ADD/ADHD

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is usually considered to be a neurobehavioral developmental disorder. It affects about 3-5% of school aged children with symptoms starting before seven years of age. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention, with or without a component of hyperactivity. ADHD occurs twice as commonly in boys as in girls. ADHD is generally a chronic disorder with 10 to 40% of individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to meet diagnostic criteria in adulthood. As they mature, adolescents and adults with ADHD are likely to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for their impairment.

Though previously regarded as a childhood diagnosis ADHD can continue throughout adulthood. ADHD has a strong genetic component. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, life style changes, and counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that stimulant medications and/or behavior therapy are appropriate and generally safe treatments for ADHD. However, the safety of stimulants for periods of usage longer than three years has not yet been determined, no studies have yet been done to demonstrate long-term efficacy of medication or behavioral interventions, and drug treatment of pre-school children is not recommended. ADHD and its treatment has been considered controversial since the 1970s. The controversies have involved clinicians, teachers, policymakers, parents, and the media with opinions regarding ADHD that range from those who do not believe it exists at all to those who believe that there is genetic and physiological basis for the condition, and also include disagreement about use of stimulant medications in treatment.

WebMD
About.com
NICHCY Briefing Paper
Attention Deficit Disorder Association