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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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ADHD in brain.jpg

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Many people are diagnosed with ADHD, in fact over 5% of people in America have it. It can be due to heredity or chemical exposure such as lead and the maternal use of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy. There are a few ways to treat ADHD, such as behavior therapy that teaches new skills and helps one cope with their symptoms. Medications such as Adderall are also commonly prescribed to help people diagnosed with ADHD.[1]

What is ADHD

Several symptoms of ADHD

ADHD affects many functions in the brain. Some functions it affects are attention, memory, organization, and social skills. It also leads to impulsivity and hyperactivity. People diagnosed with ADHD will often have trouble with keeping attention on tasks or activities, will often not seem to listen when being talked to, have trouble organizing tasks, and are often distracted and not wanting to do tasks that require mental effort. It can also lead to people not wanting to stay seated, restlessness, excessive talking, and saying answers before a question has been completed. Not everyone diagnosed with ADHD will experience all of these symptoms, because it is a brain disorder everyone will experience it differently. [1]

ADHD is the most common mental disorder. Over 11 million people in the United States have ADHD. It occurs in both women and men, but some researchers say it affects men more often. Many people think that ADHD just affects people in childhood, however two-thirds of people that had ADHD during childhood will still have symptoms during adulthood. [1]


Smoking during pregnancy can cause ADHD.

ADHD affects how information is processed in the brain. Even though the cause for it is unclear, many scientists believe that genetics, chemical exposure, and the maternal use of alcohol or smoking during pregnancy play a role in the development of ADHD. Many studies have found strong evidence that genetics can influence it. The children of parents that have ADHD are more likely to develop it than other kids. Researchers are unsure which genes cause it, but some researchers believe the DRD4 gene plays a role in it because it affects the dopamine receptors in the brain. Researchers believe that chemical exposure can play a role in the development of ADHD. Exposure to lead or organophosphate pesticides have been linked to ADHD. They can disrupt brain development leading to learning disorders such as ADHD. Researchers have found a link between the maternal use of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine can affect the dopamine receptors the same way the DRD4 gene can. Also a study has shown that children that were exposed to those things in the womb are more likely to develop ADHD. [2]


Picture of Adderall

The two main ways to help treat ADHD are behavior therapy and medication. Behavior therapy is first recommended when a child is first diagnosed with ADHD. In behavior therapy the family visits a therapist who shows the parents new skills to help their child. Also the therapist works with the child to help them replace behaviors. Behavior therapy helps strengthen the bond between the parents and the child. It also gives the child new skills to help with their ADHD. Many studies show that behavior therapy is a good treatment option for ADHD. Researchers also recommend taking medication along with behavior therapy. [3]

Medication is recommended for people struggling with ADHD. The most effective medications are stimulants. They help raise the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which are important for attention and focus. Of the stimulant medicines methylphenidate and amphetamine medications are the most popular. The most popular methylphenidate medication is Ritalin. This medicine has been created to work over long periods of time. Adderall on the other hand, is an amphetamine medication and it is only effective for three to four hours. There are non-stimulant medications, but they are not as effective as stimulant medications. [4]

Difference between ADHD and ADD

ADHD and ADD both affect functions in the brain. Both hinder a person’s ability to focus and complete daily tasks. The main difference between ADHD and ADD is that people with ADHD are hyperactive. They are often restless and have trouble staying still. People with ADHD are more likely to notice their symptoms and receive help than people with ADD because others can observe their symptoms easier. Many people use the two names interchangeably, but they are different from each other. [5]


An expert talking about what ADHD is.

Mental Diseases


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Frank, Michelle. ADHD: The Facts ADDA. Web. Accessed on November 6, 2016
  2. Causes of & Risk Factors for ADHD Healthline. Web. Accessed on October 22, 2016.) Unknown Author.
  3. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) CDC. Web. Last updated on October 6, 2016. Unknown Author
  4. Boorady, Roy Understanding ADHD Medications Child Mind Institute. Web. Accessed on October 23, 2016.
  5. Griffon, Rayma. What’s the Difference Between ADD and ADHD? Understood. Web. Accessed on November 6, 2016