Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined as a severe difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention. Often leads to learning and behaviour problems at home, school, and work.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined as a severe difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention. Often leads to learning and behaviour problems at home, school, and work.

A hyperactive child is often ‘in trouble’ with his peers, teachers, family and community.  It develops very early in life and Denhoff (1973) confirms that they don’t often reach milestones in life (Abnormal Psychology).  They are often taken aback when their behaviours educe anger or rejection from others and apologise intensely for what they have just done.  ADHD sufferers do not seem to know that they are doing wrong while they are ‘actually doing the action’, but do show the sincere remorse when given out to.  As they do not necessarily show any basic deficits or disabilities (intellectual or interpersonal) he seems ‘normal’ in the very sense of the word.  Due to this, ADHD is often overlooked and is seen as just another trouble-maker (Abnormal Psychology, 1978).  Schain & Reynard (1975) show that many of the actions carried out by ADHD children as temperamental or emotional.  However, Henker & Whalen (1989) showed that it is very simple to distinguish a child with ADHD and a child without the condition (Bee).  They showed novice observers videos of children playing, with the sound off and no aggression displayed by either group.  They differentiated between either the body language, level of activity and the social behaviour adopted by the children.  Over-activity tends to decrease by young adulthood, but the problems still remain in employment settings due to structure.  The implications of this dysfunction towards children are extensive.  In essence, the child can keep and store memories but have no emotions attached to them.  They become meaningless thoughts.


ADHD, previously known as hyperkinesis, is one of the most common childhood mental disorders, effecting 3-5% of the childhood population.  The National Institute of Mental Health states that on average there is at least one child in every classroom across America diagnosed with ADHD.  It often continues into adolescence and adulthood causing broken dreams, ambitions and relationships.  The diagnosis of ADHD is based on behaviours displaying certain characteristics such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention over a period of time which is usually six months and must have an onset before the age of seven.

The DSM–IV manual must show significant inattention or hyperactivity (or both).   Inattention is indicated by difficulties sustaining attention towards schoolwork and other activities such as play.  An ADHD child may be forgetful in daily activities and frequently lose objects necessary for tasks and could be seen as ‘always on the go’.  Hyperactivity and impulsivity is indicated by the presence of fidgeting, squirming in seat, running about excessively and difficulty in keeping quiet.  The diagnosis of ADHD can often be mistaken towards other impairments like that of learning disabilities, petit mal seizures, a hearing problem and anxiety or depression.  

Other disorders can accompany ADHD sufferers.  When this happens it is extremely hazardous for the person’s life, both personal and socially and treating both disorders is very complicated and risky due to the medications.  The most common associated with ADHD are Tourette’s syndrome, oppositional deviant disorder (mostly associated with males), conduct disorder, learning disabilities and anxiety or depression.

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ADHD used to be thought of as some brain injury, maybe at childbirth and there were also suggestions that those who are brought up in a dysfunctional family are prone to the condition.  However, much research have criticised these insinuations in light of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, research regarding damage to the foetus (fetal alcohol syndrome, FAS), drugs (cocaine), toxins (lead in soil and dust, but this is found only in a small number of cases) and genetic innovations (at least 1/3rd of fathers who endure ADHD have a son also diagnosed with ADHD), Morrison & Stewart (1971) found ...

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