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Calming your child's ADHD symptoms
October 5th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Calming your child's ADHD symptoms

Dr. Claudia M. Gold is a pediatrician and author of "Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World Through Your Child's Eyes."

Five-year-old Max came to see me in my pediatrics practice because his kindergarten teachers were convinced that he had ADHD. They knew little about his life, yet they were pressuring his mother, Alice, to come to me in the hopes that I would prescribe medication, because his behavior in class was increasingly disruptive. Alice came to the first visit armed with the standard forms, indicating that he had scored in the high range for ADHD.

My approach to the diagnosis of ADHD, up a startling 29% according to a recent CDC report, has grown out of over 20 years practicing general and behavioral pediatrics, while simultaneously studying contemporary developmental science at the interface of genetics, psychology and neuroscience. I have come to recognize the essential role of understanding the meaning of behavior, rather than responding simply to the behavior itself, in promoting healthy emotional development.

Evaluation and treatment of ADHD is currently focused on behavioral symptoms, primarily hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Rating scales are routinely used for diagnostic evaluation, and if a child has enough of the behaviors, or symptoms, treatment with medication is often recommended. But we should be asking: “Symptoms of what?” In other areas of medicine, we treat the underlying cause, not simply the symptom. In treating bacterial pneumonia, for example, we use an antibiotic, not a cough suppressant.

These behaviors are, in fact, symptoms of problems with regulation of behavior, emotions, and attention, which together may be labeled as ADHD. So the question becomes not “How do we control the symptoms?” but rather “What is making self-regulation difficult for this particular child?” followed by “What can we do to help promote self-regulation?”

Typically the "problem" of ADHD is viewed as residing exclusively in the child. Extensive research has shown, however, that children develop the capacity for self-regulation in relationships. Exploring family relationships is an essential first step.

Family conflict may go unaddressed while focusing exclusively on management of a child’s symptoms. While certainly there is a strong genetic influence in ADHD, research in the growing discipline known as “epigenetics” shows the complex interplay of genetics and family environment in determining the development of any one individual child.

For example, a study last spring shows that a person might have a gene that puts him at risk for ADHD. But if that person lives in a home filled with conflict, he is more likely to actually have ADHD. Put in a more positive way, just because a child has the gene, it doesn't mean he will have the disorder. Addressing family conflict may protect him from the genetic risk.

Research by psychiatrist Bruce Perry has shown that physical activities are another necessary first step for a child who is “dysregulated.” These activities actually calm the brain down. Extracurricular activities, if they are carefully planned and well thought out, are an essential part of treatment. It is best to have some kind of a calming activity interspersed with homework, tutoring or therapy.

Many know the story of Michael Phelps’ struggle with ADHD. Swimming can be a very regulating activity, but some kids with learning and behavior problems also have sensory processing difficulties and can't stand to have their head under water. Clearly swimming isn't the right choice for them. Horseback riding, martial arts, drumming and dance are examples of other activities that can serve to achieve this kind of calm.

The first two steps in helping a child with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are, therefore, to find a regulating activity and to address family conflict. Third, medication may be considered.

Medication may be indicated if symptoms are so severe as to impair a child’s ability to learn and to function in a social environment. They may calm down the symptoms sufficiently to allow a child to make use of other forms of help.

It is essential, however, to offer the opportunity for on- going discussion with a child about his diagnosis and issues of importance to him. In particular, talking with a child about his understanding of what it means to him to be taking medication for his behavior is very important.

Assessment of family relationships, supporting engagement in physical activity followed by, in some cases, careful prescribing of medication should help a child struggling with problems of self-regulation, as represented by the constellation of symptoms now called “ADHD.”

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Filed under: ADHD • Brain • Children's Health • Psychology

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. M

    This lady sounds like she knows what she's talking about.

    October 5, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DyeDiet

      It is amazing that the author does not even mention a word about diet issues in the country where over 25,000 food additives including 9 questionable food dyes (~ 6000 tons a year are eaten in the USA!!) are added to the food ! What health effects would you expect? Or you think FDA is out there to protect all of us? Think again. I have started educational resource DyeDIet to educate American public about food additives in order to help to come back to a normal nutritional diet. All those chemicals they add to our food may trigger any illness (ADHD, cancers, allergies, Alzheimer's etc..) in anybodu depending on personal genes and voulnerability. We need start taking care of ourselves throu careful diet selection and teach our CHILDREN how to do so.

      October 5, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      @DyeDiet – I couldn't agree with you more. No matter how much proof is out there that diet is the single most important factor in ADHD as well as so many other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc., most doctors do not want to hear it and will avoid discussing it at all costs.

