Literature Review: Attention-Deficit Disorder

Literature Review: Attention-Deficit Disorder

            Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the latest diagnosis label for adolescents presenting with significant problems in attention, and typically with impulsiveness and excessive activity as well. Adolescents with ADHD represent a rather heterogeneous population who display considerable variation in the degree of their symptoms, in the age of onset, in the cross-situational pervasiveness of those symptoms, and in the extent to which other disorders occur in association with ADHD. The disorder symbolizes one of the greatly popularized rationales children are referred for behavioral problems to medical and mental health practitioners in the United States. In fact, ADHD is one of the most prevalent adolescent psychiatric disorders (Barkley, 2006). According to National Institute of Mental Health, “When the child’s hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected” (NIMH, 2007). The most common symptoms of this disorder include hyperactivity (excessively hyper), inattention (does not pay attention), and impulsivity (acting briefly). The NIMH also states “A child with ADHD faces a difficult but not insurmountable task ahead. In order to achieve his or her full potential, he or she should receive help, guidance, and understanding from parents, guidance counselors, and the public education system” (NIMH, 2007).

The condition of ADHD is a neurologically base disorder, which is the result of a neurochemical deficiency in specific areas of the brain. ADHD patients possess inattention wherein they have difficulty in sustaining attention towards a certain task. Impulsivity is a patient’s poor sustained inhibition of response, poor delays of gratification, rapid and inaccurate responding, and impaired adherence to commands requiring inhibition of behavior in social contexts. As with inattentiveness, the expression of impulsivity is subject to developmental influences. Lastly, the characteristic of hyperactivity, wherein the behavior is usually displayed physically, but can also be expressed verbally. In extreme cases, hyperactive children appear to be in constant motion, and unable to sit still (Shelton & Anastopoulos, 2001). The signs and symptoms imposed in this illness are the prime hindering points that hinders the response of ADHD towards

Many ask, “How do you treat ADHD”? ADHD can be treated with medication, alternative methods, or a combination of both in order to help in the process of these patient’s educative needs. There are several medications on the market prescribed to help children with this disorder.  According to The National Institute of Mental Health, there are eleven different types of medication to treat ADHD. A few examples include, Adderall, Concerta, Metadata ER and CD, and Ritalin, Ritalin SR, or Ritalin LA. Unfortunately, when medications are taken for a period of time, they can become harmful to the body, so it is important for the parents and the physician to make sure the medication is the right method of treatment for their child. A critical question is whether behavioral therapies are as effective as medication, or if they are more useful when combined together. Studies that compare the two approaches show that medication is more effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD; however, a combination of drug and behavioral therapy is most effective in reducing conduct problems that often accompany ADHD (Milkman & Wanberg, 2005). Using such procedure, the probability of improving the response of ADHD patients in terms of their educative notions is at hand.


Barkley, R. A. (2006). Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment. Guilford Press.

Milkman, H. B., & Wanberg, K. W. (2005). Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents. Sage Publications Inc.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), (2007), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity             Disorder.            publication.shtml#pub7

Shelton, T. L., & Anastopoulos, D. A. (2001). Assessing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Springer.