ADHD: “To Be or not to Be”

Angela Ine Frank-Briggs, from the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, at the University of Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, defines Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHA, as a neurobehavioral developmental disorder, primarily characterized by the co-existence of attention problems and hyperactivity which effects about 3 to 5% of children worldwide, with symptoms starting before 7 years of age and in about 50% of cases continuing into adult hood. According to Briggs, in her article, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA), and to the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, considers the following to be present before a child is to have ADHA: behaviors must continue for at least 6 months, and the symptoms must create a real handicap in a least two of the following areas of the child’s life: the classroom, on the playground, at home, in the community, or in social settings. Over the years, the terminology used to describe symptoms of ADHA has went thought many changes such as; “minimal brain damage”, “minimal brain dysfunction”, and learning/behavioral disabilities” just to name a few, according to the article. ADHA can be classified as a behavior disorder, a disruptive behavior disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or a conduct, and antisocial disorder, suggests Briggs, ADHA has three subtypes. One is called a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, symptoms include; hyperactive and impulsiveness. The second sub type is Inattentive type, in which, according to the article, the children are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting alone with other children, they may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. The last subtype is a combination of the two, inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, called the Combined type.  To be diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, symptoms must be observe in two different settings for six months or more, and to a degree greater than other children of the same age, according to Angela Briggs. The article states that a specific cause is not known, and even though some genes, like 7-repeat allele of DRD4 gene, play a role in ADHA, to date, no single gene has been shown to make a major contribution of ADHD.

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