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ADHD and Neurology

The ADD Medical Treatment Center of Santa Clara Valley list absolute indications and suggestive indications of the underlying neurological basis for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Absolute Indicators of ADHD Neurology:

  • Hyperactivity/Fidgetiness

  • Impulsivity (hyperactivity of the mind)

  • Unexplained inattention for "boring" activities

  • Primary nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) -- 48% of ADHD children have bed-wetting

  • Episodic Explosiveness or Emotional Outbursts

Strongly Suggestive Indicators of ADHD Neurology:

  • Waking slowly, not snapping awake, or being excessively grouchy (91% of ADHD cases)

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night (73%)

  • Unexplained irritability and rapid frustration

  • Unexplained negativity with or without depression

  • Verbal and/or spatial dyslexia (number, letter, and often word reversals)

Manifestations of the disorder usually appear in most situations, including at home, in school, at work, and in social situations, but to varying degrees. Some people, however, show signs of the disorder in only one setting, such as at home or at school.

Symptoms typically worsen in situations requiring sustained attention, such as listening to a teacher in a classroom, attending meetings, or doing class assignments or chores at home. Signs of the disorder may be minimal or absent when the person is receiving frequent reinforcement or very strict control, or is in a novel setting or a one-to-one situation (e.g., being examined in the clinician's office, or interacting with a videogame).

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in younger children is often readily identified by the presence of hyperkinesis or "hyperactivity". Rapid, purposeless, and nonstop movements are often found. These youngsters can seldom watch a thirty-minute television/VCR program due to their short attention span and hyperactivity.

In older children, above the age of twelve, the rapid body movements become less obvious although they can still be observed. Rather than running around the room or class, the older ADHD child exhibits leg shaking, drumming fingers, squirming, glancing about the room, and poor impulse control. The older ADHD child remains inattentive and will have difficulty with harder classes and frequently forgets homework.

ADHD can persist into adulthood. The adult version contains rapid speech, poor judgment, poor impulse control, quick temper, and poor sustained effort. The adult "fast talker" frequently wears out friends with their hyperactive pace and talkativeness.

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