      October 5, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......???

      October 17, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
  2. Jennifer State

    What about a non-medical approach that improves brain function and gets to the underlying cause of ADHD symptoms? I like what Brain Balance has to say about combining sensory, motor, and cognitive activities to strengthen communication within and between the two sides of the brain. Better brain function leads to less ADHD symptoms. You can read about it here: http://www.brainbalancecenters.com

    October 5, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kevin

      Spot on, Jennifer. I worked as a cognitive trainer for a similar company, and every single student who came into the program that had been diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication was nearly or completely off of medication by the time they had finished.

      October 5, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  3. gholmom

    One of the best CNN articles I've seen. Our son's 2nd grade teacher requested that 40% of the class do the ADHD testing-paperwork. We all completed the preliminary questionnaires, but most of us found that other actions were available to help the boys. Soccer, swimming and some yoga breathing exercises has helped our boy. We have also gone to giving ours a 1/2 of a coffee in the morning – with our ped's blessing. The stimulating caffeine works for about 4 hours of relative calm.

    October 5, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sherry

    My child was diagnosed ADHD by a pediatrician, high scores on impulsive and distractibility. A couple of years later, after the meds stopped working, we tried eliminating some things and discovered through this that artificial dyes (esp. red #40) were causing much of her hyperactivity. With the red dyes now out of her system, she no longer has the Hyperactive behavior unless she accidentally gets red #40 such as in prescriptions or at a potluck dinner where she cannot read labels. More needs to be done to help find the root causes of the ADHD in children.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. swoozy1

    Great Article! I think that much of ADHD is based on the environment in which a child is raised. Lack of consistency regarding discipline and bribery by parents to get their kids to act a certain way has caused confusion. I think our schools need to reform the teaching environment so boys and girls can succeed equally. There is a difference between bad behavior and boy behavior.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • amysee08

      I'm sorry swoozey1 but your reply sounds a little uninformed to me. I agree schools should modify their teaching methods but overall not just so boys and girls can be successful. ADHD is not a boy or girl problem. ADHD is real. Now it is true there are children diagnosed with ADHD that are not truly ADHD. A true ADHD has a problem with over stimulation which is why you will see most drinking lots of caffiene – its helps calm them. Next time you are in a public school classroom look at the walls of the classroom and think about what it would be like to see all of that and on top of that already have your brain going a million miles an hour. it is not a behavior issue.

      It is also true all kids need consistency – in discipline and general life structure. ADHD kids need this even more because it helps them remember what has to be done. They are so easily distracted that routine and structure is one of the few ways that will help them function in the real world.

      My son is a true ADHD who was failing miserably in public school. We finally found a private school that applies these principles of structure and claming activites (he does martial arts now). He also takes his meds – we have tried without but he just could not succed by himself. he went from failing everything in public school to a 3.25 gpa. He used to get in trouble in public school for putting his head down during class. He was trying to listen to the teachers and not be distracted but the teachers saw this as being disrespectful. My point is interpretation of this dysorder is many times wrong and vicious by the people who have not experienced it first hand. I am not saying you haven't but by your post you seemed ill-informed.

      October 5, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • freezin

      "Boy behavior" = high energy and risk taking seems to have made my three adult sons quite successful in life. :)

      October 5, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      The tired argument of blaming the parents (i.e. mother) has got to go! I'm sure that lack of consistency, as well as lack of any other interventions on a parent's part, be it dietary, therapy, supplements, etc. etc. can exacerbate the problem but we will never get to the root of our skyrocketing incidences of adhd, aspergers, autism, and asthma if we can't dig a little deeper than "bad parenting".

      September 1, 2012 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
  6. Michelle

    Excellent. Finally, a doctor who endorses a balanced approach to dealing with the "ADHD problem." Behavioral therapies and activities FIRST, not drugs first. She suggest drugs only in extreme cases where even behavioral therapies and other approaches haven't worked, and the child's behavior is so wild that his or her ability to learn or interact AT ALL is impaired.

    From what I've seen as a teacher (I don't work in that field anymore, thank goodness), and as the daughter of a teacher, is that a lot of what people are now calling "ADHD" is within the range of normal variation. MOST kids DO need structured activity, physical activity, and the right sort of mental and emotional stimulation to keep them engaged, focused, and sociable. We can't tell them to sit still all day and work quietly in a notebook! These kids need activity in a structured way. And THEN... only after a good, productive, stimulating learning environment has been provided... if some of the kids STILL can't focus at all, then the wise parent and pediatrician should consider medications for the child.

