Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (cont.)

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Is ADHD inherited?

Research has shown that ADHD does seem to cluster in families. Several investigations have demonstrated that children who have ADHD usually have at least one close relative (child or adult) who also has ADHD. At least one-third of all fathers who have ADHD will produce a child with ADHD. With the newer realization that adults may also experience ADHD symptoms, it is not unheard of to have a parent's "problem at my job" be credited to ADHD -- often at the same time their child's diagnosis is being established! Lastly, several studies have demonstrated a number of genes that may reflect a role in altered brain neurochemistry that provide a physiologic basis for this disorder and inheritance pattern.

Is childhood ADHD on the increase? If so, why?

No one knows for sure whether the prevalence of ADHD per se has risen, but it is very clear that the number of children identified with the disorder and who obtain treatment has risen over the past decade. Some of this increased identification and increased treatment seeking is due in part to greater media interest, heightened consumer awareness, and the availability of effective treatments. Teachers are better trained to recognize the condition and suggest that the family seek help, especially in the more mild to moderate cases. In addition, the diagnostic criteria for ADHD are now more specifically and concisely defined.

The diagnosis of ADHD is less of a social stigma than in the past. This more enlightened perspective reflects the understanding that ADHD is a biochemical disorder and not merely an "out of control child." As such, more parents are receptive to medical therapy for the condition rather than resorting to less effective home/school discipline techniques. Interestingly, the increase in prevalence of ADHD is not solely an American phenomenon but has been noted also in other countries. Whether the number of patients with ADHD has truly increased or rather better recognition and acceptance of ADHD as a diagnosis has "increased" remains to be further defined.


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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Tests and Diagnosis Question: How was your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosed?
ADHD in Children - Symptoms Question: Please describe the symptoms of your child's ADHD. When did they first appear?
ADHD in Children - Behavioral Treatments Question: Describe the ADHD behavioral treatments that have been effective for your child or the child you care for.
ADHD in Children - Medications Question: If you've used medications to treat your child's ADHD, what's worked and what hasn't?
ADHD in Children - Personal Experience Question: Please share your personal experience with ADHD.

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