ADHD Medications, ADHD Diet, and Alternative Treatments
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ADHD : What is "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" ?
ADHD is a neuro-biological disorder that impacts nearly10% of children and teens today. ADHD is not the result of bad parenting, or too much T.V., or a lack of either discipline or love by parents. While any or all of these may be problems, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" is a genetically based condition.. "ADHD" has neurological and biological roots. There are very strong genetic factors that influence both brain function and development. There are also other potential contributing factors that might cause one to acquire ADHD problems, such as brain injuries received either in utero, or after birth, or high fevers from infections, and so on.
ADHD impacts individuals in four main areas of their life:
Inattention - ADHD causes people to have problems paying attention to routine or boring tasks, or to stay focused on a task long enough to finish the task, especially if the task is not very interesting. The person might be able to focus on interesting projects or entertainment such as video games for long periods of time, but it is the boring tasks of life that are very difficult.
Impulsivity - Often ADHD causes a lack of self-control. Impulsive behaviors or choices can cause havoc in relationships, work, school, or life. Saying things, or doing things without thinking first is a pretty classic symptom of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in both children and adults.
Hyperactivity - About half of those with ADHD are "bouncy" like Tigger, hyperactive, always "on the go," and restless. The standard line is that they act as if they are "driven by a motor." Another good description is "excessive, non-goal directed, motor activity."
Easily Bored - Unless the task is very stimulating, like a video game or TV program or outside playing, those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are often easily bored by a task - especially bored by homework, math tests, balancing checkbooks, or doing taxes, and many of these tasks just never get done.
How Will the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) Impact Your ADHD Child's Doctor?
Now that the ACA has passed the Supreme Court both doctors and patients need to start gearing up for the changes that will be coming to our healthcare system within the next year or two. Those that wait until the last second to consider the changes will be the most surprised when they come. Parents, it is time for you to have a conversation with your physician about his or her plans for the next year or two. Will they remain in practice? Will they sell their practice to a larger corporation? If so, how might that impact your ADHD child's treatment? If you begin thinking about these possible changes now, you won't be caught off guard when the actual reality changes 12 to 18 months from now.
Each of the interventions listed above will help those with problems with attention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, school or learning problems, and so on, to one degree or another. Each is fairly effectice.
Each individual will benefit greatly, a "day and night difference," from one or two of the listed interventions - but not from every listed intervention. Not everybody responds well to medication, or biofeedback, or diet, or Attend. But most respond well, and some see a "day and night" improvement. Read more about ADHD Treatment Options
ADHD is not only over diagnosed, but it is often mis-diagnosed, according to a recent study out of Germany. According to this research, many child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists in Germany have a picture in their heads of what an "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder "child or teen looks like, or acts like, and then a child or teen that fits that picture gets the diagnosis. In this process actual diagnostic criteria takes a back seat to “experience” or “heuristics.”
But does this mean that ADHD is being “over diagnosed” because of poor diagnostic criteria, or due to poor diagnostic tools? No. Rather the problem is in the lack of using either diagnostic criteria or diagnostic tools. The reason for “over diagnosis” of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is sloppy diagnostic workups by these professionals.
But the study was a little sloppy too. It draws “real world” conclusions from “pretend” or “theoretical” situations. No one examined actual patients or even their charts. So how do they know that in the "real world" that ADHD is being over diagnosed? The answer is that they don't. But they do have a better understanding of the process that busy professionals use in interpreting "case vignettes" that may or may not be Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The study was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology by researchers from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum and University of Basel. The researchers contacted 1,000 professionals who diagnose ADHD as either psychiatrists or psychotherapists in Germany, and nearly 500 responded. They were sent case vignettes which included a set of symptoms and circumstances, and they were asked to offer their theoretical diagnosis. Some of the vignettes met the criteria for ADHD, but most did not (but may have been close). Read more about ADHD Over-Diagnosed? Recent Study Says "Yes"
Attend, Ritalin, and EEG Biofeedback Training Compared
Parents are very concerned about the treatment interventions available to their children or teenagers who have been diagnosed with ADHD. And there is no doubt that the information on the internet can be confusing as everybody has their own agendas. The pharmaceutical companies hate the alternative treatments, and do what they can to bad talk them or even get the FDA to restrict them. And the manufacturers of alternative medicines, or the providers of alternative treatments are often just as opposed to medications being used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The friction is often more philosophical than even financial, as the physicians, psychologists, and researchers doing the arguing can all make money in their practices anyway.
Do medicines work? Yes. They just need to be carefully prescribed and monitored. We actually like Ritalin as a treatment. Ritalin is time tested and works for many with ADHD, and when properly and carefully used will help most people. Other stimulant medications can work as well. Do medications work for everybody? No. But the right medication with the right person will bring about a "day and night" improvement in that person, and with limited side effects. But badly chosen, badly prescribed, or badly monitored, and medications can be a nightmare, or worse. They are not toys to be played with.
ADHD medications have made important improvements. Over the past ten years the greatest advances in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medicines has not been the development of some wonder drug, though some good medications have been developed. Rather the biggest advances in ADHD medicine has been the improvement and greater variety of the delivery systems of time tested and valuable drugs for the disorder.
Now the time tested medication methylphenidate for ADHD comes in four different delivery forms:
And the newest development in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication also begins with the letter “P”. The development of the Pro-Drug Vyvanse is also a good step forward.
Pills are still in use for Ritalin and a few other forms of methylphenidate, but they are best suited for shorter acting doses of medications. But a three to four hour dose of Ritalin creates problems for an ADHD child in school having to get to the second dose at lunch. So the “holy grail” of stimulant development has always been an effectively released long lasting dosing mechanism. Read more about ADHD Medications : Recent Advances