Attention Deficit Disorder/ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / ADHD‍

What is ADD/ADHD?

It is primarily executive function deficits, which occur due to different brain structure and functioning in the frontal lobe, the area of the brain responsible for speech, decision-making, self-control and problem solving.  ADHD is a disorder marked by an on going pattern of inattention, distractibility, poor working memory, hyperactivity and impulsivity that interfere with functioning or development.  The condition is marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning and/or development.

What are the common symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD?

There are a wide range of behaviors associated with ADHD. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Trouble focusing, organizing, or concentrating on tasks
  • Difficulty initiating and/or completing tasks
  • Being easily distracted
  • Difficulty sitting still, squirms, fidgets
  • Recurrently interrupts others
  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Often forgets or loses things
  • Makes careless mistakes or takes unnecessary risks
  • Difficulty resisting temptation
  • Has trouble taking turns or getting along with others
  • Lack of follow through on instructions or managing multi-step tasks
  • Poor executive functioning skills
  • Impulsiveness, acts without thinking

How do I know if my child truly has ADHD or if his/her behavior is just being a kid or typical teen?

Generally, clinicians or doctors diagnose a child/teen with ADHD after they’ve had issues with hyperactivity or in attention for over 6 months and symptoms present in more than one setting (e.g., both at home and at school).  At any age, the key to diagnosing ADHD is determined by the significance of symptoms on their life.A detailed history, along with observations from your child’s teacher and a doctor’s physical exam are essential when diagnosing ADHD.  If needed, there are additional assessments that can supplement determining the correct diagnosis of your child’s symptoms.

As a parent, how can I help?

The good news is that there are a variety of treatment approaches to help tackle ADHD behaviors and help your child succeed!  ADHD treatment is considered“multimodal” and should be tailored to each child’s needs and circumstances. The initial treatment for ADHD is often focused on behavioral therapy, and school accommodations, and support. Once a diagnosis is made, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible as research suggests that individuals with ADHD are more vulnerable to future psychiatric illness due to ADHD’s adverse impact on educational performance, home-family life, self-esteem, peer interactions and relationships. This underscores the need for proactive and effective treatment options early in the ADHD disease process.

What are the recommended treatment approaches for ADD?

Behavioral therapy assists clients in managing their symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention.Therapists provide skill training, developing strategies for staying organized and focused. Other methods aim at decreasing the disruptive behaviors that gain negative attention for these children at school, with friends, and within their family.While behavioral therapy and educational approaches are effective, they may not be enough to manage your child’s ADHD. Medications may play an important role and are used to treat core symptoms of the disorder, such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  In addition to therapy and medication following a healthy lifestyle may help your child manage their ADHD symptoms better. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day
  • Healthy sleep hygiene, getting sufficient and quality sleep
  • Limit daily screen time from phones, computers, and TV

Studies have also shown that yoga, tai chi, and spending time outdoors can help calm overactive minds and may ease ADHD symptoms.Mindfulness meditation is another option that has shown to have positive effects on attention, thought processes, anxiety, and depression.  Lastly, avoiding certain allergens and food additives are also potential ways to help reduce symptoms.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day
  • Healthy sleep hygiene, getting sufficient and quality sleep
  • Limit daily screen time from phones, computers, and TV