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Attention Defecit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- also referred to ADD or ADHD -- is a biological, brain based condition that is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Symptoms may continue into adolescence and adulthood. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to poor school/work performance, poor social relationships and a general feeling of low self esteem.
The most prevalent symptoms of ADHD are inattention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Difficulties with concentration, mental focus, and inhibition of impulses and behaviors are chronic and pervasive and impair an individual’s daily functioning across various settings -- home, school or work, in relationships, etc.
It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of preschool and school age children have ADHD or approximately two million children in the United States. This means in a class of 25 to 30 students, it is likely that at least one student will have this common condition. ADHD begins in childhood, but it often lasts into adulthood. Studies estimate that 30-70 percent of children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adolescence and adulthood.
The exact cause of ADHD has not been determined; however the condition is thought to have a genetic and biological component. ADHD tends to occur among family members. Many research studies currently focus on identifying which genes, or combination of genes, may cause a person to be more susceptible to ADHD. Physical differences in parts of the brain are also thought to be linked to ADHD.
Genetics and heredity are the major risk factors, as ADHD tends runs in families. Brain abnormalities or structural differences have also been found in individuals with ADHD. Early brain injury/trauma or other impediment to normal brain development such as exposure to chronic low levels of lead, prematurity, obstetrical complications, cigarette smoke exposure in utero, and malnourishment can all result in a child being at greater risk for ADHD.
ADD versus ADHD - Understanding the Differences
Wondering about the differences between ADD and ADHD? ADD or attention deficit disorder is a general term frequently used to describe individuals that have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder without the hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. The terms are often used interchangeably for both those who do and those who do not have symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Symptoms of ADHD
Core symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, but these areas of difficulty can present very differently from person to person and across the lifespan. Parents of kids with ADHD and adults with ADHD share about symptoms that led to concerns.
5 Things Your Teen Needs to Know About ADHD
Being diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager can result in a wide range of feelings and reactions. Your teen may have a number of questions and even quite a few misperceptions about ADHD. Learning about ADHD, the unique way it impacts his or her life, and how to manage symptoms is often an ongoing process. Below are 5 things that your teen needs to know about having ADHD, especially if he or she has been recently diagnosed (and they are also good reminders for those who were diagnosed at younger ages or even as adults!).
1. Having ADHD Does Not Make You "Less Than"
You may have a range of emotions around your ADHD diagnosis. Adolescence is often a time when you are trying to figure out how you fit in, and so feeling "different" from one's peers can be quite painful. Social pressures are often strongly felt. For some kids, just getting through the day and avoiding embarrassment and social criticism is the objective. The teenage years can be awkward enough without having to deal with the stigma that is often associated with the ADHD diagnosis. Getting accurate information about ADHD is vital. ADHD does not make a person "damaged" or "defective" or "less than." It does create challenges, but challenges can be met and overcome with appropriate treatment and supports in place.
2. ADHD Can Affect People In Differing Ways
Not only are there different types of ADHD (the hyperactive/impulsive type, the inattentive type, and the combined type), but ADHD can look very different from person to person. Symptoms of ADHD and the way ADHD impacts one's life can also change as that person ages and moves through different life stages. Some people have symptoms that are only mildly impairing, while others have symptoms that can be severely impairing. Though there are common traits that people with ADHD share, such as difficulties with attention, self-regulation and inhibition, the way these traits show up in one's life can be quite varying.
It is also important to understand that symptoms of ADHD can be influenced by situational factors and one's environment. Stress, fatigue, poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and other poor health choices can negatively impact symptoms. On the flip side, regular exercise, quality sleep, good nutrition, positive supportive relationships with others, and a structured school and home environment -- these can be of great help in managing the impact of ADHD in your life.
3. Proper Treatment of ADHD Requires Ongoing Tweaking
The focus in treating ADHD is to help a person better manage symptoms, while addressing the underlying causative factors, therefore lessening the negative impact that ADHD can have in one's life and allowing areas of strengths to shine. By effectively treating the causes while managing symptoms, a person is better equipped to build on innate strengths and reach his or her full potential. Treatment for ADHD involves a multi-pronged approach and there are many strategies to incorporate into your life to help. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well balanced plan of treatment is warranted. Learning all you can about ADHD helps you to understand more about your own ADHD and how to best manage it.
