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ADHD Exists And It Should Be Treated With A Combination Of Treatments And Medication

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You keep losing keys, constantly forgetting deadlines or appointments or maybe you have problems managing your time and act impulsively in everyday situations.  You probably need a help of a health professional as you may have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and need professional treatment. 

Is ADHD Real?

Do you know someone who doubts that ADHD exists? Or do you perhaps, have doubts yourself?

According to all the major medical groups, like the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, ADHD is known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and such it is considered a real biological condition that should be treated. (1)

But What Precisely Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

It is a brain disorder that makes people unable to stay focused, pursue tasks until their very end, and concentrate. In addition, it makes them excessively active, often to the extent of restlessness.

People suffering from the disorder are unable to calmly go through a decision-making process but rather rush into hasty judgments and actions. As a result, of all of the above, they can be a burden to society.

However, many people out there, including researchers, some doctors, and therapists openly disagree. Some of them believe that the problem starts with the way the condition is diagnosed.

Actually, some skeptics believe it is an excuse for bad parenting in children and not being able to take responsibility as a grown-up rather than a real health condition.

These skeptics also question the high number of diagnosed cases in the United States, and the number is much bigger than in European countries.

Some doctors state that children are very often misdiagnosed as the number of diseases and different health conditions that may cause these symptoms are big, and this doesn’t mean that children have ADHD.

So, they think that adult ADHD is not a valid clinical diagnosis. On this end of the spectrum, there are many critics who believe that ADHD is just another social construct. One of them is Jerome Kagan, a renowned Harvard psychologist who has been loud about this subject and has expressed strong doubts about the neurological basis of ADHD in a few interviews. He describes this condition as an invented illness created by the psychiatrist as well as the pharmaceutical companies for their own interest.

Now, while some have openly agreed with him, some out there have completely rejected the idea that ADHD might indeed be just a socially constructed condition.

That is why it is important to focus on context, says Samuel Veissière, Ph.D., an anthropologist, cognitive scientist, and professor at McGill University in his article published in Psychology Today.

“Human realities are too complex to be fitted in extreme biological or social views. While current figures may be overblown, it is likely that a cognitive and mood style that resembles ADHD—impulsivity, high energy, rapid shifts in focus—may be normally distributed in the human population and manifest itself in different ways depending on the context.  Males, for example, are more impulsive than females on average, and are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.”

According to evolutionary scientists, one of the primary reasons for the ADHD epidemic is the highly inflexible and stressful environment in which we live and every day, struggle to adapt to. Let’s think about it. We live in the digital age. As much as the hyper-availability of information at any moment that is mainly provided by constant connection through mobile devices is helpful, it is also harmful. Especially when you take into consideration that the average attention span of 6-year-olds is 12 minutes. Therefore, it is essential that our selective inattention in a world overflown with information is perceived as us doing our best to adapt to it.

Research Proved That ADHD Is A Real Health Condition

There are some studies that suggest that ADHD is a real disease and it is related to changes in the production of the chemical dopamine in the brain.

One study found that one form of the dopamine receptor gene may increase the chances of this behavioral condition, and it can also improve its end result in the long run.

So, according to studies, this condition runs in the family, and if you have this gene, you may have an increased risk of getting ADHD. The researchers said that children who had this gene usually normalize as they get older and tend to be more intelligent. (2

One other study from 2008 found that ADHD can be related to the lower production of dopamine. The researchers studied children of 10 years of age, studied their MRI scans and their DNA, and found that the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) is related to ADHD, and this gene is linked with some parts of the brain that control the attention. 

Researchers have studied the children over the course of 6 years, and children with this gene had better results and improved their behavior in their teen period and can recover from ADHD more quickly. 

So this study also noted that ADHD is a hereditary disease with some predetermined genes and often can require medical and psychological treatment. (3

What Causes ADHD In Children?

Modern Lifestyle

Most researchers found that ADHD is an epidemic of modernity and the modern way of life. The modern lifestyle has an impact on the brain and having in mind that children today are dependent on instant messaging, TV shows, and video games, have busy lives, and it is very hard for them to accustom to the slow pace of the classroom and want to transfer the urgency they have at home to their scholarly endeavors. 

But, playing video games can also have positive effects and increase brain efficacy. It just needs to be played for 60 to 90 minutes per day, so most children reap all the benefits from it. 

Hereditary Factor

Another factor is the hereditary factor, already mentioned above in the article, but more research is needed to prove this as young brains are very supple and brain cells constantly make new connections, a process is known as ‘arborizing, according to health professionals. 

Still, it is very likely that it runs in families since: 

  • A child has an increased chance of getting ADHD if some of their family members have it by 4 times. 
  • 1/3 of the fathers who had ADHD when they were young have kids with ADHD. 
  • Most of the twins shared the ADHD trait. 

So, to prevent your child from ADHD, limit the children’s stay in front of the TV and in front of screens and do some low – pace activities such as gardening and cooking. 

Alcohol And Drugs During Pregnancy

Professional healthcare practitioners also advise mothers to have a healthy pregnancy and not to indulge in alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes when pregnant since this can also increase the risk of having ADHD. 

What Causes ADHD In Adults?

It is very important to recognize the symptoms of ADHD and treat this condition if you have it. In addition, it is also important to recognize what causes it and make some necessary lifestyles if needed: 

Lack of sleep 

Lack of sleep may lead to poor concentration, reaction time, and comprehension in adults and children and can also make a child hyperactive. 

Food and additives 

Some types of food may worsen the symptoms of ADHD, so you can pay attention to the foods to the food you take as some foods such as sugars and fat may worsen the symptoms, while protein, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B may alleviate the symptoms. 

