Got ADHD? – Strategies And Special Tools Can Make A Difference!

More than 4. 5 million school-aged children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). It is estimated that even more adults may be affected by attention deficiencies. As many as 8 million adults are estimated to be challenged by some form of ADD. In addition, research indicates that up to 60% of children with ADHD still experience symptoms well into adulthood. It is also believed that ADHD is a genetic disorder. Approximately 35% of parents of children with ADHD also have the disorder themselves.

Very often, the management of these attention disorders involves only prescribed medications, which are invasive and can cause serious side effects, especially in children. Before immediately resorting to these prescribed drugs, it could very well be in the best interests of every individual affected with attention issues to consider other alternatives, especially those that would be non-invasive.

For Children — First of all, developing a good working relationship with a child's teacher for ongoing, constructive communication is essential. Respectfully requesting helpful configurations for the child in the classroom can result in significant improvement for that child. The use of individual learning or reading tools can also help that child to enjoy more success in school on a daily basis.

For Adults — Requesting or creating configurations for one's working environment is key to an adult's success when challenged with ADD. There are numerous tips that when followed, can improve an individual's productivity in the workplace in spite of the struggles often associated with ADD.

Here are just a few strategies to consider in order to promote greater success for either a child or adult affected by ADD or ADHD:

Strategies For Persons Challenged With ADD / ADHD

Politely request or allow for:

1. Being located in close proximity to a teacher or other presenter.

2. Having a second set of books for working at home.

3. Using graph paper while doing any math or bookkeeping work. This can help promote placeholder accuracy.

4. Having a course or any book content available via audiotape or CD.

5. Using a portable, hand-held spell checker or computer for work with unknown words.

6. Using interactive, computer reading programs that require only a limited number of tasks at a time.

7. Underlining or highlighting important key words in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an assignment or task.

8. Folding a worksheet or list of instructions into sections so that only a small amount of text or information is visible at one time.

9. Having the opportunity to move to optional work areas with less distraction.

10. Experiencing a variety of sensory learning techniques such as those from the use of a computer, tape recorder, overhead projector, and manipulatives.

11. Using word processors or computers to complete written work.

12. Kneeling or standing by one's desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for others.

13. Having access to a copy of a peer or co-worker's notes, especially after a lecture or other oral presentation.

14. Using very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work — At the same time, this can benefit others as well; however, the individual or others may prefer that headphones be used.

15. Working cooperatively at times with others as part of a "buddy" system of support.

16. Using special reading and learning tools, especially tools that can be customized for the individual reader or learner.

ADHD – A Deceptive Diagnosis

Attention Deficit Disorder, otherwise known as ADD, has evolved over the years. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) identifies three main characteristics of the disorder: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. While ADD stresses the inattention behavior, ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) includes all three of the categories. The DSM-IV lists the following symptoms of the illness:

Inattention:
1. Often makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, and other activities
2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
8. Is often easily distracted by extraterrestrial stimuli
9. Is often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity
1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in their seat
2. Often leaves their seat in the classroom
3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate
4. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
5. Is often on the go or often acts as if driven by a motor
6. Often talks excessively

Impulsivity
1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
2. Often has difficulty awaiting their turn
3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others

The DSM-IV provides a good description of the behavior but does not offer an explanation. The lists are helpful as it focuses our attention on certain behaviors. Unfortunately, it assumes that the problem has to do with a genetic disorder when it actually is character.

There are numerous biological theories that attempt to explain ADD or ADHD but as of date, there are no medical tests to detect its existence. Many in the biblical and Christian counseling arena believe that ADHD is a spiritual problem. In a recently leased book by Dr. David Tyler and Dr. Kurt Grady titled, ADHD: Deceptive Diagnosis, they claim that a child's lack of self-discipline, self-control, and self-motivations, disobedience, and bad attitudes are excused as a disease.

Both the physical and spiritual areas must be taken seriously. If one believes that ADD or ADHD is a spiritual problem, you can not ignore the spiritual aspects of ADHD, ie, repentance, faith, and obedience. Also, if you ignore the physical or cerebral related strengths and weaknesses, the child will become frustrated due to your unrealistic expectations.

Physical problems such as strengths or weaknesses obviously impact behavior. In a child labeled ADHD, the physical strengths could include a high energy level, creativity, risk taking, and an extroverted personality. Physical problems could be poor memory, cognitive problem solving, inability to establish priorities, etc.

Our spiritual essence is frequently discarded when discussing ADHD. By spiritual, I mean that humans are creatures of God who live before Him in all aspects of our lives. We constantly make choices as to whether we will trust God or submit to our own desires. Spiritual problems can be identified by determining if the particular behavior violates God's law. If it does, then the behavior can be classified as a spiritual problem.

Parents need to exercise caution when their children disobey parental commands. Although the Bible clearly states that children are to obey their parents, what if the child did not understand or remember the instruction? Lack of understanding or forgetfulness may not be a sin unto itself. Parents should ensure that they have given instructions that are clearly understood.

If your child lives on the edge of extreme impulsivity, hyperactivity, and distractibility, you will discover that they are also prone to certain sins. ADHD kids seem to specialize in the following spiritual problems: difficulties in persevering when things are difficult or boring, talking before listening, not doing what they say they will do, slowness in learning from past experience, slowness in seeking advice, poor self-control , and acting before thinking. All of these problems are addressed in the widsom literature of the Bible. One such book being the Proverbs of Solomon.

