Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by the symptoms hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Treatment for ADHD may involve behavioral therapy and psychostimulant or antidepressant medication.
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
ADHD is a chronic biobehavioral disorder that initially manifests in childhood and
is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. Not all of
those affected by ADHD manifest all three behavioral categories. These symptoms
can lead to difficulty in academic, emotional, and social functioning. The
diagnosis is established by satisfying specific criteria and may be associated
with other neurological, significant behavioral, and/or developmental/learning
disabilities. Treatment options include the use of medication, behavioral therapy, and
adjustments in day-to-day lifestyle activities.
Studies in the United States indicate approximately 8%-10% of
children satisfy diagnostic criteria for ADHD. ADHD is, therefore, one of the
most common disorders of childhood. ADHD occurs two to four times more commonly
in boys than girls (male to female ratio 4:1 for the predominantly hyperactive
type vs. 2:1 for the predominantly inattentive type). Three subtypes of ADHD are described: (1) predominantly inattentive, (2) predominantly hyperactive and impulsive, and (3) combined. While previously believed to be "outgrown" by adulthood, current opinion indicates that many children will continue throughout life with symptoms that may affect both occupational and social functioning. Some medical researchers note that approximately 40%-50% of ADHD-hyperactive children will have (typically non-hyperactive) symptoms persist into adulthood.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 7/2/2012
What should I do if I am concerned that my child might have ADHD?
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are also symptoms seen during normal childhood and development, and exhibiting one or more of the symptoms does not mean that a child has ADHD. In particular, the symptoms of ADHD are very common in toddlers and preschool children, so it can very hard to differentiate ADHD behaviors from normal developmental behaviors in young children. For this reason, the diagnosis of ADHD is more difficult in preschool children than in early school-aged children.
Psychotherapy is often the first form of treatment recommended for depression. Called "therapy" for short, the word psychotherapy actually involves a variety of treatment techniques. During psychotherapy, a person with de"...