Parent training and education about ADHD for the whole family is also an important component of treatment. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who uses a multifaceted approach can help you better manage this condition. Medication, behavior management, organizational strategies, lifestyle changes, school/work accommodations and modifications, exercise, problem solving and communication skills training, counseling, coaching -- many of these approaches are often part of a comprehensive treatment plan for managing symptoms of ADHD.
Keep in mind that there is no "one size fits all" approach regarding these strategies. That is why working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you to develop a specific treatment program is warranted. Treatment must be tailored to your individual needs and requires not only individualized strategies, but also ongoing tweaking and adjusting so that it works best for you. This is especially important to remember in regard to medication. Many people begin medication, only to stop when unwanted side effects occur or if the effectiveness of the medication seems to wane. Medication management is an ongoing process. Work closely with your Holistic Chiropractor and your medical doctor to make adjustments and fine-tune for optimal effectiveness.
4. ADHD Runs in Families
If you have ADHD, there is a good chance that others in your biological family may also have it. ADHD is a highly inherited condition, so it tends to run in families. Research continues to focus on identifying which genes or combination of genes may cause someone to be more susceptible to ADHD.
ADHD is something you are born with (in most cases), even if you have only recently been diagnosed as a teenager. Some kids who aren't diagnosed until adolescence are able to successfully manage challenges during the younger years. The teenage years bring on a whole new set of responsibilities and demands, however, so the impairments related to ADHD may become more obvious and more difficult to cope with and manage. If you were recently diagnosed as a teenager, this may be what happened with you. You, your family, and your teachers may not have recognized the ADHD until now.
Though you may have many complicated feelings about your diagnosis, knowing that you have ADHD is a good thing. With this information, you now understand what has been causing the problems and you can move forward in a solution-focused way. You are not alone. Many people have ADHD, and with proper treatment and support, you can successfully manage symptoms and reach your full potential.
5. It Is Important to Advocate For What You Need
Understanding what you need and learning to advocate for these things is an important part of growing up and becoming independent. Becoming an expert on your own ADHD takes time and is a continual learning process. When you understand how your ADHD comes into play at school, with peers, on sports teams and after-school activities, and at home and with family -- and you know what strategies can help reduce that impact -- then you can speak up for what you need before problems occur. This is called being "proactive." When you are proactive, you are anticipating where challenges might occur and getting strategies in place to help you to be more successful. Never use ADHD as an excuse.
Symptoms of ADHD can certainly create many challenges that you must learn to cope with and manage. Take charge of the things you can change and of the areas you have control over. Identify resources and accommodations that you need and connect with the people who can help provide support in reaching your goals. Working with your Holistic Chiropractor is a valuable resource for getting proper support for your ADHD. Appreciate that ADHD may be a life-long condition. Approximately, two thirds of teenagers with ADHD continue to experience significant symptoms into adulthood. Know that finding appropriate systems of support and asking for help is a great strength and can make your journey with ADHD a little easier.
What is involved in diagnosing ADHD? Lots of information must be gathered in order for the doctor or mental health professional to make the diagnosis of ADHD. A good portion of this information is obtained through clinical interviews. You will be asked to complete behavior checklists or questionnaires to give the professional more detailed information about the problematic behaviors. Further evaluations may occur through observation and psychological and educational testing. If your child is being evaluated, you and his teachers (or other important adults who observe your child's behavior in various settings) may be interviewed. A physical exam may be recommended in order to rule out any medical causes for the symptoms. A family medical history is also helpful.
Questions to Ask During the ADHD Evaluation Process
Could something else be causing the behavior problems?
Are there other medical or psychological conditions that may be the cause?
What about learning disabilities?
Are there any environmental or situational factors that may exacerbate the problem?
It is helpful to ask any questions that educate you and the doctor about what may be going on to cause the problematic behaviors. Once a diagnosis of ADHD is made you will have a list of additional questions related to treatment options, ADHD education, and support services.
