Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) &
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) define chronic neurological impairments within the brain functions of attention and executive control. Symptoms begin in childhood and continue throughout adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by inattentive or impulsive and hyperactive behavior, persisting for at least six months and present in two environments such as home, work or school. There are many psychological and cognitive disorders that can mimic symptoms of ADHD, including anxiety, depression, learning disorders and other cognitive disorders.

The problems and challenges associated with ADHD change with age. In childhood, inattentive children are often less disruptive, making early diagnosis easy to miss. Hyperactive children have different problems, often including problems in early social skills development.

As children with ADD or ADHD mature, the consequences of the condition change. During adolescence, problems in attention span or impulse control can contribute to difficulties in adjusting to increased social and academic demands in middle and high school. Pressure increases often triggering problems with self-esteem and mood. Proper assessment and diagnosis during the developmental years are strongly beneficial to long-term emotional and intellectual development.

Attention problems continue to have significant impact on the work and lives of adults. Individuals who went undiagnosed in school have a new opportunity for assessment and treatment as they reach college or enter the work force. Recent improvements in cultural understanding and legal support of those with ADD/ADHD allow individuals to pursue vocational and educational goals in ways that were not possible in past decades.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have ADD or ADHD, it is recommended that a neuropsychological evaluation is done PRIOR to pharmaceutical treatment. Following evaluation and testing, feedback sessions provide a more thorough understanding of the person’s behavioral, interpersonal, and cognitive strengths and weakness. Helpful recommendations will be made for treatment. These can include formal requests for school or work accommodations, counseling for cognitive skills development, and/or informed referrals to prescribing professionals. Often with an accurate diagnosis, the proper treatment can be implemented and the desired academic, behavioral and interpersonal goals achieved.

Excellent resources for those affected by ADD/ADHD:

C.H.A.D.D - Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders - http://www.chadd.org

A.D.D.A. - Attention Deficit Disorder Association - http://www.add.org

WebMD – ADD/ADHD - http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/default.htm

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