Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Neuropsychologic and pharmacologic aspects (pp. 159-174)
Authors: Donald E Greydanus, Gabriel Kaplan, and Kevin M Antshel
Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is noted in 3-9% of children and adolescents by American research, three times more commonly in males than females; it is found in 3%-5% of adults with equal male to female ratios if the diagnostic criteria are based on the DSM. The neuropsychiatric etiology of ADHD was suspected from early on so that significant research was aimed at elucidating its neuropsychological deficits. Impairments in attention, impulse control, and motor activity -the condition's core deficits- are well documented in neuropsychological studies. So are the beneficial effects of medication for ADHD which have been unambiguously supported by hundreds of studies in the expert academic literature. While stimulants are the most effective therapeutic agents, non-stimulants also play an important role. Theoretical constructs linking molecular neurotransmitter actions to neuroanatomical macro structures and cognitive and behavioral findings have found solid empirical confirmations. Although medication related cognitive improvements appear to be supported only in short term studies, it is recommended that ADHD be actively treated, as patients with this condition can show serious long term disabilities that go beyond academic failure, and overall clinical improvements are strong and the agents prescribed relatively safe.