Tag Archives: ADHD

Driven to Distraction: ADHD and Your Environment – Part 2

distracted man with adhdNagging Thoughts That Won’t Quit

It’s next to impossible to focus on the task at hand if you’re worrying about errands you need to run or housework that needs to be done.

Perhaps you’re still thinking about a conversation you had yesterday and it keeps replaying itself in your mind.

Nagging thoughts of any kind can be a powerful distraction that keeps you from achieving your daily goals. The best way to keep nagging thoughts from sticking around in your brain is to write them down.

You can make a list of errands, chores or other tasks you plan to complete later. Save it for review at a later time when you can actually tackle the items you wrote down. Learn to let them go while you give your attention to the present activity.

The Powerful Grip of Stress

As mentioned above, when you feel that you are doing too many things all at once it can be hard to focus on individual tasks.

To make matters worse, stress has a palpable negative effect on your body. You may develop pain in your shoulders, headaches or palpitation, all of which can hinder your ability to concentrate.


To decrease your stress level, you can learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation. It can make it possible for you to lessen the impact of stressful thoughts so they don’t demand so much of your attention.

Researchers found that people who took an eight-week meditation class were able to significantly improve their ability to focus

Chronic Lack of Sleep

Not sleeping well night after night can lead to daytime fatigue. It can, in turn, make it very tough to concentrate even when you have just a few distractions. There are studies that suggest that too little sleep can permanently diminish your ability to concentrate as well as your short-term memory.

Staying Hungry

It is a well known fact that the brain can’t focus without fuel. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, is a top concentration killer.

Research clearly indicates that short-term memory and attention suffer if you neglect to feed your brain the proper nutrients. The best way to keep hunger at bay and give your brain a steady source of fuel is by always eating breakfast.

In between meals you should eat high-protein snacks like cheese or nuts. Do not rely on simple carbs (sweets, white pasta) to boost your energy and choose whole grain alternatives instead.

A Cloud of Depression

When we think of depression and its devastating effects we tend to think of sadness as its hallmark symptom. However, the National Institute of Mental Health says difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms of ongoing depression.

If you’re having trouble focusing while also feeling empty, hopeless or even indifferent to people and things your cared about before, you may be experiencing depression.

If you think you might be depressed, always seek medical advice. Depression is highly treatable and you could significantly be improving your attention span and ability to complete tasks.

ADHD Awareness Week – October 16 – 22 2011

The week of October 16 – 22, 2011 is ADHD Awareness week. It is a perfect time to reflect on the realities of ADHD in your life and to share them with others who perhaps are not as knowledgeable as you are.

The facts about ADD have become more clear over the years. The science is building and the most informed psychological, medical and educational experts have all reached the same conclusion: that ADHD is a real, brain-based medical disorder, and that children and adults with ADHD benefit from appropriate treatment.

ADHD Awareness Week is a great time to dispel the myths about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Sorting fact from fiction can be difficult in the digital age, but the fact is the NIH, the American Psychological Society, the Department of Education and other reputable organizations have all officially recognized that ADHD is a real, legitimate condition affecting over 15 million Americans.


In spite of this, there continue to be those who refuse to face the facts and loudly voice skepticism that ADD/ADHD is real and that its treatments are necessary.

ADDnaturalTreatment.com is here to arm you with truth and to keep you well informed, so you will be prepared for the skeptics you encounter with intelligent, factual points. We are here to help you spread the word about this condition, so that others will understand and see ADHD for what it is.

ADDitude magazine has several virtual events taking place this week that our readers will definitely be interested in. Here is your invitation:

Celebrate ADHD Awareness Week from October 16-22, 2011: RSVP for ADDitude’s virtual Facebook event, download this Awareness Week poster, and look for #ADHDAwarenessWeek on Twitter!

I hope all of our readers will find the time to educate themselves and to share that knowledge with others to help promote the common understanding of what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is and what it isn’t. Have a great week!

Cold Hard Facts About ADHD in the United States

The American Psychiatric Association recently stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) an astounding finding regarding ADHD.

