What causes ADHD? Is it really a disorder?
The term “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)”
is often used to include the medical diagnosis of ADHD or ADD (attention deficit without hyperactivity). AD/HD is characterized
by developmentally inappropriate inattention and/or possible impulsiveness. In some cases, hyperactivity
can be a major factor.
Most research indicates that is caused by a neurobiological disorder that
affects 3-5 percent of school age children nationally and approximately 2-4 percent of adults. Those statistics are commonly
increasing to about 7.5%, or more, as diagnostic awareness is more prevalent, and more girls and adults become identified.
The actual percentage of those affected and diagnosed can vary by location for many reasons including the willingness and
ability to identify and treat the symptoms.
Is ADHD over or under-diagnosed or treated incorrectly?
This is a difficult question to answer in a general sense. To have an accurate
diagnosis requires the need for a knowledgeable medical or psychological professional, who fully understands the diagnostic
criteria of AD/HD, to carefully review the patient’s history in a variety of settings (home, education, social, etc…)
with caregivers and educators. In addition, other possible explanations (medical, physical or psychological conditions) should
be considered and ruled out as possible explanations for the concerns. In the event a careful diagnosis is not made; or other
possible conditions which could show similar symptoms to AD/HD are not ruled out, the patient could be misdiagnosed.
What other resources or websites do you recommend to parents for further
A great deal of information and support is available through involvement
in local chapters of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) www.chadd.org. In Northern Virginia visit www.novachadd.org. I also recommend the National Resource Center on AD/HD at www.help4adhd.org. There are a great many books available on the subject, but I like to recommend some resources from www.addwarehouse.com.
What resources are available regarding the laws associated with my child’s
Although we recommend these websites for guidance, The AD/HD Resource Group
of Northern Virginia, and its participants, is not responsible for the information shared on these websites and not bound
by any legal opinions or general recommendations provided by these resources.