There are a number of additional problems associated with ADHD, including the greater likelihood of ADHD boys exhibiting aggressive and antisocial behavior. Although many ADHD children do not show any associated problems, many ADHD children show deficits in both intellectual and behavioral functioning. For example, a number of studies have found that ADHD children score an average of seven to fifteen points below other children on standardized intelligence tests. It may be, however, that this poorer performance reflects poor test-taking skills or inattention during the test rather than actual impairment in intellectual functioning. Additionally, ADHD children tend to have difficulty with academic performance and scholastic achievement. It is assumed that this poor academic performance is a result of inattention and impulsiveness in the classroom. When ADHD children are given medication to control their inattention and impulsiveness, their academic productivity has been shown to improve.
ADHD children have also been shown to have a high number of associated emotional and behavioral difficulties. As mentioned earlier, ADHD boys tend to show higher levels of aggressive and antisocial behavior than ADHD girls and normal children. Additionally, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of ADHD children have at least one other disorder. Many of these problems are related to depression and anxiety, although many ADHD children also have severe problems with temper tantrums, stubbornness, and defiant behavior. It is also estimated that up to 50 percent of ADHD children have impaired social relations; that is, they do not get along with other children. That there are many problems associated with ADHD may be part of the reason that researchers have been so intrigued by this disorder.
Researchers must understand a disorder before they can attempt to treat it. There are a variety of theories on the etiology of ADHD, but most researchers now believe that there are multiple factors that influence its development. It appears that many children have a biological predisposition toward ADHD; in other words, they may have a greater likelihood of developing ADHD as a result of genetic factors. This predisposition is exacerbated by a variety of factors, such as complications during pregnancy, neurological disease, exposure to toxins, family adversity, and inconsistent parental discipline. Although a very popular belief is that food additives or sugar can cause ADHD, there has been almost no scientific support for these claims. As so many factors have been found to be associated with the development of ADHD, it is not surprising that numerous treatments have been developed for the amelioration of its symptoms. Although numerous treatment methods have been developed and studied, ADHD remains a difficult disorder to treat effectively.
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