Stress

Too much stress may affect your daily life activities, and you may find it difficult to focus a person with ADHD who is under stress will even have more difficulty focusing and filtering out the excess stimuli.

Overstimulation

If you are bombarded with overwhelming sounds and voices from crowded venues and amusement parks, this may trigger ADHD symptoms.

10 Most Common ADHD Symptoms

Almost everyone may have ADHD symptoms at some point during their life, but if the symptoms are persistent or cause you problems with your everyday activities, it is best to trace them in childhood.

Actually, ADHD symptoms may appear in childhood and continue to adulthood and even in some cases, this condition can be diagnosed just in adults when the hyperactivity may decrease, but difficulty with paying little attention and impulsiveness continue to appear.

So, in adults, the main symptoms would be restlessness and impulsiveness, which will range from mild to severe. However, many adults aren’t aware of this condition, and they just find everyday life challenging and may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in focusing on a task
  • Making impulsive decisions
  • Problems with finishing tasks on time and meeting deadlines
  • Mood swings and anxiety
  • Problems with planning and coping with stress
  • Organization problems and low time management skills
  • Hot temper
  • Impatience and inability to control impulses
  • Feeling restless and uneasy
  • Having chaotic environments

How Does ADHD Affect Person’s Everyday Life?

When you have ADHD, you will probably have problems limiting your behavior. ADHD will affect your life in the following way:

  1. Most people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder and worry too much. So when you treat your ADHD symptoms, you will also treat your anxiety disorder.
  2. Disrupt your internal clock, called the circadian rhythm and you will struggle with falling asleep or getting out of bed regularly.
  3. You will be very distracted and forget things and have problems with focus, and this may lead to missed deadlines at work, and school, and losing some personal objects.
  4. You will become a screen addict – you will have difficulties focusing, but when it comes to screens, the constant change of graphics and images will get your attention.
  5. Hard to control emotions and becoming tactless and interrupt other people’s conversation,
  6. Poor listening and comprehensive skills, which leads to misunderstanding and missed appointments, and problems with organizing and dealing with adulthood problems.
  7. Compulsive eating and the inability to control your behavior by excessive eating ( this is an example of raising your dopamine level).
  8. Alcohol and drug misuse and overuse
  9. Felling constantly under stress may lead to heart and other health problems like diabetes and muscle tension
  10. Employment and school problems are caused by disorganization, not being able to focus and be attentive.

7  Types Of ADHD

Treatment of ADHD depends on the diagnosis and diagnosis techniques that sometimes include scans of the blood flow and brain activity patterns. 

In fact, diagnosis of ADHD can be sometimes difficult as there 7 ADHD types: 

  1. Classic ADD ( caused by dopamine deficiency and medically treated with stimulating medications like Ritalin and supplements such as Fish Oil, Green tea, Ginseng, and other supplements).
  2. Inattentive ADD ( caused by low activity in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine deficiency, treated with stimulant medications like Concerta and a lower-carbohydrate diet; regular exercise and other stimulating exercises and medications).
  3. Limbic ADD (caused by increased activity in the limbic part of the brain and decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex and treated with antidepressants such as Imipramine, fish oil, special diet, etc.). 
  4. Ring of Fire ADD (“ADD plus”) (in this case, the entire brain is hyperactive and stimulants are not recommended and for the medications, anticonvulsants, and the blood pressure drugs guanfacine and clonidine are recommended).
  5. Temporal Lobe ADD ( caused by abnormalities in the temporal lobe, which can be treated with Amino acid GABA to calm the brain activity, magnesium, and anticonvulsant medications to help with anxiety and irritability).
  6. Anxious ADD (caused by increased activity in the basal ganglia treated with calming supplements such as relora, magnesium, holy basil s L-theanine, and antidepressants.
  7. Over-focused ADD ( caused by serotonin and dopamine deficiency, treated with supplements such as 5 – HTP and L-tryptophan, and antidepressants like Cymbalta).

Three Subtypes Of ADHD

There are 3 subtypes of ADHD that should be properly diagnosed :

ADHD – hyperactive & impulsive

7 % of adults have this type of ADHD. The main symptoms are:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity 

Sometimes people diagnosed with this type of ADHD can also have problems with inattention. 

ADHD – inattentive

33% of adults have this type of ADHD. The main symptoms include:

  • Difficulties to stay focused
  • Difficulties in finishing the daily activities
  • Easily distracted by sounds and sights

ADHD –combined 

About 60 % of adults have this type of ADHD, and it is a combination of both types of ADHD, as the name suggests. 

So, What Is The Solution To The ADHD Problem?

According to many researchers, including Kagan, the process of concluding if someone is mentally ill should be more thorough and precise.  Instead of putting a child or a young person on drugs; psychologists should work on defining the reasons that cause sadness and anxiety. This practice of diagnosing someone only on the basis of symptoms opens the door for many new illnesses, such as bipolar disorder.

That is why today we have more than a million Americans under the age of 19 defined as bipolar. Psychologists have started classifying every child with changes in temper as mentally ill, and again, pharmaceutical companies immediately accept the novelty and new drugs are on the way.

So, as Kegan advises, instead of putting a child on drugs, find him a tutor to help him in school and spend time with him/her to help them overcome their obstacles since their earliest appearance.

Below are 5 simple tips that professor Samuel Paul Veissière Ph.D. have found effective in helping children and highly suggests:

1. Shift attention and expectations toward strengths and growth.

2. Use peer-mentoring to increase pride and confidence.

3. Be consistent in enforcing consequences.

4. Limit time with electronics to a minimal, predictable schedule.

5. Spend time outdoors, and allow for unstructured, resilience-building play.

Source: WebMD / Psychology Today