Tag Archives: Hyperactivity

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!

Exercise is Essential for ADHD Patients

John Ratey M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School confirms that exercise should be a priority for ADHD patients.

“For a very small handful of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it may actually be a replacement for stimulants. For most, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.”

Unfortunately we think of exercise as a way to lose weight rather than a routine physical activity that protects the brain. “In fact, exercise turns on the attention system in the brain. This system is comprised by the so-called executive functions and they include sequencing, working memory, prioritizing, inhibiting, and sustaining attention.”

Dr. John Ratey is the author of the 2008 book titled Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. In it he points out that “on a practical level, exercise causes kids to be less impulsive, which makes them more primed to learn.”

This is excellent news for parents of children with ADHD. It seems rather evident to experts in the field that exercise helps kids a great deal and it facilitates pushing through past failures and attempting things they didn’t succeed at before.

Exercise is an incredible confidence booster. It’s quite unfortunate that most ADHD kids believe that they are doomed to fail in school, in sports and even in life.


Dr. Ratey has conducted studies with lab mice that show that exercise reduces learned helplessness. He believes being aerobically fit is an antidote to learning and internalizing helplessness.

How does exercise deliver these benefits to the ADHD individual? It is a fact that when you walk, run or practice any form of aerobic exercise, your brain releases several important chemicals. Some of these substances called endorphins are hormone-like compounds that regulate mood, pleasure and pain.

In the same way, any burst of activity also elevates the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These changes in the brain directly affect focus and attention which are in short supply in individuals with ADHD.

In particular, increased dopamine levels allow the brain to function in a regular and consistent fashion which, in turn, has many positive effects. In many patients, exercise alone can decrease the craving for new stimuli and raise alertness.

What is even better is that extreme intensity is not necessary. A mild level of exercise such as walking for 30 minutes, four times a week, will do the trick.

The key to maintaining the benefit is to get your child involved in something that he finds fun. Therefore, the activity is rewarding in itself and it does not become a chore. Team activities or exercise with a social component are especially beneficial for both kids and adults.

References:

ADDitude Magazine, “Exercise: An Alternative ADHD Treatment Without Side Effects” http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3142.html Accessed October 8, 2011.

CogMed, “The Best Alternative Therapies for Managing ADHD Symptoms” http://www.cogmed.com/the-best-alternative-therapies-for-managing-adhd-symptoms Accessed October 8, 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.