    I was a "hyperactive" child... but as I said, my mother was a teacher with a strong background in child psychology. I was never "drugged" into good behavior, but instead was given a lot of engaging activities... including swimming! I always had excellent grades in school because I was given the right tools to learn good behavior skills... instead of being drugged out of my skull. Now, as an adult, I recognize when I'm being distracted and actively work to focus myself again.

    But yes, there are some children who will benefit from medication, and for whom it's the right decision. It's just that those kids are a much smaller percentage of the population than doctors, teachers, and parents want to admit.

    Thank you, Dr. Gold, for advocating a common-sense approach.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. anna

    I think that most of the children who are supposed to have ADHD are just out of control and their parents down know how to discipline them.

    A good old fashioned smack on the rear would do the trick.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NYer in NJ

      Anna,

      I totally agree!
      So many of today's kids are spoiled rotten, coddles, bribed,...you name it. They lack discipline, never hear the word 'no' in a meaningfull way and get anything they want. Then we are surprised when they act up when they don't get what they want. Just wait till these kids 'grow up' – 'real life' will have some interesting lessons in store for them.

      Unfortunately, many of today's parents are too incompetent / selfish / spoiled / lazy... (take your pick) to give their kids the quality time they need. Watching a movie together is not quality time! And they don't bother disciplining them either, because that would take effort and the kids might 'hate' them!
      I could go on, but won't.

      The bottom line is: I am glad to see Dr. Gold's approach and agree with her.

      The 'attention deficit' part is (in many cases) largely the deficit in attention they get from the parents!

      October 5, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  8. mxtexas

    @Anna,

    You are a complete Dumb@a$$. There is a village is in serious need of your idiocy.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I completely agree. I wonder how dumb anna explains the instances in which one child in a family has ADHD while all his/her siblings are not afflicted.

      What a maroon.

      October 5, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      Amen, mxtexas!

      September 2, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    I have a 25 year old that went on Meds very early (age 5). By the time he was in his last year of High School he refused to take any meds for his ADHD. We found out later on that he actually has dyslexia which was really the root cause of his issues. The schools only want kids who sit still all the time. Be very, very cautious about putting your children on Meds for ADHD. It's not worth the long term affects on their development!

    October 5, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. olymom

    One glaring omission in this article is the influence of the school environment. Without considering the school environment as well as the home environment, one is only looking at a part of the picture, and will have an incomplete understanding of the child's needs. I know children who only exhibit these problem behaviors in one or two classrooms, yet the school insists the "problem" lies with the parent and child. Logic would indicate that there is something different about these classrooms that precipitates the behavior.

    To Anna: Corporal punishment is not a panacea. Yes, it is quick and easy, but is not appropriate for every child.

    October 5, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. jglennon

    Self-regulation can be learned. It's a skill and not all of us have the ability to self-regulate at the same level. This is also true of being able to sustain and direct attention. We are not equally endowed. These skills can be taught. They are not mental illnesses as they are now labeled.

    As a former elementary school principal, I am quite aware that attention difficulties are just the tip of the iceberg. ADHD children can't filter out distractions, finish tasks on-time, use their memory optimally, etc. A pill doesn't teach these skills.

    My wife and I opted to use cognitive training for our son, Alex. We used Play Attention (www.playattention.com) and ADHD Nanny (www.adhdnanny.com). We've been very successful with these approaches. We also changed our parenting skills with great success.

    It's just important to know that medicine teaches nothing. Parents and teachers must actively participate to help change a child's life.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. adh_no_d

    My son recently went to a pediatric neurologist at the suggestion of his special ed teacher. He is 4 and has Down syndrome and can be hyper, particularly when one is not working with him one-on-one. After waiting for about a 1/2 hour, and then answering questions at the appt, my son was bored and wanted to play with phone and other dangling objects. The doctor only spent about 2-3 minutes actually examining him and asking him questions.

    As expected, she told me that he is a bit hyper (and thin, so he does not fit the Ds stereotype), has development delays, and has some ASD characteristics. Her first course of action: prescribe Clonodine or Resperdal to calm him down, then see other specialists for behavioral therapy. Clonidine used to lower blood pressure and Resperdal comes with its own list of side effects including severe weight gain. That's scary stuff to me.

    Shouldn't the therapy come first? Also, she never asked me about his quality of sleep, which is another area I'd like to investigate (sleep apnea is common for Down syndrome). I'd rather have a "hyper" kid than a "zombie" kid. I'm willing to try whatever therapy might help him first. If all other avenues are exhausted, then I'd consider medication, but not as a first line of treatment.

    I wish doctor's weren't so eager to prescribe meds that may mask underlying problems. What's next? Will kids be put in an induced coma so that adults don't have to deal with them?

