Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. Roughly three to five percent of children before the age of seven years old are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder causes those affected by the condition to be inattentive and disruptive to their environment around them with or without a component of hyperactivity. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is twice as likely to occur in boys than in girls. This condition is beginning to become a chronic problem because 30 to 50 percent of the children diagnosed with the condition still suffer from effects of the condition into their adulthood. Most people, as they mature, are able to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for the impairment.

The three most common symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention. Impulsiveness is acting before thinking about possible consequences, jumping from one activity to another, disorganization and the tendency to interrupt other people’s conversations. Hyperactivity is defined as restlessness, an inability to sit still, fidgeting, squirminess and a restless sleep. Inattention is defined as being easily distracted, day dreaming, not finishing their assigned work in school or at the office and having difficulty listening.

There are six conditions that are associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Those six conditions are oppositional defiant disorder, primary disorder of vigilance, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Oppositional defiant disorder is when the patient has anti-social problems such as aggressiveness, temper tantrums, lying, stealing or being stubborn. Primary disorder of vigilance is when the patient has poor attention and concentration. These children also have trouble staying awake. Children with this disorder tend to be hyperactive in order to keep themselves busy and awake. Mood disorders are more commonly seen in boys diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Bipolar disorder is diagnosed in 25 percent of children with ADHD and they display more aggression and behavioral problems that those with ADHD alone. Anxiety disorder is more common in girls that have been diagnosed with ADHD. Obsessive compulsive disorder is thought to share a genetic component with ADHD as they both exhibit some of the same characteristics. People with obsessive compulsive disorder is when people have repetitive mental thoughts that result in compulsive behaviors such as making sure that all the edges of a piece of paper are not rigid but instead smooth.

One direct cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has not been found yet but there are a variety of contributing factors to the development of the condition. Genetic factors include a 75 percent chance that ADHD can develop in twins. Environmental factors include tobacco smoke exposure and alcohol exposure during pregnancy and exposure to lead in the early stages of life. Diet factors include additives such as artificial food coloring. Social factors include relationships with loved ones and other influential people in a person’s life. For instance, if a child has a strong relationship with his or her caregiver then that relationship has a profound effect on the development of the child.

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