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Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the Family

  • By: Judith Kendall
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Attention deficit/hyper activity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder theorized to be a result of impaired adaptive functioning related to defects in the neurotransmitters (primarily dopamine) in the frontal lobe of the brain that affects executive functioning. Executive functions are best described as a collection of brain processes that are responsible for planning, organizing, inhibiting inappropriate actions, and initiating self-directed actions that are used to self-regulate behaviors, cognitions, and emotions. Executive functions help us inhibit stimulating and interesting activities in favor of doing what needs to be done to adapt to our surroundings and needs.

People with ADHD struggle to inhibit their responses to rewarding stimuli and often cannot initiate self-directed actions, even when the stakes of not doing so are high. Because of this ...

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