ADD / ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder and its cohort, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, are the biggest health issue facing education today, effecting approximately four and half million children . What are the symptoms of ADHD? What are side effects of ADHD medication and what alternative treatments for ADHD are there? How does ADD / ADHD effect teens and adult?
ADD / ADHD Symptoms
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is defined by the DSM-IV, the diagnostic bible for mental health, as having six or more symptoms such as difficulty sustaining attention in tasks, difficulty organizing tasks and easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is ADD plus six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity such as often squirming in their seat, running about or climbing at inappropriate times, talking excessively and often interrupting others.
The difference between ADD and ADHD is sometimes subtle and it is not clear if there is an actual difference between the two. How much of the ADD / ADHD symptoms are due to a neurological problem and how much of ADHD is their Personality is debatable. In fact some people question whether ADHD exists?
ADD / ADHD symptoms in children often won't become problematic until they are seven or older. At this point their behaviour comes into conflict with a more formal school environment and any academic problems their symptoms cause become more apparent. The peak age for ADHD medication is between nine and twelve years old but can you spot ADHD in younger children? There is evidence of ADHD symptoms in infants.
ADD / ADHD Medication
The first treatment option most parents of ADHD children opt for is medication such as Ritalin or Adderall. These are stimulant based medications that keep the brain attentive in the same way that many people drink coffee to help them to focus. Though the medication is effective, Ritalin and Adderall side effects, though minor, are common. Longer term there is has been concern over link between ADHD medication and drug abuse.
Alternative Treatment to ADHD Medication
The problem with ADHD medication is that is does not treat ADHD, it just reduces the symptoms. This means that an ADHD child could face many years taking stimulants. The cost and worries over the long-term side effects of medication drive many parents to seek alternative treatments.
Natural ADHD treatments include using caffeine for ADHD, omega 3 supplements and using specific ADD / ADHD diets. There are also natural or alternative supplements for ADHD that range from well balance vitamin supplements to homeopathic treatments that are little more than water. Some ADHD treatments focus on the role of cerebellum. This area of the brain is important for balance & coordination as well as general control over thoughts and movements.
ADHD Teens and Adults
As the ADHD child matures, the impact of their problem changes. Teenagers and young adults with ADHD undertake more risky behaviors such as smoking, drug use and unsafe sex. Poor academic achievement or poor social skills often impact on adult ADHDer's employment prospects.
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