Since no one is born with wisdom, you have hope in prescribing a lifelong pursuit of biblical wisdom. We often think that ADHD is an unchangeable genetic malady. However, when viewed through the lens of wisdom, we can have confidence that change is possible because God gives wisdom to those who seek it. Some thoughts on how to teach wisdom: you do not have to teach everything at once, work on one principle at a time, make sure you include yourself as a teachable student, become an expert in the book of Proverbs, and emphasize encouragement and instruction more than punishment.

Does popular secular literature have anything profitable to say about how to deal with ADHD? Yes it does. Here are a few tips: be on the lookout for encouraging strengths, offer instruction in a vivid, visual, concrete way, and memorable way … instead of saying, "clean your room," say "put all the books on this shelf . " Provide structure by way of boundaries, guidelines, reminders and limits, have predictable, clear, simple, and written household rules, anticipate and pre-empt problems rather than react to them, develop "to-do" lists with reasonable deadlines, and do the hard task before the easy one.

Parenting a child with ADHD is similar to parenting any other child, ie, you tailor your biblical instructions to the child's abilities. ADHD children have God-given strengths and will take more careful observation and some creative teaching. They will pose unique parenting challenges. Instead of trusting in our own strategies and natural skills, we need to also rely on the insights of the Holy Spirit.

Marijuana vs. Methamphetamine: How To Best Treat ADHD

Amphetamines
Photo Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr

Could cannabis one day be the go to medicine for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD? Approximately 10 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the condition.

Common symptoms include difficulty sustaining attention, inability to focus, being easily distracted or unable to perform quiet tasks. It can affect job performance, personal relationships and lead to a sense of frustration, guilt and even depression.

What is the typical medical treatment for children and adults troubled by this this condition? Speed. Not just speed, but professionally manufactured amphetamines and methamphetamines (meth), known by commercial names like Ritalin, Adderall and Desoxyn.

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Why speed? Stimulants are known to improve dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, helping the individual to focus attention. But long term stimulant use can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack risk, hallucinations, mood changes, addiction and a host of other complications.

There has not been a great deal of research on cannabis as a remedy for symptoms of ADHD.

Thirty adults in Berlin with ADHD who were unresponsive to typical meds were given cannabis in a scientific trial. Most reported feeling a better sense of control and focus. The researchers concluded that, “For adult patients with ADHD, who experience side effects or do not profit from standard medication, cannabis may be an effective and well-tolerated alternative.” 

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The thought of cannabis being able to help someone “turn down the volume” of a condition is not unheard of. A leading theory of endocannabinoid deficiency explains that an imbalance of our body’s natural or endocannabinoids may be enough to cause migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders and a number of physiologic conditions. Cannabis as a medicine is known for being remarkably safe, a lower risk factor than common prescriptions for people with ADHD.

Duke researchers were drawn to a growing online library of anecdotal info from people self-medicating with cannabis. These scientists led a unique qualitative research study that scoured the responses of adult patients and caregivers in online forums discussing the impact of cannabis on their ADHD symptoms.

The test sample showed that three times as many respondents believed cannabis improved or reduced ADHD symptoms than believed it had an adverse effect. Comments such as “Cannabis helps me focus”and “I find I’m able to concentrate so much better after a bit of cannabis” were typical of participant feedback.  

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Could cannabis be an effective and much safer alternative for adults with ADHD? Once again it seems that the patient feedback is ahead of the research as it has been in so much of the resurgence of medical marijuana.

If recent history is any indication, it means we must listen to patients as we advocate for more research. After all, patients aren’t usually trying to sell us a product, they are just sharing their experience in hopes that we learn from it.

 

 

Trey Reckling is the founder of the Academy of Cannabis Science, which is partnered with the Cannabis Institute at Seattle Central College to provide professional cannabis education and training for the industry. 

Green Tea For ADHD – A Valid Alternative ?

In Japan, green tea is consumed in vast quantities and with good reason. It is known as a valuable antioxidant and has an enormous number of health benefits ranging from protecting gums to protecting you against Alzheimer’s, lowering blood pressure and now most recently has been used as an alternative ADHD treatment. To say that green tea is the best thing out there for ADHD is an exaggeration to say the least but let us examine why green tea for ADHD is the latest fad.

Just before we examine the benefits and the elements in green tea for ADHD, I should point out that the standard drugs used for ADHD like Adderall XR , Ritalin, Cylert and Strattera, are full of unknowns and produce side effects which can be distressing for the child taking them. I know some adults who reported that they have a sort of dependence on these drugs and that some of the side effects were severe like irritability, headaches and insomnia. There are no side effects with ADHD homeopathic remedies and the drug companies are actually paying for research to show that these remedies are completely useless! What next?

Let us look at the elements which are in green tea for ADHD. The main one is L-Theanine and it is a sort of non-protein amino acid. There is also a fair quantity of caffeine in tea so it is strange that one of the main benefits of green tea is that it relaxes the body and mind. It is great for anxiety and also for hyperactivity as it is so relaxing. We also know that L-Theanine is extremely safe and over 40 years ago, the Japanese medical authorities authorized its use as a supplement in all foods except in baby food.

We know that Ritalin delivers dopamine and norepinephrine to the brain and thus stimulates those parts of it that are not working to their full capacity. Nobody knows how the drug actually works or any of the long term effects on the brain. We know that adult student counsellors are extremely worried about college students taking these drugs as a study aid because there are risks of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. This is where green tea and theanine score over the drugs as it is a natural alternative to Ritalin and can be just as effective. Theanine is also available in capsule form.

While green tea for ADHD can be a useful supplement , the best way to treat ADHD is to try a well tried and tested homeopathic remedy which will be effective in calming nerves and reducing fidgeting and other irritating ADHD symptoms. There are no side effects and that type of treatment combined with ADHD behavior modification is the best way to treat ADHD.