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Attention-deficit / Hyperactivity disorder:
Symptoms, Diagnostic and Biological Etiologies

Ana Sofia da Costa Valentim
Student of Psychology Master Degree integrated

This Work presented here is a kind of literature review that aims to study the Attention-deficit / Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Such work results of an evaluation propose from the discipline of Psychotherapy of Childrenincluded in the curriculum of the Psychology Master degree integrated of Masaryk University.
I begin by clarifying that the issue will not be covered in its entirety but yes it will be given more relevance to the following topics: a brief historical introduction about ADHD; Symptoms; and Diagnostic.

1st of February of 2011

I. A Brief Historical Introduction about ADHD
What is now commonlyknown as Hyperactivity, which is properly known as Attention-deficit / Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been extensively studied by various scientists over the past decades.
George Still (1902)1, an English physician seems to have been the first scientist to identify children as having a “defect in moral control”, low levels of “volitional inhibition” and attention, aggressively, hyperactivity,and associated problems. On that time, Still described many of the features of ADHD that would come to be corroborated in research only 50-90 years later:
1) An overrepresentation of males;
2) An aggregation of alcoholism, criminal conduct, and depression among the biological relatives;
3) A familial predisposition to the disorder, implying heredity to be at work in some cases;
4)The possibility of the disorder also arising from acquired injury to the nervous system (Barkley, 2005: 4).
Than in USA comes an outbreak of encephalitis (1917-1918), and the children who survived the brain infection presented a significant cognitive and behavioral sequel (Cantwell, 1981; Kessler, 1980; Stewart, 1970). The behavior result from the nervous central system injury was called“behavioral disorder post-encephalic”.
In 50 years, the concept of brain-injured child syndrome (Strauss & Lehtinen, 1947)2, often associated with mental retardation, quickly gave place to the diagnostic term “minimal brain dysfunction” (MBD) because not always, children who manifest that kind of behavior features, have evidence of brain damage or retardation (Barkley, 2005).
The definition of ADHDchildren has evolved over the years, as it can be seen in Table 1, up to today with DSM_IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Table 1.
Attention Deficit Disorder concept evolution
Date | Diagnostic Terminology | Source |
1941 1947 | Brain-injured Child Syndrome | Werner & Strauss |
1962 | Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD) | Clements & Peters |
1968 | Hyperkinetic Reaction ofChildhood | DSM-II |
1980 | Attention Deficit disorder with Hyperactivity (ADDH)Attention Deficit disorder without Hyperactivity (ADDsH) | DSM-III |
1987 | Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder (UADD) | DSM-III-R |
1991 | Attention deficit disorder (ADD) | EUA Educational Department political memo |
1994 | Attention Deficit / HyperactivityDisorder (ADHD) | DSM-IV |
Note. Adapted from Nogueira, Alfredo P.L. (1999: 15)

II. Symptoms
The symptom usually known as the manifestation of a disease is understood on that case as a behavior. That behavior is classified as: (1) inattention and; (2) hyperactive-impulsive. The second symptom can be renamed as “disinhibition” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
1. InattentionInattention can be simply described as a “lack of attention”, but on that case, as an ADHD symptom, Barkley described as a “inability to sustain attention or responding to tasks or play activities as long as others of the same age, and to follow through on rules and instructions as well as others” (2005: 9, 10).
2. Disinhibition
Disinhibition is described in a dictionary as a “loss of...