NINDS Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Information Page: NINDS


Article title: NINDS Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Information Page: NINDS
Conditions: Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
What is Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It interferes with a person's ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate inhibition (cognitive alone or both cognitive and behavioral). Some of the warning signs of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details. There are several types of ADHD: a predominantly inattentive subtype, a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype, and a combined subtype.

Is there any treatment?
The usual course of treatment may include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) or pemoline (Cylert), which are stimulants that decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity and increase attention. Most experts agree that treatment for ADHD should address multiple aspects of the individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should include structured classroom management, parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), and tutoring and/or behavioral therapy for the child.

What is the prognosis?
There is no "cure" for ADHD. Children with the disorder seldom outgrow it; however, some may find adaptive ways to accommodate the ADHD as they mature.

What research is being done?
Several components of the NIH support research on developmental disorders such as ADHD. Research programs of the NINDS, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seek to address unanswered questions about the causes of ADHD, as well as to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Selected references

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Recent Literature. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 40:7; 699-707 (July 1989).

Attention Deficit Disorder: Current Perspectives. Pediatric Neurology, 3:3; 129-135 (1987).

Attention-Deficit Disorder in Adults. Clinical Therapeutics, 14:2; 138-147 (1992).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder--Residual Type. Journal of Child Neurology, 6; S44-S50 (1991).

Diagnosis and Management of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Pediatric Perspective Pediatric Clinics of North America, 31:2; 429-457 (April 1984)


Attention Deficit Information Network
475 Hillside Avenue
Needham, MA 02194-1278
Tel: 781-455-9895
Fax: 781-444-5466

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
8181 Professional Place
Suite 201
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-306-7070 800-233-4050
Fax: 301-306-7090

Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
Tel: 412-341-1515 412-341-8077
Fax: 412-344-0224

National Center for Learning Disabilities
381 Park Avenue South
Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-545-7510 888-575-7373
Fax: 212-545-9665

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 31, Rm. 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Tel: 301-496-5133 800-370-2943

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Blvd.
Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: 301-443-4513 TTY: 301-443-8431 Depression Info: 800-421-4211 Anxiety Info: 88-88-ANXIETY (269-4389) Panic Info: 888-64-PANIC (64-72642)
Fax: 301-443-4279

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.

Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

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