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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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1.1 ADHD: Definitions and Descriptions

Some of the definitions and descriptions of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been changed or refined as a result of all that we have learned in recent years from neuroscience, brain imaging, and clinical studies, and likely will continue to do so in the future. Until recently, ADHD was classified as a neurobehavioral disorder, characterized by the three core symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity.

It is now recognized that ADHD is a far more complex disorder, involving impairment in a whole range of abilities related to self-regulation and executive functioning (Lists 1.2, 1.4). This more recent understanding of ADHD is reflected in some of the following descriptions, as shared by leading ADHD authorities Russell A. Barkley, Thomas E. Brown, Sam Goldstein, and others. Some of the following descriptions are from Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)), as well as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and other expert sources.

What Is ADHD?

  • ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is the term now used for a condition that has had several names over the past hundred years.
  • ADHD is a chronic neurobiological disorder affecting children and adults that causes difficulty with self-control and goal-directed behavior.
  • ADHD is one of the most common and most studied neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood or ...

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