Facts About ADHD

ADHD is sometimes a debilitating disorder. Research has not found a definite cause but it is a treatable problem.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are disorders that children can experience.  Some children do not overcome the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and they are carried over into adulthood.  Home, school, work, and relationships may suffer due to the extreme symptoms that many suffer from with this disorder.

New Findings

New studies that are being conducted on mouse DNA has indicated that a single change in the DNA string of these mice effectively causes ADD/ADHD.  The mice with the altered DNA have brain cells that move more quickly than those of the un-altered mice.  This is promising new information for doctors who treat children and adults who suffer from this occasionally debiliting set of disorders.

In addition to the DNA findings, researchers have found that when they administer the ADHD stimulant drugs that the brain cells calm down.

Other Findings

Scientists have recently determined that ADHD is more prevalent in pre-term births.  Children who are born prematurely have a 30% to 50% greater risk of becoming ADD/ADHD positive, depending on how early the child is in comparisson to full gestation.  New tests and studies have included complete family history including siblings; one who suffers from ADHD and was premature compared with a full-term sibling who does not suffer.  The researchers do wish to convey to parents, however, that prematurity is not a definitive cause of ADD/ADHD and it is likely that their premie baby will not suffer from any attention deficit disorders.  

Medication to Treat ADD/ADHD

Medications that are prescribed to treat ADD/ADHD can help calm a child down so that they can function within societal norms at home, school, and play.  Side effects do need to be considered when giving a child medications, especially since they still have developing brains.

Side Effects

  • Low appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Sleep problems

Less Common Side Effects

  • Heart problems
  • Liver problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

Dealing with the common side effects has been advised as well.  

  • For decreased appetite it is advised that the child be fed before they take their medication so that they will be able to eat a healthy breakfast.  Additionally serve a hearty dinner, as the medication is wearing off for the day and the child will likely be able to eat an adequate amount of food to provide nutritional quality to their diet.
  • For stomach pain, it is suggested that the medication not be given on an empty stomach.  The acids in the stomach, combined with the ADD/ADHD medication may cause nausea, but food in the stomach will help to buffer the strength of the acid with the medication.
  • Sleep problems can be relieved by ensuring that a set sleeping schedule is followed.  Relaxation exercises or a warm bath before bed can also help to calm the mind and help the child to sleep.

Alternative Treatment

There are suggested alternatives to medication treatment for the control and maintenance of a child with ADD/ADHD.  Diet has been found to help reduce the excitability of the child.  Some studies are beginning to make a connection between sugar and ADD symptoms although there is controversy over the topic.  It is not a terrible idea to choose to reduce sugar consumption in any child for health and dietary reasons.  ADHD is not caused by sugar but because of the way that a body absorbs these carbohydrates into the blood system and the increased activity that is caused by this absorption, reducing or removing processed sugars from the diet should gain the ADD child better behavior.

Following are a list of several suggestions for alternative treatment.

  • Reduce or remove processed sugar
  • Reduce or remove artificial sweetners, colors and flavors
  • Avoid foods that contain preservatives
  • Counseling the child to learn alternative methods of behaving
  • Interactive Metronome training: train the child to follow a rhythmic pattern to calm their impulses

Adult ADHD

Children are not the only ones that suffer from ADD/ADHD.  Adults can carry this disorder from their childhood into their adult lives.  Many times an adult who suffers from ADD is not even aware of it.  ADHD is not like other mental disorders that adults develop, like depression or PTSD.  It develops in childhood and carries on into adulthood.  

Symptoms of Adult ADHD

  • Organizational problems
  • Driving problems, traffic accidents
  • Relationship problems
  • Easily distracted
  • Unable to listen well
  • Trouble getting relaxed
  • Trouble starting new projects
  • Inability to be on time for appointments
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Trouble with prioritizing

Regardless of the symptoms and solutions, only a qualified physician or other health care professional can accurately diagnose ADHD in adults.  Never consider that self-evaluations are definitive.  The symptoms and behaviors of ADHD in an adult are different than those in a child, and may be an indicator of another more serious mental problem.  Consult your physician if you experience the above symptoms.

*disclaimer*

The information contained in this article is basic introductory information.  In order to find out more about ADD/ADHD and Adult ADHD, consult your physician or review articles like the one referenced here:  http://www.webmd.com

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John Smither
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Posted on May 2, 2011