Topic: PsychologyBehavior

Last updated: February 12, 2019

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychological and developmental disorder that is diagnosed through observable behaviors during childhood. This disorder interferes with one’s daily functioning as their ability to focus and sustain attention for longer periods are compromised; issues with impulse control and hyper activity can also be observed. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), 1997 is the first year that a national survey inquired parents about ADHD. Since then, there has been an upward trend of diagnosing children with the disorder (Centers for Disease Control Prevention, n.d.

). As of 2016, 9.4% of the those who were between 2 to 17 years of age or 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Only 62% of the diagnosed population are taking medications (Centers for Disease Control Prevention, n.d.).

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As children transition to becoming teenagers and young adults, adherence to taking their medications become less likely, even when symptoms persist (Johansen, Matic, McAlearney, 2015). This becomes an issue as they attend college, where their grade point averages (GPA) and levels of self-efficacy become affected (Gray et al., 2017).

SymptomsThree key features define ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Inattention can be characterized as having difficulties in sustaining focus for longer periods of time, being easily distracted, forgetfulness, difficulty in following instructions, disorganization, and reluctance in engaging in activities that require substantial amount of mental effort (Caci et. al, 2014). On the other hand, hyperactivity may present through excessive motor activity, excessive talking, and behaviors that are deemed disruptive. Lastly, impulsivity include tendencies to behave impatiently, recklessly, and uninhibitedly. Manifestations of these symptoms vary from patient to patient; some have to be observable before the child is 7 or 12, in order to be diagnosed (Faraone, Biederman, Weber, ; Russel, 1998). .DiagnosisFormally diagnosing a child includes the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition (DSM-5).

The DSM-5 requires that at least 6 of 9 symptoms in either or both categories (i.e. inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive) should consistently manifest in the child’s behavior for 6 months or more in order to be diagnosed with ADHD (Epstein & Loren, 2013).

Depending on the observable symptoms, one can be receiving a diagnosis of predominantly inattentive (also known as attention deficit disorder or ADD), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or combined inattentive-hyperactive-impulsive (Epstein & Loren, 2013). In addition, the severity of the disorder is also included in the diagnosis; mild pertains to minor functional impairments caused by the symptoms, moderate, and severe or symptoms causing a substantial amount of impairment in one’s social or occupational functioning (Epstein ; Loren, 2013). Lastly, if they previously met the criteria for being diagnosed with the disorder but no longer, and impairments in their social and academic functioning are still experienced, one can be coded as “in partial remission” (Epstein ; Loren, 2013)..One study found that among 413 children and teenagers who were suspected to have ADHD, 185 of them (61%) were diagnosed with having the combined type, 89 (30%) had the inattentive subtype, and 27 (9%) had the hyperactive-impulsive type (Faraone, Biederman, Weber, ; Russel, 1998). .

TreatmentsMedsTherapyTechniquesSeparating ADHD from ADDDefining school performanceGPASelf-efficacyADHD and School performance Self-report using a questionnaireThe present investigation


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