A diagnosis of ADHD in your family can be unsettling. It is important that families understand the impact of a new diagnosis. ADHD is a diagnosable, treatable, biologically based disorder that we now know more about than we did even 10 or 15 years ago. The primary symptoms include some combination of inattentiveness or distractibility, impulsivity, and in some people physical restlessness or hyperactive behavior. ADHD occurs in 3% to 5% of children in this country; roughly, half of those children continue to have significant levels of ADHD symptoms as adults, which means 2% or 3% of the adult population has some levels of ADHD.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (2000 May) states, "Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. ADHD is also among the most prevalent chronic health conditions affecting school-aged children." Early on medical researchers thought all attention disorders and learning disabilities were caused by minor head injuries or undetectable damage to the brain, perhaps from early infection or complications at birth, but with further research it was shown that only a small percentage of these situations were found (Robin 1998).
It is important for individuals to pay close attention to the signs and symptoms of this disorder. Barbara Sennet's son has ADHD and feels it is quite difficult to be able to go anywhere without having to constantly monitor her son's behavior. "Sometimes I cry because it is so frustrating dealing with this disorder. I use to always ask the question of what did I do wrong" (Sennet. personal communication.2004) Most parents will have a feeling of overwhelming helplessness or blame themselves for their child actions, when in fact the parents are not to blame, the disorder is.
Earlier we stated some of the signs to look for, but just because...