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Adult Attention Deficit Syndrome


Adult attention deficit syndrome, better known as Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) is a form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  The only discrepancy between adult attention deficit disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is that adhd is found primarily in children, while aadd or ‘adult adhd’ is the same disorder, only in adults and as such follows the same diagnostic criteria.  It should be noted that all adhd is long term adhd in that it is a life-long disorder.  However, the severity of ADHD in adults does vary based on the individual.  At this time it is not at this time understood why on occasion some patients will cease exhibiting symptoms of ADHD upon entering adulthood, while other patients only begin to exhibit symptoms.  Given the similarities between AADD (also known as Adult Attention Deficit Syndrome) and the more commonly known ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), this article will focus on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as they are the same disorder, but the latter name is more widely recognized.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been in recent years dealt with many times in the media, particularly with regard to it being diagnosed in children.  In general, the controversy surrounding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is that some feel it has been too often diagnosed in children.  It is a now commonplace argument that pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin are being overprescribed to children who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  The main reason behind such arguments is that children who are unruly in the classroom or who potentially may have some form of learning disability are being misdiagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a means of controlling their behavior in the classroom when, in fact, these problems may be better solved through some form of counseled or parental intervention rather than what some consider to be a too automatic turn towards a pharmaceutical solution for what may be normal behavioral difficulties in children.  Although this debate is currently ongoing, it will be worth noting the potential changes that may occur in the coming years as a result of continuing research into claims surrounding the potential over or misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.


Symptoms and Prevalence of ADHD


There is no direct test for ADHD, but the ADHD symptoms are generally the inability of the child to remain concentrating on a task, they are unable to remain still, often act before thinking of the consequences of their actions and have difficulty completing projects and tasks.  It is thought that if ADHD is not treated in children who exhibit symptoms that it could, in the long run, deleteriously affect the capacity of a child to social or succeed at school or, later in life, in his or her chosen occupation.  Moreover, these social consequences can negatively impact a child’s sense of self worth leading to depression and potentially other social and emotional difficulties.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health ADHD affects approximately 4.1 percent of youths ages nine to seventeen in a six month period, is two to three times more prevalent in boys than girls.  In addition, children whose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder goes untreated have higher rates of injury.  The symptoms of ADHD are most often evident in the early years of school or even preschool and can occur simultaneously with other potential problems including depression, anxiety and related disorders, behavioral problems, an increased risk of drug abuse and behavior that is generally viewed as being antisocial.



As with many disorders and particularly mental ones, the only way for a patient to get appropriate and effective treatment is if the disorder itself is correctly and quickly identified by a trained and licensed practitioner.  If the correct diagnostic criteria as understood by a healthcare professional is properly followed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should be able to be correctly diagnosed with appropriate observational information as proffered by both parents of the child and the child’s teachers at school.  However, as previously noted, there has been a tendency to misdiagnose or overdiagnose the disorder, but this, it should be stressed, should not occur and is in some cases the result of a diagnosis being made without the proper information or a complete informational profile being established prior to the diagnosis.  In all cases, should one have questions regarding the diagnosis of ADHD it is important to consult with a health care practitioner or a family physician to ensure that a thorough examination is conducted as only a correct diagnosis will be to the betterment of a child suffering from ADHD.

There are a number of ADHD articles looking at the different ADHD medications.  Despite the relatively large amount of data that illustrate the safety of the medications used to treat ADHD, as the National Institute of Mental Health notes, there still remain broad-based misconceptions regarding the general safety of the medications used, resulting in a hesitancy in some health care professionals to prescribe them.  These medications are generally stimulations that coupled with behavioral therapy can adequately control the impulsive and attention deficit symptoms in children.  The most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are methylphenidate (or Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (or Dexedrine) and amphetamine (or Adderall).

Recent Research

The following findings as listed by the National Institute of Mental Health have greatly increased our understanding of this complex problem and have helped in the ongoing improvements in the treatment of ADHD.  For example, brain imaging research using MRI has illustrated a discrepancy between the brains of children who do and do not have ADHD.  In addition it is now thought that there are genetic factors that may cause ADHD to run in families as there are a number of factors including the prevalence of ADHD in both identical twins if at all that have suggested this link.  In 1999 the NIMH also released the results of a study that suggested that not only were stimulants such as Ritalin safe for use, but that in some cases it was reported that stimulants when combined with some form of behavioral therapy had an even greater chance of successfully treating ADHD in those children who were appropriately diagnosed.