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What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) is a very common childhood disorder that has a 30-50 percent chance of lasting a lifetime. The symptoms are difficulties with inattention, impulsive behavior, and obviously, hyperactivity. Children can show signs of ADHD before the age of seven, and ADHD affects about 3-5 percent of children around the world. Generally, it affects boys more often than girls, and it can have a serious impact on the childs ability to learn. Unfortunately, sometimes ADHD can go completely unnoticed and overlooked. Though is it a very common disorder, most people are not aware of what exactly ADHD is and the specificities of ADHD. ADHD has been studied throughout history. It has gone through many name changes, and many new developments in studying the disorder have changed our perspective on it. We can trace it as far back as the 18th century for sure. Melchoir Adam Weikard, a German physician, published a medical textbook in 1775 where he dedicated a whole chapter on attention deficits. It is supposedly the first known reference to ADHD in medical literature; The book was titled Philosophische Arzt. Many of the symptoms Weikard described are similar to how we define ADHD today. Here is an example of Weikards perspective, An inattentive person wont remark anything but will be shallow everywhere. He studies his matters only superficially Such people only hear half of everything; they memorize or inform only half of it or do it in a messy manner. According to a proverb they generally know a little bit of all and nothing of the whole." (p. 5) "They are mostly reckless, often copious considering imprudent projects, but they are also most inconstant in execution. This quote describes more of the inattentive type

and is very similar to what most people think of when they think of ADHD. There are many other accounts of ADHD being studied during those time and afterwards. Some medical professionals even described their patients with have a moral defect (Sir George Frederick Still, 1868-1941). Furthermore, today we have separated ADHD into three subtypes: predominately inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominately hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-H or ADHD-HI), or a combination of the two (ADHD-C). Most children with ADHD share some similar characteristics such as forgetfulness, procrastination, disorganization, easily distracted, but those with the PI subtype suffer from lethargy and fatigue. Symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsiveness are not as strong or completely absent. Children suffering from the H subtype are the exact opposite. They have the more energetic symptoms and cannot sit down. Kids with the H subtype are most likely getting in trouble for their behavior while those with the PI subtype can go unnoticed. Of course those with a combination, show signs of both. Most children diagnosed with ADHD are ADHD-C.