ADHD and ADD: Information, Statistics, Research
Updated/Revised Date: 2022-08-12
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: ADHD and ADD Publications
Synopsis: Facts and information relating to ADHD and ADD, including symptoms and treatment methods available for children and adults. During their lifetimes, 12.9 percent of men will be diagnosed with an attention disorder. Just 4.9 percent of women will be diagnosed. Investigators note that rates of ADHD persistence into adulthood have varied dramatically in earlier studies, depending on how information is collected and analyzed. Treatment methods usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, lifestyle changes, and counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that stimulant medications and behavior therapy are appropriate and generally safe treatments for ADHD.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by excessive inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are pervasive, impairing in multiple contexts, and otherwise age-inappropriate. ADHD is associated with other neurodevelopmental and mental disorders and some non-psychiatric disorders, which can cause additional impairment, especially in modern society. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems. Treatment for adult ADHD is similar to treatment for childhood ADHD. Adult ADHD treatment includes medications, psychological counseling (psychotherapy), and therapy for any mental health conditions that occur along with ADHD.
There are two types of attention deficit disorder (ADD and ADHD), H-standing for Hyperactivity. ADD - is Attention Deficit Disorder Inattentive Type without hyperactivity.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - Similar to hyperkinetic disorder in the ICD-10) is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder in which there are significant problems with executive functions (e.g., attentional control and inhibitory control) that cause attention deficits, hyperactivity, or impulsiveness which is not appropriate for a person's age. These symptoms must begin by age six to twelve and persist for more than six months for a diagnosis. In school-aged individuals, inattention symptoms often result in poor school performance.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI), formerly attention deficit disorder (ADD), is one of the two types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The term was formally changed in 1994 in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV), to "ADHD predominantly inattentive" (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I)
ADHD Rainbow Butterfly Symbol
The rainbow butterfly symbol, based on the "rainbow infinity" neurodiversity symbol, grew from conversations on an ADHD Facebook group about what signs and symbols people with ADHD felt best represented them. The butterfly symbol pictured below resonated with many, symbolizing how ADHD minds typically flit from one thing to the next. The rainbow butterfly symbol pictured is a current popular version.
Popular ADHD rainbow butterfly awareness symbol.
Neurobehavioral Developmental Disorder
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is usually considered a neurobehavioral developmental disorder.
It affects about 3 - 5% of children with symptoms starting before seven.
It is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention, with or without a component of hyperactivity, and 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. Adolescents and adults with ADHD will likely develop coping mechanisms to compensate for their impairment as they mature.
Common Symptoms of ADHD
- Impulsiveness: acting before thinking of consequences, jumping from one activity to another, disorganization, tendency to interrupt during conversations.
- Hyperactivity: restlessness, often characterized by an inability to sit still, fidgeting, squirming, climbing on things, restless sleep.
- Inattention: easily distracted, zoning out, not finishing work, difficulty listening.
Children who have symptoms of inattention may:
- Struggle to follow instructions.
- Not seem to listen when spoken to
- Have difficulty focusing on one thing
- Daydream, become easily confused and move slowly
- Have difficulty processing the information as quickly and accurately as others
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
- Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
- Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:
- Talk nonstop
- Be constantly in motion
- Fidget and squirm in their seats
- Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
- Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
- Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:
- Be very impatient
- Often interrupt conversations or others' activities.
- Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting for their turns in games
- Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
If you suspect your child might have ADHD, see your family doctor or pediatrician. Your child's vision, hearing, and anything else that may contribute to inattention should also be checked. The doctor may diagnose ADHD or refer your child to a mental health specialist for evaluation.
Treatment methods usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, lifestyle changes, and counseling. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that stimulant medications and behavior therapy are appropriate and generally safe treatments for ADHD.
Many people today believe ADHD is a "condition" that did not exist in the days of good parental discipline and when schools were allowed to apply discipline. The controversies have involved clinicians, teachers, policymakers, parents, and the media, with opinions regarding ADHD that range from not believing it exists at all to believing there are genetic and physiological bases for the condition, and also include disagreement about the use of stimulant medications such as Ritalin used in treatments.
FDA has approved two types of medications, stimulants, and non-stimulants, to help reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve functioning in children as young as age 6. Despite their name, stimulants, which contain various forms of methylphenidate and amphetamine, have a calming effect on hyperactive children with ADHD. They are believed to increase brain levels of dopamine - a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, attention, and movement.
FDA has also approved three non-stimulants to treat the symptoms of ADHD:
- Strattera (atomoxetine)
- Intuniv (guanfacine)
- Kapvay (clonidine)
These provide a useful alternative for children who do not tolerate stimulants well.
