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What is ADHD/ADD?

Recent research suggests that ADD is a physiological disorder characterized by some structural or chemically-based neurotransmitter problem in the nervous system. It appears to be inherited, although ADD-like behavior can also be acquired through brain injury, exposure to toxins, or high fever.

There are three main types of ADD: ADD with Hyperactivity, ADD without Hyperactivity, and Undifferentiated ADD.

Essentially, an accurate diagnosis (which must be made by a qualified professional) is based on the child -- or adult, in some cases -- meeting the following criteria:

  1. First, children must meet criteria in group 1 and/or 2:

    GROUP 1 CRITERIA:
    Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

    Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes ... Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play ... Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly ... Often does not follow through instructions and fails to finish tasks (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand) ... Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities ... Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork ... Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities ... Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli ... Is often forgetful in daily activities

    GROUP 2 CRITERIA:
    Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

    Hyperactivity: Often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat ... Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected ... Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which remaining seated is expected ... Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly ... Is often "on the go" or acts as if "driven by a motor" ... Often talks excessively
    Impulsivity: Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed ... Often has difficulty awaiting turn ... Often interrupts or intrudes on others.

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