Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is neurological disorder that is broadly characterized by individuals who display excessive motor activity, inattention, and impulsivity. Someone with ADHD will have a harder time staying on task and staying focused on a goal, and this is not due to a lack of knowledge or comprehension. They also can be hyperactive and constantly be fidgeting, tapping, or talking at inappropriate times. They can also be excessively impulsive and make rash decisions in order to obtain an immediate reward without thinking of the long term consequences. In the United States, about 11% of children aged 4-17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2011. Boys aged 4-17 are more likely to have ADHD at 13.2%, and girls with 5.6%. (1). In 1902, a British pediatrician, Sir George Frederic Still, gave the first medical diagnosis of ADHD. He first described the children is having a “defect of moral control as a morbid manifestation, without general impairment of intellect and without physical disease” (2).
It is recommended that behavior therapy is tried first before any medication is used. Since ADHD can be very complex and individual symptoms can vary it is best to try to understand the individual before prescribing medications. Behavior therapy can come from a combination of a therapist and a parent. It is aimed at helping a child with managing their behaviors, such as: learning ways to control their behaviors, improve self control and self esteem. Behavior therapy should always be the first line of defense.
Medications are another effective and common way to treat ADHD. Stimulants are the most common form of treatment for someone with ADHD. Many of these stimulants, such as the common methylphenidate (MPH), target the dopaminergic systems to help manage emotion dysregulation in ADHD.
(1) Holland, K., & Riley, E. (n.d.). ADHD by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You. In ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic
(2) Molecular Psychiatry (2010) 15, 1053–1066; doi:10.1038/mp.2010.6; published online 16 February 2010
(3) Facts About ADHD (2016, November 16). In Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html
(4) Woelfle, R., D’Aquila, A. L., Pavlović, T., Husić, M., & Lovejoy, D. A. (2015). Ancient interaction between the teneurin C-terminal associated peptides (TCAP) and latrophilin ligand-receptor coupling: a role in behavior. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9, 146. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2015.00146
(5) O’Sullivan, M. L., Martini, F., von Daake, S., Comoletti, D., & Ghosh, A. (2014). LPHN3, a presynaptic adhesion-GPCR implicated in ADHD, regulates the strength of neocortical layer 2/3 synaptic input to layer 5. Neural Development, 9, 7. http://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8104-9-7
(6) K. Drabikowski, A. Trzebiatowska, R. Chiquet-Ehrismann. (2005). Ten-1, an essential gene for germ cell development, epidermal morphogenesis, gonad migration, and neuronal pathfinding in Caenorhabditis elegans. Developmental Biology, 282, pp. 27–38
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Figure 1. http://www.genecards.org/cgi-bin/carddisp.pl?gene=ADGRL3