    October 5, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      It is refreshing to hear someone who would prefer to find alternatives before drugging their child. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and put on ritalin. To see an active child become lathargic and just plain dopey was a terrible thing for me, and for him. Without ritalin however he was out of control but I am proud to say that I corrected his behaviour and got him off ritalin through removing certain things from his diet like white flour and processed foods and feeding him a lot of fruit and vegetables. The change was so pronounced that his teacher called me and wanted to know what had happened as he was now quite normal. I'm not sure what effect this would have on down cyndrome but it sure improved my son's (and the rest of the family) quality of life.

      October 5, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • adh_no_d

      Alan,

      Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, my son eats quite well. I avoid processed foods and make sure he eats vegetables each day. I could probably cut down more on white flour, but I mix in whole wheat whenever I bake (every week).

      As I mentioned, I'm planning to make an appt with a sleep clinic this week to see if lack of quality of sleep may be a factor.

      In case you're interested I wrote an iReport article on vaccines called "A Suggested Vaccine Study":
      http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-682336

      October 5, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • M

      Eliminating all wheat from your child's diet will do wonders. Whole grains raise insulin higher than table sugar, so they aren't healthy. The wheat plant is not the same as it used to be from being GM, so it can wreak havoc in kids and adults in several ways, including ADHD.

      October 5, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      adh_no_d,
      I found your ireport article interesting from the perspective that parents should be concerned about the effects of vaccines on their children. I feel that this also goes for processed foods and drugs. As a parent you spend much more time with your children and see the changes, good and bad. We should not blindly accept the advice of medical science and the more we question the methods used and treatment prescribed for controlling our childrens' "wellbeing" the more thought the medical industry will have to put into research on these matters.

      October 5, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
  13. M

    STOP FEEDING THE KIDS WHEAT.

    October 5, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, baloney. One of you yammers about wheat, another about corn, still another about milk and two more about dyes and additives. Why don't you stop pretending that you know what causes ADHD? If you really did, the world would beat a path to your door.

      October 5, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
  14. Yes

    I work with kids from bad family backgrounds who are labeled as severe ADHD. Many of them become much more focused and calmed after being imersed into a calm environment. Unfortunately, it appears that doctors are diagnosing ADHD largely to get the the kids on drugs for reasons of profit. Too many kids in the US are on medicatins they don't need. It is lazy and irresponable on the part of adults. Parents just want their kids controled rather than engaging in good parenting practices.

    October 5, 2011 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Learn how to spell "medications" and "controlled". Then I MIGHT have a care for your opinion.

      October 6, 2011 at 22:07 | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      I wonder how all of these people who like to oversimplify and generalize are as parents? Blaming parents is the easiset thing in the world to do, speaking of lazy.

      September 2, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
  15. TrekDesk

    Activity is a critical component. Michael Phelps did not just have a small improvement in his ADHD symptoms, he was taken off medication completely. Swimming was his sport even though he grew up in the capitol of lacrosse, Baltimore, MD. We never stress the levels of inactivity in our society enough and its impact on children. We have cut recess and sports budgets, added in more sedentary based curriculum and wonder why our kids are growing fat and unhealthy. I think it is time we look more at the inactivity of America, compare it to the 1960's when there were far fewer cases of obesity and attention deficit related conditions.

    October 5, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ADD parent

    One thing I noticed a lack of attention to here is also the fact that many ADHD children tend to be offspring of ADHD adults. I know because I am ADD and so is my daughter. However, I was diagnosed only after my daughter was diagnosed, thus answering a lot of questions for her and myself. I still struggle everyday to maintain balance both for her and myself and try to provide a stable/calm environment for her, but it isn't always easy. We can only grow and learn to modulate our behaviors together.

    October 5, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Been there

    Has anyone had a child/self, tested for allergies???? Allergies cause chemical dysfunctions and once the allergy is under control, the dysfunction ceases. Is the doctor in your situation treating the symptoms or the cause???? To add to the insanity of putting a child on drugs, should your health care provider want to "supplement" the ADHD medicine with INTUNIV, PLEASE NOTE: INTUNIV® (guanfacine), IS A BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE. Used to thin the blood, or the equivalent to rat poison, made fit for human consumption. Been there, done that, with the allergies…BE DAMNED if I would drug a child on an ADHD medicine without finding the true cause. From what I understand, METH and COCAINE make you feel good for awhile. Apparently the only reason they are illegal is because a doctor or drug company can’t make any money from them. And that is what it is all about – keep the rich richer, and the poor poorer when it comes to drugs.

