Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterised by the inability to focus on tasks, sit still, or remember things. While the specific causes of the disorder are not yet properly understood, the symptoms of ADD/ADHD are well documented, and drug therapies have shown positive results, though many children diagnosed continue to experience problems into adulthood.
There are many factors which are believed to cause or exacerbate symptoms related to ADD/ADHD, and they include genetics, diet, and environment.
Several studies have shown a correlation between certain genetic traits and the prevalence of ADD/ADHD such that researchers believe that approximately three quarters of all cases are due to genetic factors. However, the disorder is better understood as a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors.
Some studies have shown that eating artificial food colours and certain chemical preservatives may be connected to increased risk of developing ADD/ADHD. However, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States has not yet found a link between food additives and ADHD in kids.
Some studies have indicated that exposure to substances such as lead, alcohol or tobacco smoke early in life may contribute to acquiring an attention deficit.
Signs and symptoms
What is ADHD?
Hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention to anything, and difficulty controlling impulses are the core behaviours exhibited by people with ADHD. Many other signs and symptoms assist medical professionals in diagnosing the disorder.
There are three subtypes of ADHD, and they include:
1. Predominantly Inattentive - Symptoms may include easy distraction, forgetfulness, and difficulty maintaining focus.
2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive - Symptoms include fidgeting and squirming, as well as difficulty sitting or sticking with an activity.
3. Combined Type - An individual can exhibit any or all of the symptoms defining the two subtypes, resulting in a third, hybrid type of ADHD.
Treatment for ADD/ADHD usually involves some combination of therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication. Studies have shown that the best results are experienced by individuals who receive a combination of medication and behaviour modification therapy.
Children with ADHD usually experience difficulties in adolescence and adulthood whether they are treated or not. The tendency toward distraction leads to increased auto accidents, higher high school drop out rates, and increased rates of early sexual activity and teen pregnancy. ADHD persists into adulthood in about half of all diagnosed cases.