attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder n ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

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a mental disorder, usually of children, characterized by a grossly excessive level of activity and a marked impairment of the ability to attend. Learning is impaired as a result, and behaviour is disruptive and may be defiant or aggressive. The disorder is more common in the intellectually subnormal, the epileptic, and the brain-damaged. Treatment usually involves drugs (such as amphetamines and methylphenidate) and behaviour therapy; the family needs advice and practical help.

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[DSM-IV] a childhood mental disorder characterized by inattention (such as distractibility, forgetfulness, not finishing tasks, and not appearing to listen), by hyperactivity and impulsivity (such as fidgeting and squirming, difficulty in remaining seated, excessive running or climbing, feelings of restlessness, difficulty awaiting one's turn, interrupting others, and excessive talking) or by both types of behavior. The disorder is subtyped as predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, predominantly inattentive type, or combined type, depending on the criteria met. Behavior must interfere with academic, social, or work functioning, with impairment existing in at least two settings. Onset is before age seven but it can persist into adulthood.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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