Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is also called ADHD is a disorder characterized by the inability to keep one’s attention focused on a single task at hand, trouble organizing multiple tasks, following through tasks or avoiding tasks that require one’s attention. Most of the time, ADHD includes problems with hyperactivity like fidgeting, fast and long talking and edginess which is often confused with impatience and rudeness.
If you are a person who finds concentrating, focusing, and sitting still really difficult and if you are having a hard time listening to others without interrupting, you may have ADHD. However, always remember that most of us act this way from time to time and not all of us are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For some people these symptoms are uncontrollable, and they effect their daily life in a negative way. Their ability to function or succeed in school, at home or at work becomes very difficult.
ADHD is sometimes referred as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) if there is no hyperactivity. There is usually no physical symptoms that can be tested to diagnose ADHD because most of its symptoms are mistaken with other physical or psychological disorders. It is unknown what causes ADHD but there is treatment and it is effective. There are many resources to manage ADHD behaviors and support the family members.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is commonly presented first during childhood. It is possible to be diagnosed with ADHD during adulthood but mostly because the diagnosis was missed during childhood. It happens when the symptoms are not shown enough to interfere with child’s development and child’s behavior is not significantly inattentive or hyperactive in comparison to his or her peers. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopment disorder and to be diagnosed, the symptoms need to be present before the age of 12. (Even if it is diagnosed as adult age by looking retrospectively to childhood symptoms).
The most effective treatment plan for ADHD is medication combined with therapy, which is focused on learning coping skills.
Skills-Based Therapy is found to be exceptionally effective with young children. This therapy type focuses on treating attention problems and help children develop skills to learn focusing and time management.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very helpful to change unhealthy habits and negative thought patterns, therefore it helps people with ADHD to reframe and retrain their thought processes.
Family Therapy is necessary to provide support to those parents who are aggravated with their children with ADHD. With family therapy, people can learn new ways to help and support each other and create open communication to minimize stress.
Your medical doctor may prescribe medication to control and manage your ADHD symptoms. ADHD medications often include stimulants such as methylphenidate and amphetamines. The main reason for this medication is to activate certain parts of your brain to support focused behavior. The stimulants increase the amounts of the dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to improve concentration and decrease fatigue. Non-stimulants affect the brain differently than these stimulants. Non-stimulants affect neurotransmitters and do not increase dopamine levels. If stimulants are not effective your doctor may prescribe non-stimulant medication. While these prescription drugs can improve concentration they also have side effects including, sleep problems, mood swings, appetite loss, depressive thoughts, etc. Please talk to your doctor about side effects of prescribed medication.
Changing your diet may lighten up your ADHD symptoms. Sodium benzoate which is found in soda drinks, salad dressings and fruit juices can increase hyperactive behaviors in some children. FD&C yellow No:6 food coloring which is usually in cereal, candy and icing should be avoided all together. Removing chemical additives and preservatives (potato chips and chewing gum) will help your children to cope with ADHD. Omega-3 supplements modestly improve ADHD symptoms in children as well. Some studies show promising results that yoga might be very helpful for people with ADHD since regular yoga helps improve hyperactivity, anxiety and social problems. Even outdoors activities and regular exercise will support any child or adult ADHD treatment.
Disclaimer: The comments and suggestions in this article are intended to be helpful in developing a treatment plan with the guidance of a physician. Please consult a medical doctor about which options would be best for you. Do not take any supplements or medicine without discussing the effects with your physician. The author is not responsible for any affects or the effectiveness of these treatments.
Elif Angel Raynor, MS., MIBA.
Elif Angel Raynor, MS., MIBA.
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
[email protected]
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