Its newly gathered data showed that 3%-7% of school-aged children have ADHD. Furthermore, several other studies simultaneously estimated even higher rates in community samples.

When parents were surveyed to better estimate the incidence of this disorder, the results were as follows:

  • Close to 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD in one point of their lives, as of 2007.
  • The number of children with a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis increased by 22% between 2003 and 2007.
  • Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an even more severe 5.5% per year from 2003 to 2007.
  • In general, boys(13.2%) were much more likely than girls (5.6%) to receive a diagnosis of ADHD from a healthcare provider.
  • Interestingly, rates of verified ADHD increased at a greater rate among older teens compared to younger children.
  • The highest rates of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis appeared among children covered by Medicaid as well as multiracial children.

  • Parent-reported ADHD diagnosis varied in frequency depending on geographic factors. Nevada reported a 5.6% while North Carolina reported a record 15.6%.

Medicating Our Youth

  • In 2007, 2.7 million children ages 4-17 years were receiving medication treatment for the disorder. That is an estimated 66.3% of those with a current diagnosis.
  • Children aged 11-17 years of age received medication more often than those 4-10 years of age. Boys are 2.8 times more likely to take medication than girls.
  • In 2003, geographic variability indicated that medication was used most prevalently in Arkansas (6.5%) and least in in California (2.1%)

ADHD and Peers

  • Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD report almost 3 times as many peer problems as those without a history of ADHD.
  • Parents also report that children with a documented history of ADHD are 10 times more likely to have difficulties that interfere with friendships.

Accident Prone

  • A higher percentage of parents of children with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder reported non-fatal injuries for otherwise healthy children.
  • Children diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to have major injuries that sometimes required hospital inpatient care as well as hospital outpatient and/or emergency department admission.
  • Data from international sources clearly suggest that young people with high levels of ADHD related difficulties are at greater risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash, drinking and driving, and traffic violations.

These are all sobering statistics that urge parents to take a closer look at a problem that can and should be treated in order to improve the quality of life of the child as well as the family as a whole.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)” http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html Accessed September 27, 2011.

American Psychiatric Association, “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” http://www.psych.org/MainMenu/Research/DSMIV.aspx Accessed September 27, 2011.

What is ADHD

What is ADHD? An Overview – Part 2

What is ADHDADHD Treatment

Successfully treating ADHD takes focus and guidance on the part of the parents. A strong partnership between the health care provider, parents or caregivers, and the child is essential.

For therapy to succeed, it is very important to set specific, appropriate goals to be followed by everyone involved.

A combination approach that includes medication and behavior therapy has a higher rate of success than either one of these tools alone.

Regular medical follow-ups are needed to check on goals, results and any possible side effects if medications have been prescribed. These check-ups are vital in order for the doctor to update information from parents, teachers and also the child.

In the event that treatment does not appear to work, the health care provider should reconsider the original diagnosis to verify that the child indeed has ADHD. In addition, it is wise to check for possible medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms but need to be treated differently. Furthermore, always make sure that the treatment plan is being followed as indicated by the physician.

Medication

Nothing is as controversial in the field of ADHD studies as the use (or misuse) of medications. Experts believe that a combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best for most patients. To further improve the chances of success, there are now several different types of ADHD medications in the market that may be used alone or in combination.

Stimulants are the most commonly used ADHD drugs. They have been prescribed the longest and their side effects have also been observed for a long time. Although these drugs are called stimulants, they actually have a calming effect on the brains of individuals with ADHD.

The most commonly prescribed drugs in this category are amphetamine (Adderall), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana).


There is currently a non-stimulant drug called atomoxetine (Strattera) that appears to work as well as stimulants and is less likely to be misused by patients.

Many parents faced with the prospect of medicating their children are concerned about ADHD medicines because some have been linked to rare sudden death in children with heart problems. Always talk to your doctor about which drug is best for your child.

Therapy and Changes to Family Routine

Do not overlook the importance of talk therapy for both the child and the family. It can help everyone understand the situation and gain control of the stressful feelings related to ADHD.