Information to Have Available for the Health Care Provider During the ADHD Evaluation
Bring copies of any appropriate records such as medical, psychological, school/employment records. Bring copies of any previous evaluations. Be prepared to give a detailed developmental and social history including pregnancy and birth history. Have information available about any other involved professionals – physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, therapists, and teachers, including any special education teachers. Many health care providers will send you a questionnaire to complete before the appointment. Be sure to bring the completed forms with you to the appointment.
The most prevalent symptoms of ADHD are inattention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. These symptoms are typically seen early in a child’s life, often when he enters a school setting. Problematic behaviors may continue into adolescence and adulthood.
Possible Signs of ADHD
A diagnosis of ADHD requires that an individual meet the criteria requirements listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
When making a diagnosis of ADHD it is important for your treatment provider to rule out alternative causes or conditions that may be leading to the problematic behaviors. This is best done by a Holistic Chiropractor who can evaluate all the different causes associated with ADHD. It is also important to identify any coexisting conditions that may be present. These may include allergies, digestive concerns and any difficult emotional situations that are occurring in your child’s life.
Explaining ADHD to Your Child
Talking about and explaining ADHD to your child after he (or she) has been diagnosed can help remove the mystery surrounding the struggles he knows he's been having. It can also help a child feel a greater sense of control. The first time your child hears about ADHD may be when you sit down together with the doctor following the ADHD evaluation. It can be hard to take in all the information given during this meeting, and both you and your child may have lots of questions. Learning about ADHD is an ongoing process, and the positive ways in which you communicate and relate with your child will enable him to feel free coming to you for support and answers.
How to Approach Someone You Believe May Have ADHD
ADHD is not a shameful condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ADHD occurs in an estimated 3 to 5 percent of preschool and school age children. That means in a class of 25 to 30 students, it is likely that at least one student will have this common condition. ADHD begins in childhood, but it often lasts into adulthood. Studies estimate that 30-70 percent of children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adolescence and adulthood.
If someone you know is displaying symptoms of ADHD, talk to them and educate them about the condition. Symptoms can be treated with various therapies and many individuals with ADHD go on to live productive and happy lives. Actually, some of the most creative and innovative people also have symptoms of ADHD.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical Practice Guideline: Diagnosis and Evaluation of the Child with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics 105:1158-1170. May 2000.
American Academy of Pediatrics. ADHD and Your School Age Child. AAP Parent Pages. 2001.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, D.C. 2000
Alternative Treatments and Hope
There are many successful alternative treatments available for ADD/ADHD. Consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor, Homeopath or Naturopath who has experience in treating ADD/ADHD is important. Making sure to discuss their success and experience in treating ADD/ADHD is vital before beginning any treatment when considering this form of care. Finding one that will work with your medical doctor is necessary. Making sure to keep the overall health and well being of the child a priority is important when considering alternative treatment.To request an Action Plan to address What is ADD / ADHD? Click Here
Dr. Huntoon has a single mission:
To support as many people as possible in their quest for health and enable them to improve and maintain their health to the highest level possible, while educating them about the benefits of Chiropractic, Natural Healthcare and Holistic Living, so they in turn can teach others to support us having a healthy community.
Health concerns are a major source of lost happiness and lost joy in all of our lives. Finding a solution that is agreeable and enables you to get back to your life is important. Please appreciate that you always have the more invasive surgery and prescription medication available to you as a last resort. What many Traditional Medical Doctors may not share is, many times, once you begin that journey into medication and/or surgery, it alters your original body from the one that you were born with. Unfortunately, at that time, more conservative and natural treatments may no longer be viable. I encourage you to consider that before making any decisions about treatment for your health. As always I am here to help.
- Continue doing the same thing and nothing changes or it may get worse
- Try something different and get a different result that makes you happier and healthier.
The Choice is Yours
Please call Dr. Huntoon at 845-561-BACK (2225) to discuss your options or click on our E-Visit to do it via e-mail.
Thank You for your consideration.