The week of October 18th-22nd was ADHD awareness week. For the busy multi-tasking mom accused of having attention deficit by an equally busy spouse or frustrated child, ADHD is treated as a figure of speech, like a descriptive adjective phrase, at best. However loosely the term is used, ADHD is an illness that approximately two million American children exhibit and is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fourth Edition. Roughly half will have the disorder in adulthood. The Health and Well-Being of Children: A Portrait of States and the Nation 2007, July 2009 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 6.4% of children reported ADD/ADHD nationally. That represents a lot of kids in any school district.
Here is one example: As a toddler, David was unusually active. ‘Hyper’, his mother said, exasperated. He flew down the banister rail into a bucket of floor cleaning solution while playing ‘cowboy’, spilling the mess everywhere and getting it in his face and all over his clothes. The same week, he crawled under the bed to bite the cat back, except the ‘tail’ was actually an electric cord and he suffered a shock to his lip which required stitches.
When mom was not fast enough to pour him a drink, he crawled onto the kitchen table, emptied the flowers and took a sip. By week’s end that Spring, he plucked all the emerging flower buds off, calling them ‘dirty bugs’, stomping them into the pavement, and managed to shatter the glass patio storm door just touching it. The pre-school teacher reported that he seemed to have difficulty paying attention, and completing tasks that other kids were mastering. ‘He’s really bright, but can’t seem to focus,’ she’d said. The problem seemed to escalate in adolescence and young adulthood. As an adult, he made several job changes and couldn’t seem to ‘stick with things’ or follow-through.
There are different types of the ADHD disorder, ‘inattentive’ and ‘hyperactive/ impulsive’. The hyperactive type may exhibit some of the following symptoms: fidgeting, restlessness, trouble being quiet, seem to have a sense of perpetual movement, chatter, spout answers without being asked, don’t take turns and interrupt other people. The inattentive type: appears to neglect details or exhibit sloppiness, appears not to hear when spoken to, have trouble focusing on tasks at hand, doesn’t finish work, has trouble being organized, doesn’t follow-through, tends to misplace things, get distracted and often forgets- as reported by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (See link)
Combined types exist too or in tandem with another disorder such as bi-polar, oppositional defiant, depression, anxiety, conduct, or a learning disability. Visit the NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness site, http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Attention-Deficit_Hyperactivity_… for more information.
ADHD may be biologically-based or genetic with different brain chemicals at work. Some speculate there are environmental factors which may have altered fetal development, such as smoking during pregnancy. ADHD can be treated in a number of ways.
Medication such as Adderall or Ritalin might be used. Diet might be considered, with a reduction in refined sugar intake. Sometimes, what a parent suspects might be ADHD isn’t at all. Its recommended a professional evaluation be done which will examine and measure many interconnected specifics over time with specific tools .
Here are some videos which offer further insight into ADHD.:
NIMH.gov offers a YouTube video on ADHD, Signs, Symptoms, and Research with Dr. Ben Vitello. Vitello says 5% of children may suffer from ADHD.
Ehowhealth offers 19 videos with a licensed counselor, the first posted 3/16/2009, and covers ADHD from a clinical standpoint.
Howcast.com has a video, “How to Recognize ADHD Symptoms in Children”
. . . and there are several videos from a parental perspective.
One often finds ADD/ADHD linked with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) or a Conduct Disorder. (See Pomegranate Clinical Director Demetra Taylor’s previous blog interview). Pomegranate Nurse Melody B. says, ‘A lot of kids have ADHD. Depression can appear as ADHD in a child. A lot of times common stimulants given for ADHD can cause an increase in anger and aggression. Its a delicate balance, and you have to have an experienced psychiatrist to know what you’re looking at to treat the condition most effectively.”
[photo: Wikimedia Commons image Creative Commons 2.0 permissions granted]