A neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, has symptoms presenting in two or more settings (e.g. at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities), and negatively impacts directly on social, academic or occupational functioning. Children with ADHD have difficulty focusing (picking something on which to pay attention), sustaining focus (paying attention for as long as is needed), and shifting focus (moving attention from one thing to another); tend to fidget, talk excessively or be constantly "on the go"; and speak and act on impulse rather than waiting their turn. Symptoms typically worsen in situations like the classroom that require sustained focus and self-application, and may be absent when the child is in a new or one-to-one situation. In the adult form of ADHD, the symptoms associated with hyperactivity may diminish while those related to inattention and impulsiveness persist. Adult symptoms may include lack of attention to detail, inability to maintain focus, poor listening skills, disorganization, forgetfulness, misplacing or losing things, being overwhelmed by tasks of daily living, difficulty sustaining friendships or intimate relationships, impulsive spending habits, restlessness, irritability, low tolerance for frustration, emotional outbursts and poor self esteem. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms.
A disorder arising in childhood or adolescence which is marked by an inability to learn or other functional deficits that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers, teachers and other adults; inappropriate types of behaviour or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; and a tendency to develop physical fears associated with school problems or other issues that is severe enough to adversely affect the child's educational performance or ability to engage in age-appropriate activities. Characteristics may include hyperactivity, aggression or self-injurious behaviour, withdrawal, immaturity, and learning difficulties.
A disorder with an onset in childhood or adolescence that is characterized by a repetitive and persistent pattern of conduct in which either the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. People who have conduct disorders may become aggressive and commit acts of physical violence against people, or thefts outside the home which involve confrontation with a victim. Nonaggressive individuals display an antisocial pattern that is characterized by persistent truancy, substance abuse, running away from home, vandalism, fire-setting or robbery. Other associated characteristics include precocious sexual activity, low self-esteem in conjunction with an image of toughness, early smoking and drinking, drugs, poor frustration tolerance, irritability, temper outbursts, provocative recklessness and poor academic achievement.
A disorder of childhood and adolescence that is characterized by a consistent, severe pattern of disobedience, negativism and provocative opposition to authority figures, especially parents and teachers, even in situations where such behaviour is detrimental to the interests and well-being of the individual involved. Defiant behaviours include persistent stubbornness, resistance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with adults or peers, but not the serious physical aggression and interference with the rights of others associated with conduct disorder.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.