ADHD (USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders)

ADHD (USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders)

By: Amy Farrar
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books 
Publication Date: August 2010
ISBN: 978-0761354550
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010

Perhaps you have heard of someone who has the disorder, ADHD, and would like to know more about it. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD as it is commonly known, is “a neurobehavioral disorder, a disorder of the nervous system that can be seen in a person’s behavior.” Essentially it is not a behavioral problem in and of itself, but rather one that exhibits itself in the behavior of a child because of a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are three different types of ADHD in this inherited disorder, each of which are described in this book. Sometimes there are obvious clues that can lead to referral to a qualified individual for diagnosis. Some of the most commonly noticed symptoms or clues that lead to referral are when an individual has trouble paying attention, he or she finds it difficult to “focus on specific tasks,” is hyperactive, and/or impulsive. Does this sound like you or someone you know?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that approximately two million children are afflicted by this disorder, but other agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim a much higher number. It is known that “males are affected more than females” and that at least half of all ADHD sufferers continue to be afflicted in their adult years. And so you may ask, how can this book help me if I do not have the disorder? This is a book that will help you gain a better understanding of those around you that are afflicted. Perhaps armed with more knowledge about ADHD, you will be better equipped to help a friend or relative. For example, you will see that one girl who learned more about the disorder felt that “coping with ADHD in the family became easier once she understood that it is ‘truly an illness and not a behavioral problem.’”

There are numerous portraits of “real” people that bring this book to life because so “many people still do not understand that it [ADHD] is a serious disorder.” You will learn about the symptoms and causes of this disorder and that its “symptoms usually begin in childhood before the age of seven and can vary depending on the type of ADHD.” You’ll get to take a look at examples of how symptoms are exhibited in children. You will also get to hear from the children themselves about what they experience and how difficult it can be for them to live with the disorder. ADHD can also be combined with other disorders such as conduct disorder or Asperger’s. An example of another problem that may crop up at a later time is the susceptibility to substance abuse. ADHD is not quite as simple as the name seems to imply.

ADHD is a disorder of unknown etiology, but you’ll get to read about many discussions and theories that have been put forth as to its origin. Regardless of the cause, children need help to cope with this disorder in order to lead productive lives when they are in school and after they leave. This book discusses diagnosis, treatment options to consider, types of medications and what they do, describes behavioral therapy, stresses the importance of a solid support system, talks about alternative medicine, neurofeedback therapy, it lists coping strategies, and gives the reader a wide reaching, but excellent overview of the disorder. Undoubtedly, as the author states, “ADHD can be frustrating for those who have the disorder and for the people who care about them.”

This was an exceptionally well done overview and glimpse into the lives of young people who have ADHD. Although this is not a lengthy book, I found that it was packed with important information that not only the young adult can learn about, but also the parents and caregivers of those afflicted with any form of ADHD. The most interesting part of the book are the glimpses we get into the lives of young people and families who actually are dealing with the disorder. We not only see the difficulties they encounter, but also their successes. This book is amazingly thorough, but shies away from being overly technical and boring. There are numerous informative sidebars, including actual reproductions of USA TODAY news clips that give us an historical overview of many aspects of the disorder. In the back of the book is a thorough index, a glossary, a listing of numerous resources, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: If you would like an excellent overview of ADHD, this would be the perfect addition to your classroom or library shelves!

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