Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
ADHD, also often called ADD, refers to a mental-health condition called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People with ADHD have problems with impulse control, excessive activity, and/or concentration. Statistics show that up to 7% of children and teens are thought to suffer from this disorder at any time, with up to 11% of children being given the diagnosis at some point during their childhood. Physicians diagnose boys with childhood ADHD at a rate of more than twice that of girls. That is thought to be at least partly due to the diagnosis in girls being missed because of gender differences in ADHD symptoms.
What are risk factors and causes of ADHD in children?
Although there is no single cause for ADHD, there are a number of biological, environmental, and social factors that seem to increase the risk of a person developing the disorder. Brain imaging studies show that the brains of people with ADHD tend to be smaller, the connections between certain parts of the brain are fewer, and the regulation of the neurochemical dopamine tends to be less than in people who have the disorder.
Risk factors for ADHD that can occur in the womb include maternal stress, as well as smoking during pregnancy and low weight at birth. Being male and having a family history of ADHD increase the likelihood that an individual is diagnosed with ADHD. Socially, low family income and low paternal education are risk factors for developing ADHD. Behavioral expectations based on the culture of an area, from a school district, town, state, or country can influence how often this diagnosis is made.
While inattention and hyperactivity are the cardinal symptoms of ADHD, a number of other symptoms are contained within the diagnostic criteria for this condition and are typical for those with ADHD.
Symptoms related to inattention include trouble paying attention in school or work, the appearance of not listening, failing to complete assigned tasks, avoidance of activities that require sustained focus, losing things, and being easily distracted. Symptoms related to hyperactivity include restlessness, fidgeting, interrupting, frequent talking, intrusiveness, trouble paying attention, and trying to do multiple things at once.