ADHD Malpractice Lawyers - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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ADHD - Medical Malpractice
ADHD is also called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is one of the most common disorders of childhood and can occur in adolescents and in adults. The main symptoms are over activity and difficulty paying attention when you are trying to concentrate.
There are three most common types of ADHD. These include the predominately hyperactive type of the disease, the predominately inattentive part of the disease and the combined disorder, which has features of hyperactivity and impulsiveness and inattentiveness. Those with the inattentive type of ADHD are hard to diagnose because they do not attract attention to themselves. Most children, however, have the combined type of the disorder.
The main symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity over and above that which is seen in all children to some degree. The symptoms need to be present for at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. Other symptoms include increased distractibility and forgetfulness. They can have problems focusing on a single thing and easily get bored with certain tasks. They have problems learning something new. They can't listen when spoken to and daydream frequently. They cannot follow directions and can often talk nonstop. They can fidget or play with every toy in sight. They can't sit still at school, at home or at the dinner table. They may have difficulty doing quite tasks and can be very impatient, blurting out inappropriate comments and showing their emotions without restraint. They are unable to wait their turn in games and interrupt others' conversations.
The cause of ADHD is not known but it is believed to have a genetic component. There are also possibly environmental factors, including brain injuries, social environmental factors and nutritional issues. Studies in twins have shown a genetic predisposition within families. The specific genes are being looked for by researchers.
Environmental issues include cigarette smoking and alcohol use while the mother is pregnant. Small children exposed to older plumbing and construction of their homes appear to be at higher risk. Past history of brain injury contributes to a small percentage of those who have ADHD. Research has put down the theory that too much sugar contributes to ADHD. Research on food additives as they relate to developing ADHD is underway.
The diagnosis of ADHD involves a history and physical exam to rule out other diseases. Surveys are provided for the parents and the teachers that can show if ADHD is present. If the teacher and parents agree on the hyperactivity and inattention of the student, then ADHD is likely the cause of the problem. Some doctors do a trial of medication to see if it makes a difference in the person's symptoms. The doctor can also watch the patient in the office to see how much hyperactivity and impulsiveness is present. The doctor needs to rule out undetected absence seizures, hearing problems from chronic ear infections, vision disturbances, other medical problems or learning disabilities, and anxiety or depressive symptoms that may mimic ADHD. The doctor can refer the child for behavioural testing to see if other psychological problems are present.
ADHD is treated in several ways. Medications are the number one way to treat ADHD. Some medications used in ADHD are psychostimulants, which seem counterproductive to ADHD. The way they work is to help the brain function faster and better so the child can concentrate on the school work or on what's being said. There is less hyperactivity when the child's brain processes information faster. Children with ADHD are paradoxically calmer on stimulant medication.
Sometimes the doctor needs to try different medications to see which one works best. The medication can come in pill form, capsule form, a liquid or as a patch used on the skin. They can be long acting or short acting. Common stimulant medications include Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, Strattera and Dexedrine, among others. Some are extended release, meaning they slowly dissolve in the GI tract, allowing for a longer mechanism of action even though the medication itself is short acting.
Psychotherapy is also sometimes used for ADHD. This involves behavioural therapy that helps change the child's behaviour. It can teach the child how to monitor his or her behaviours so they don't get out of control.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here