month of february
Discover ADHD / ADD
What is ADHD/ADD?
According to the WebMD
ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.
ADDITUDE: Inside the ADHD Mind
In its 2016 study, the CDC found that 3.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
Teens drivers diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be in a traffic accident, be issued traffic and moving violations, and engage in risky driving behaviors.14
Up to 27 percent of adolescents with substance abuse disorder have comorbid ADHD.15
Adolescents with ADHD clash with their parents about more issues than do adolescents without ADHD.16
Male high-school students with ADHD are more likely to experience problems with attendance, GPA, homework, and more. Male teens with ADHD miss school 3 to 10 percent of the time; are between 2.7 and 8.1 times more likely to drop out of high school; fail 7.5 percent of their courses; and have GPAs five to nine points lower than those of male teens without ADHD.17
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) - causes, symptoms & pathology
ARTICLES ABOUT ADHD / ADD
ADHD / ADD
How Neurotransmitters Work In ADHD Brains
Before I tell you about these special brain chemicals, let me explain a bit about brain anatomy.
There are millions of cells, or neurons, densely packed into various regions of the brain. Each region is responsible for a particular function. Some regions interact with our outside world, interpreting vision, hearing, and other sensory inputs to help us figure out what to do and say. Other regions interact with our internal world — our body — in order to regulate the function of our organs.
For the various regions to do their jobs, they must be linked to one another with extensive “wiring.” Of course, there aren’t really wires in the brain. Rather, there are myriad “pathways,” or neural circuits, that carry information from one brain region to another.
Information is transmitted along these pathways via the action of neurotransmitters (scientists have identified 50 different ones, and there may be as many as 200). Each neuron produces tiny quantities of a specific neurotransmitter, which is released into the microscopic space that exists between neurons (called a synapse), stimulating the next cell in the pathway — and no others.
How does a specific neurotransmitter know precisely which neuron to attach to, when there are so many other neurons nearby? Each neurotransmitter has a unique molecular structure — a “key,” if you will — that is able to attach only to a neuron with the corresponding receptor site, or “lock.” When the key finds the neuron bearing the right lock, the neurotransmitter binds to and stimulates that neuron.
Neurotransmitter Deficiencies In ADHD Brains
Brain scientists have found that deficiencies in specific neurotransmitters underlie many common disorders, including anxiety, mood disorders, anger-control problems, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
ADHD was the first disorder found to be the result of a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter — in this case, norepinephrine — and the first disorder found to respond to medications to correct this underlying deficiency. Like all neurotransmitters, norepinephrine is synthesized within the brain. The basic building block of each norepinephrine molecule is dopa; this tiny molecule is converted into dopamine, which, in turn, is converted into norepinephrine.
A Four-Way Partnership
ADHD seems to involve impaired neurotransmitter activity in four functional regions of the brain:
Frontal cortex. This region orchestrates high-level functioning: maintaining attention, organization, and executive function. A deficiency of norepinephrine within this brain region might cause inattention, problems with organization, and/or impaired executive functioning.
Limbic system. This region, located deeper in the brain, regulates our emotions. A deficiency in this region might result in restlessness, inattention, or emotional volatility.
Basal ganglia. These neural circuits regulate communication within the brain. Information from all regions of the brain enters the basal ganglia, and is then relayed to the correct sites in the brain. A deficiency in the basal ganglia can cause information to “short-circuit,” resulting in inattention or impulsivity.
Reticular activating system. This is the major relay system among the many pathways that enter and leave the brain. A deficiency in the RAS can cause inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity.
These four regions interact with one another, so a deficiency in one region may cause a problem in one or more of the other regions. ADHD may be the result of problems in one or more of these regions.
HOW DOES TREATMENT HELP?
The symptoms of ADHD (also known as ADD) don’t just impact learning. They can also create difficulties in everyday life with friends and family.
So how is ADHD treated? There are a number of treatments available for ADHD, in addition to medication. Some kids respond best to one kind of treatment. Other kids may do best with a different treatment or combination of treatments. Together with your child’s doctor, you can come up with an ADHD treatment plan that’s tailored to meet your child’s needs.
For many kids, medication is key to ADHD management. Experts largely agree that it’s the most effective form of treatment for most kids with ADHD. Medication works well for around 80 percent of the kids who take it, if the type and dosage is carefully tailored to them. But medication may not be right for all kids and families.
For some kids, ADHD medications can have side effects. These usually go away after a few days. If not, the prescriber will probably suggest trying a different medication to see if that will work better. Or she might recommend changing from a stimulant to a non-stimulant, or vice versa.
