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What are the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and how is it treated?

Attention Deficit Disorder can be defined as a developmental condition characterized by inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsivity or overactivity.

The exact cause of ADD is still unknown, although experts believe it may be due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. There is a tendency for the condition to be passed down through the family tree but many children develop the disorder with no prior family cases.

There are a great many possible symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder but by far the most common are as follows:

- a short attention span
- an inability to concentrate for any length of time
- disruptive or impulsive behaviour
- an inability to sit still
- a tendency to knock things over
- poor social skills, both with other children and grown ups.

You could say that all children display some of these symptoms from time to time. But a child with ADD will display most of these characteristics most of the time.

There is no straight forward cure for Attention Deficit Disorder. The first step your GP will recommend is an intelligence test to identify the specific areas where your child needs help. These problem areas can then be addressed at home and at school. There are several drugs available to increase your child's attention span and discourage compulsive behaviour but these should ideally be used only as a last resort.

Fortunately, in most cases of ADD, the condition significantly improves as the child grows older. By age ten or eleven, very few children continue to suffer from the disorder.

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