In addition to medication, some children with ADHD receive behavioral therapy to help manage symptoms and provide added coping skills. Moreover, concerned parents can reach out to their children's schools and community support groups for information and guidance on how to cope with ADHD behavior. "It's helpful to engage with the different individuals involved in a child's life when managing the disorder.
Adults and ADHD
Studies suggest that about 4% of adults may have ADHD. For adults, the symptoms are the same as those in children but might show up somewhat differently. Adults with ADHD may have poor time management skills and trouble with multitasking, become restless with downtime, and avoid activities that require sustained concentration.
A diagnosis of ADHD in an adult is given only when it's known that some symptoms were present early in childhood, usually under the age of seven. For some adults, a diagnosis of ADHD can bring a sense of relief. Receiving a diagnosis allows adults to understand the reasons for their problems, and treatment can help them to deal with challenges more effectively.
In a recent study, 60% of children with ADHD demonstrated persistence of symptoms into their mid-20ss, and 41% had both symptoms and impairment as young adults.
Investigators noted that rates of ADHD persistence into adulthood had varied greatly in earlier studies, depending on how information is collected and analyzed. In a 16-year follow-up of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (the "MTA"), they found that a combination of parent and self-reports plus a symptom threshold that is adjusted for adulthood (rather than based on traditional childhood definitions of ADHD) may be optimal.
There has been a lot of recent controversy over whether children with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. This study found that the way you diagnose ADHD can lead to different conclusions about whether an adult still has the disorder that started in childhood. First, if you ask the adult about their continued symptoms, they will often be unaware of them; however, family members or others who know them well often confirm that they still observe significant symptoms in the adult. If the classic childhood definition of ADHD is used when diagnosing adults, many cases will be missed because symptom presentation changes in adulthood. By asking a family member about the adult's symptoms and using adult-based definitions of the disorder, you typically find that around half of the children with moderate to severe ADHD still show significant signs of the disorder in adulthood.
ADHD Facts and Statistics
Studies show the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD continues to increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 11% of children ages 4 to 17 (6.4 million kids) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, up from 7.8% in 2003, according to the CDC. Child psychiatrist Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D., who reviews drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ADHD, says that the increase might be due to greater public awareness of the disorder and psychiatric illnesses.
Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD. Boys also are more likely to have the hyperactive-impulsive type, which is easier to spot than the quieter inattentive child, says Farchione.
- Rates of diagnosis and treatment have increased in both the United Kingdom and the United States since the 1970s.
- ADHD is estimated to affect about 6 - 7% of people aged 18 and under when diagnosed via the DSM-IV criteria. When diagnosed via the ICD-10 criteria, rates in this age group are estimated at 1 - 2%.
- Children in North America appear to have a higher rate of ADHD than children in Africa and the Middle East; this is believed to be due to differing methods of diagnosis rather than a difference in underlying frequency.
- ADHD is diagnosed approximately three times more often in boys than in girls. This difference between sexes may reflect either a difference in susceptibility or that females with ADHD are less likely to be diagnosed than males.
- The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven years old.
- Symptoms of ADHD typically first appear between the ages of 3 and 6.
- Males are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.
- ADHD isn't just a childhood disorder. Today, about 4 percent of American adults over 18 deal with ADHD daily.
- During their lifetimes, 12.9 percent of men will be diagnosed with an attention disorder. Just 4.9 percent of women will be diagnosed.
Children are also diagnosed at different ages:
- eight years old: the average age of diagnosis for children with mild ADHD
- seven years old: the average age of diagnosis for children with moderate ADHD
- five years old: the average age of diagnosis for children with severe ADHD
Subtopics and Associated Subjects
|Latest ADHD and ADD Publications|
|Are Youngest in the Class Overmedicated|
The youngest children in a school grade are diagnosed with ADHD almost twice as often as the oldest in the class, suggesting age is a primary driver behind the diagnosis.
Publish Date: 2022-12-07
|Biomarkers of Child ADHD Identified|
Study reveals ADHD is a neurological disorder with neuro-structural and functional manifestations in the brain, not just a purely externalized behavior syndrome.
Publish Date: 2022-11-27 - Updated: 2023-01-03
|Obese Pregnant Women with Diabetes Twice as Likely to Have ADHD Child|
The study found pregnant women with obesity and gestational diabetes had children with long-term mental health disorders such as ADHD.
Publish Date: 2022-09-09 - Updated: 2022-09-10
|Early-term Births Associated with Higher ADHD Rates|
Research study is the first on gestational age at term and ADHD in school-age children to use teacher reports of ADHD symptoms.
Publish Date: 2022-08-12 - Updated: 2023-01-04
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