Watch as an expert talks about the importance of treating ADHD in children, and various ADHD treatment options.
Therapies for ADHD
Kids and families affected by ADHD often find it helpful to work with a mental health professional. It’s important to base the type of therapy you choose on what your child and family need. Here are some options.
Behavior therapy: One of the goals of behavior therapy is to change negative behaviors into positive ones. It often involves using a rewards system at home. This type of therapy is helpful for some kids with ADHD, and is often used along with medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is a type of talk therapy. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to get kids to think about their thoughts, feelings and behavior. It’s not specifically for ADHD, but it may be helpful for some kids.
In part, CBT helps kids replace negative thoughts with ones that are more realistic and positive. It also helps kids build self-esteem, which tends to be negatively affected by ADHD.
CBT is effective for treating anxiety and depression. Anxiety and/or depression occur in about 50 percent of people with ADHD.
Social skills groups: For some kids, ADHD symptoms can make it hard to socialize. Kids may talk nonstop or have trouble thinking before they speak. They may also have trouble managing their emotions. Joining a social skills group run by a professional can help kids learn and practice important skills for interacting with others.
Other Non-Medication Treatment Options for ADHD
There are other non-medication treatment options that have some research backing. Research has shown these alternative treatments to be somewhat helpful in relieving ADHD symptoms. These treatments and therapies include exercise, outdoor activities, omega supplements, mindfulness and changes in diet.
There are also alternatives some parents try that aren’t backed by research. These include over-the-counter (OTC) supplements and “train the brain” games. It’s important to know that OTC supplements are not regulated by law.
Support in School for ADHD
There are a number of classroom accommodations that can help kids with ADHD. These include things like getting extended time on tests, being seated at the front of the classroom and having permission to get up and move during class. You can also talk to your child’s teacher about trying informal supports.
A behavior intervention plan (BIP) might be helpful for some kids with ADHD. This plan outlines steps teachers take to stop problem behaviors at school. A BIP also explains how teachers and the school will encourage appropriate behavior.
Ways to Help at Home
There are many strategies you can try to help your child with ADHD at home. Learn about different professionals who help kids with ADHD. And find out what to do if your child was recently diagnosed with ADHD.
BOOKS THAT EFFECTIVELY PORTRAY ADHD / ADD
fish in a tree
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
"Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike."
hyper: a personal video history of adhd
by Timothy Denevi
"The first book of its kind about what it’s like to be a child with ADHD, Hyper is a “haunting narrative that explores the world’s most scrutinized childhood condition from the inside out” (Nature) that also illuminates the history of how we came to medicate more than four million children today.
Among the first generation of boys prescribed medication for ADHD in the 1980s, Timothy Denevi took Ritalin at the age of six and suffered a psychotic reaction. Thus began his long odyssey through a variety of treatments. In Hyper, Denevi describes how he made his way to adulthood, knowing he was a problem for those who loved him, longing to be able to be good and fit in, and finally realizing he had to come to grips with his disorder before his life spun out of control. Using these experiences as a springboard, Denevi also traces our understanding and treatment of ADHD from the nineteenth century, when bad parenting and even government conspiracies were blamed, through the twentieth century and drug treatments like Benzedrine, Ritalin, and antidepressants. His insightful history shows how drugs became the treatment of choice for ADHD, rather than individually crafted treatments like the one that saved his life."
CELEBRITIES WHO ADVOCATE
"'I simply couldn’t sit still, because it was difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time,' Phelps recalls in Beneath the Surface. 'I had to be in the middle of everything.'
That was especially difficult at home. When he was 7, Phelps’ parents divorced. He says, 'As I began to grasp that my dad would be away for a long time, I needed something that could grab my attention.'"
"When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.
'I was diagnosed with ADHD twice,' Knowles said. 'I didn’t believe the first doctor who told me, and I had a whole theory that ADHD was just something they invented to make you pay for medicine, but then the second doctor told me I had it.'"
"What is ADHD? ADHD and ADD are synonymous terms used to describe when a child displays symptoms related to not being able to pay attention or is overly active and impulsive. Find more videos at http://osms.it/more."
What is the difference between ADHD / ADD?
According to the ADDITUDE
Traditionally, inattentive symptoms of attention deficit like trouble listening or managing time were diagnosed as "ADD." Hyperactive and impulsive symptoms were associated with the term "ADHD."
Today, there is no ADD vs. ADHD; ADD and ADHD are considered subtypes of the same condition and the same diagnosis.