What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is the most current name for a cluster of symptoms that generally involve behavior and concentration problems, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, distractibility, and learning difficulties. Some of the names that have been used in the past include: Minimal Brain Damage (MBD), Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD), Hyperkinesis, Hyperkinesis-Learning Disability (H-LD), Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
ADHD affects about 3-5% of the world's population under the age of 19. It typically presents itself during childhood, and is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control or impulsivity, and distractibility. ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children and, over the past decade, has been increasingly diagnosed in adults. About 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms as adults.
The most common symptoms of ADHD are distractibility, difficulty with concentration and focus, short term memory difficulty, procrastination, problems organizing ideas and belongings, tardiness, impulsivity, and problems with planning and execution. Not all people with ADHD have all the symptoms, and most people do exhibit some of these symptoms, but not to the point where they seriously interfere with the person's work, schoolwork, or relationships.
The scientific consensus in the field is that ADHD impairs functioning and that many adverse life outcomes are associated with ADHD. During the elementary years an ADHD student will have more difficulties with work completion, productivity, planning, remembering things needed for school, and meeting deadlines. Oppositional and socially aggressive behavior is seen in 40%-70% of ADHD children at this age. Even ADHD kids with average to above average intelligence show "chronic and severe under achievement". Fully 46% of those with ADHD have been suspended and 11% expelled. Thirty seven percent of those with ADHD do not get a high school diploma even though many of them will receive special education services. Only 5% of those with ADHD will get a college degree compared to 27% of the general population. (US Census, 2003)
If this is the best that can be expected with all the expensive medical, pharmacological, and educational help available, it is a depressing prognosis. This, alone, is a good reason to try the Feingold Diet and other nutritional approaches before - or in addition to - pharmacological treatment. See our success stories.
Last Updated 8/14/11