Tuesday, February 22, 2005

ADHD is Not a Simple Deficit Disorder

Hyperactivity is one of the most challenging learning and behavioral problems in grade school. A recent article (below)reports the sobering statistic that hyperactive children are the most likely group of children to be removed from a home. But not all hyperactivity is alike.

Below is a link to one of our papers entitled: "Hyperactivity, Impulsivity, and Sensory Processing". In it, we propose that ADHD should be reserved for a more global impairment in attention processes, and the term ADHD is better reserved for children whose self-stimulatory and hyperactive behaviors result in a deterioration in performance, rather than improvement.

We also are sharing excerpts from fMRI studies in children with ADHD (see full papers below in links). It is a popular misconception that 'ADHD' is simply a deficit disorder. It's not as easy as all that. The distinction is important because many parents may mistakenly believe they must medicate their child to make up for the deficit. In fact in the ADHD subjects, there are some areas that are less active, and other areas that are more active. Medication does change the patterns of brain activation, but it doesn't make the ADHD pattern look like control subjects.

Ongoing biological studies will be very important for sorting out the complex differences in brain functioning among children who meet the criteria for ADHD. But the idea that ADHD is a simple 'deficit' disorder is wrong. There is still much we to learn about the interactions of different brain systems.

Hyperactive Kids Removed from Home
Hyperactivity, Impulsivity, and Sensory Processing
ADHD, Stroop, and Cingulate
ADHD and Striatum

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