ritalin at 75: What does the future hold?

Seventy-five years ago, a new stimulant drug with the generic name of methylphenidate was born in the Swiss lab of chemical company Ciba. Like many drugs, its therapeutic purpose was unclear. But these were the days a scientist ...

Autism spectrum disorders

There's no evidence caesarean sections cause autism or ADHD

A new study that combines data from over 20 million births has found that a cesarean section delivery is associated with autism spectrum disorder (autism) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Attention deficit disorders

ADHD medication: How much is too much for a hyperactive child?

When children with ADHD don't respond well to Methylphenidate (MPH, also known as Ritalin) doctors often increase the dose. Now a new review shows that increasing the dose may not always be the best option, as it may have ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Stable home lives improve prospects for preemies

As they grow and develop, children who were born at least 10 weeks before their due dates are at risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders. They also have a higher ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Study links low language ability and poor mental health

One of the first studies of its kind focusing on South African children's language ability and mental health outcomes, has found clear evidence for a link between low language ability and depression in young people.

Attention deficit disorders

ADHD medication may affect brain development in children

A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect the development of the brain's signal-carrying white matter in children with the disorder, according to a study published in the journal ...

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder. It is characterized primarily by "the co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity, with each behavior occurring infrequently alone" and symptoms starting before seven years of age.

ADHD is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, affecting about 3 to 5 percent of children globally and diagnosed in about 2 to 16 percent of school aged children. It is a chronic disorder with 30 to 50 percent of those individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to have symptoms into adulthood. Adolescents and adults with ADHD tend to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments. It is estimated that 4.7 percent of American adults live with ADHD. Standardized rating scales such as the World Health Organization's Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale can be used for ADHD screening and assessment of the disorder's symptoms' severity.

ADHD is diagnosed two to four times more frequently in boys than in girls, though studies suggest this discrepancy may be partially due to subjective bias of referring teachers. ADHD management usually involves some combination of medications, behavior modifications, lifestyle changes, and counseling. Its symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from other disorders, increasing the likelihood that the diagnosis of ADHD will be missed. In addition, most clinicians have not received formal training in the assessment and treatment of ADHD, in particular in adult patients.

ADHD and its diagnosis and treatment have been considered controversial since the 1970s. The controversies have involved clinicians, teachers, policymakers, parents and the media. Topics include ADHD's causes, and the use of stimulant medications in its treatment. Most healthcare providers accept that ADHD is a genuine disorder with debate in the scientific community centering mainly around how it is diagnosed and treated. The American Medical Association concluded in 1998 that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD are based on extensive research and, if applied appropriately, lead to the diagnosis with high reliability.

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