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Attention Deficit Disorder Mini Fact Sheet
Description: Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurobehavioral
disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It
interferes with a person's ability to sustain attention or focus
on a task and some patients may be unable to control impulsive
behavior. Some of the warning signs of ADD 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 both minor and important details.
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 ADD should address multiple aspects of the
individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use
of medications alone. Treatment should include individual tutoring,
parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), and
individual or group behavioral therapy (or both) for the child.
Prognosis: There is no "cure" for ADD. Children with
the disorder seldom outgrow it; however, some may find adaptive
ways to accommodate the ADD as they mature.
Research: Several components of the NIH support research on
developmental disorders such as ADD. 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 ADD,
as well as to improve diagnosis and treatment.
These articles may provide
more in-depth information on ADD:
"Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Recent Literature."
Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 40:7; 699-707
"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).
Information may also be available from the following organizations:
Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD)
499 NW 70th Avenue,
Plantation, FL 33317
P.O. Box 488
West Newbury, MA 01985
(508) 462 -0495
National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.
281 Park Avenue South,
New York, NY 10016
Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
National Institute of Mental Health
Parklawn Bldg, Room 7C02
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857-8030
Information provided by the NIMH.