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The Truth Behind ADHD

October is ADHD awareness month. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often makes the tabloids as over-diagnosed, the result of bad parenting or snowflake behavior. Let’s disregard the harmful sensational headlines and look at the real face of ADHD. Regardless of what you might think ADHD is not a new condition, there are references to it in medical journals right the way back to 1775. ADHD is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Inattentiveness can manifest itself as being easily distracted, careless mistakes, losing things, appearing forgetful, being unable to stick to tedious tasks, having difficulty organizing tasks and constantly changing activities.

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness can manifest themselves as constantly fidgeting, excessive talking, excessive physical movement, being unable to wait their turn, acting without thinking, interrupting conversations, and having little sense of danger.

The majority of ADHD cases are diagnosed before the age of 7. Symptoms can become less noticeable with age but persist in 80% of people as they age. Although less common ADHD can be diagnosed in adulthood.

We don’t know the exact cause of ADHD, but it tends to run in families indicating a genetic factor. Other factors that have been identified as increasing the likelihood of developing ADHD are being born prematurely, having a low birth weight, and the mother smoking or consuming alcohol and illegal drugs during the pregnancy. ADHD is a result of structural changes in the brain.

Neuroimaging studies reveal that the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and posterior inferior vermis of the cerebellum are all significantly smaller in people with ADHD. All of these regions of the brain are implicated in maintaining focus and attention. ADHD can however be managed with therapy and where appropriate medication.

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