When parents realize that there are modifications they can make, such as a system of rewards and consequences, they feel empowered and in control again. As a result, they can better guide their child’s behavior by learning to handle disruptive behaviors. Support groups can help you connect with others who have similar problems.

Other useful ways to help your child with ADHD include making a point to communicate regularly with the child’s teacher as well as keeping a consistent daily schedule, including regular times for homework, meals, and outdoor activities. ADHD children also benefit from limited distractions in the child’s environment such as restricted access to TV or video games.

Always make sure the child gets a healthy diet with the inclusions of fruits, vegetables and fish. Regular patterns of sleep are key to a healthy brain in both children and adults. Try to “catch” your child doing things right. Always praise and reward good behavior.

It will be easier for the child to fulfill your expectations if you provide him or her with clear, concise guidelines.

References:

National Institute of Health, MedlinePlus. “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001551.htm Accessed September 21, 2011.

Understanding Childhood ADHD – Symptoms, Behaviors & Causes

boy with addThe acronym ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD). It has become quite a common condition among children as well as a source of concern and controversy among parents.

Children with diagnosed ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They can’t seem to follow directions with ease and are easily bored and often frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move or fidget constantly and are very impulsive in their actions.

It would be simple to assume that any of these behaviors are common in children and are of no concern whatsoever. Nevertheless, a myriad of symptoms that present themselves in unison, consistently seem to point to ADHD rather than to a case of a merely spirited youngster.

Oftentimes, the symptoms occur more frequently than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD. These behaviors are so insidious that they interfere with the child’s ability to function at school and at home.

Symptoms of ADHD are generally grouped into three main categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Inattention

When inattention is a problem, the child is very easily distracted. He or she is unable to follow directions at all or to properly follow them in an organized sequence. As a result, tasks are left unfinished.

The child also appears to not be listening when spoken to directly. He or she will make careless mistakes over and over and will appear frustrated or contrary. Even in the case of daily activities, he will need reminders constantly and will struggle to stay organized. He will express dislike for activities that require sustained effort and will prefer to remain in his own world or daydreaming.


Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity is another hallmark behavior found in children with ADHD. The child  often squirms, fidgets or bounces when sitting and has difficulty playing quietly with toys or games. He or she is always moving around, sometimes running or climbing on things unaware of the danger.

In school situations, the child does not remain seated when expected to do so. He talks excessively and out of turn without understanding how to take turns.

Impulsivity

Impulsivity can be found in almost every diagnosed case of ADHD. It can be a source of frustration not only for the child but also for those around him. Besides not waiting for his or her turn during activities or games, the child blurts answers or comments at odd times during a conversation or while the teacher is talking. He or she interrupts others but dislikes being interrupted himself. Not understanding that impulsive behavior is often interpreted as rudeness by others, the child feels undeservedly reprimanded.

Although the exact cause of ADHD is not known, researchers continue to study the brain for answers. Researchers believe that there are several conclusive factors that contribute to the condition. These are:

  • Heredity: ADHD seems to run in families. This fact suggests a strong genetic predisposition. Thus, children may inherit a tendency to develop ADHD from their parents.
  • Chemical imbalance: Experts believe that an imbalance of certain substances  essential in communication between nerve cells called neurotransmitters, may be a factor in the development of ADHD.
  • Brain changes: It has been documented that areas of the brain that control attention are much less active in children with ADHD than in children without the disorder.

A variety of other factors may also contribute to the development of ADHD. In many cases, poor nutrition, certain prenatal infections and substance abuse (including cigarette and alcohol) during pregnancy seem to be triggers since they can affect the development of the baby’s brain.

Later in childhood lead exposure can also affect brain development and may lead to ADHD symptoms. Of course, injury to the brain due to an accident may trigger ADHD symptoms as well.

References:

Medicine Net, “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)” http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=42948 Accessed September 14, 2011.

Web MD, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What Is ADHD?” http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd Accessed September 14, 2011.