    October 5, 2011 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Momof3

      yeah my child takes both Kapvay and his Folcain... does wonders for him. Go sniff a flower. What works for one may not another but it's not your place to knock. THAT is judgemental. I don't care what you do with you child so you don't have the right to DAMN anyone !

      October 6, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Been there, the only place you've been is in a state of idiocy.

      Get a friggin' clue, you moron.

      October 6, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
  18. Lynn-Harold Thompson

    All these ideas, all these opinions. What to make of this. There's no general agreement. A lot of what's said goes nowhere.
    If there are all these kids with ADHD symptoms and all this mess isn't there some way to clean this up and get to a list
    of solutions to try and work through? This all seems a lot like the current political mess the countries in: we all know
    nothing's getting done. Where do I start? I need a clear definition and then I need solutions to try and then I need some way to
    measure results.

    October 6, 2011 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Gary M Unruh

    Great information about underlying causes of ADHD: regulation of behavior, emotions, and attention. Here are several regulation tips that really work based upon my forty years of family counseling experience with mostly ADHD children.

    First, adjust your expectations. Accept your child’s regulation problems as a can’t, neurobiological problem and not “if you just tried harder you could pay attention or be calmer.”

    Second, the can’t problem can be modified with a more supervised accountability system; you, the parent, making sure your child is attending to a task. Think action not lectures. When your child needs to take the trash out, require eye to eye contact, give the request, and then requires she does it while you are watching.

    Third, help regulate emotions with feeling identification and stopping all interaction when frustration is too high. “It’s really hard to not be angry when you don’t get your way. But if you yell when you’re angry again, we’ll go to different rooms until we can talk calmly. Your outside control is required for your child to experience regulation of emotion.

    Thanks again for revealing the importance of teaching ADHD children regulation skills. Gary M Unruh MSW Author

    October 6, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Pmac

    I mostly agree with meds controlling ADHD but also agree that activities like soccer, baseball, cheerleading, gymnastics work as great or better than meds – btw, ur local rec dept offers until time when schools offer them. To close, does the expert that got this started have kids or did I just miss that info?

    October 6, 2011 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Momof3

    Well I for one don't totally agree with this article. My home is peaceful full of love married parents with 2 other children. I take offense to her spouting off about how first it can start with environment when mine is total oposite of what she describes. So is my child wrongly misdiagnosed? No. Meds help so much because we were lost. There are so many other normal avenues that can help yes but when you're child won't cooperate to even try-hmmm sounds like meds can still help. Sure has for my son. He's just calm enough to where he can be reasoned with - don't knock common sense people. Sometimes "alternative" methods aren't best.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • standswithyou

      I agree. If environment and "relationship" issues caused adhd, then adhd would be the norm, and calm, focused kids would be regarded with awe. I view this article as a veiled attempt to blame the parents once again, and paints the same stereotypical picture of adhd. My child has never been a discipline problem, it is all a matter of being able to maintain motivation and focus long enough to follow through. If my home environment, and not biology, causes the adhd, then why is my other child so focused and productive?

      October 7, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
  22. Allen

    It has been shown that there IS a link between ADHD and food additives in a significant fraction of children diagnosed as ADHD: "Psychopharmacological and Other Treatments in Preschool Children with ADHD: Current Evidence and Practice" J.K. Ghuman et al, J of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Vol.18, No.5, 2008 I personally experienced this as a child, with an ADHD response isolated to artificial reds and purples (don't know the dye numbers, but was mid 1970's). The studies mentioned in the above citation show that it won't work in every case, but a 2-week trial of a controlled diet will tell if it would be beneficial to the child or not. As in most medical issues, there is not one simple answer, but completely ignoring the possibility of an adverse effect of food additives is, in my book, a major mistake.

    October 6, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. OurExperience

    I agree that there are many different ways that may be needed to help with ADHD, including in some cases, meds. However, I think that in SOME instances, there are too many people jumping to meds as the answer without looking at other possible alternatives. Many doctors don't help this as that is their first and only suggestion (at least in my experience). It wasn't until we started my son on the Feingold Diet that I learned a LOT more. I used to be so naive and thought that if it was in our food it must be safe. Boy, was I wrong! And after having some tests done, we learned that he tested high for mercury (possibly from amalgam fillings and/or vaccinations) and aluminum (I was told that this was from the MMR vaccine). He also has many food sensitivities with dairy being the main one. We are on our long road to recovery, but my point is that I hope that people PLEASE consider diet and other possibilities as well, even if it's while on meds. These kids deserve to have a healthy system.

    October 9, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. teresa

    ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......?

    October 17, 2011 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. skylud

    My 12 yr old has been on meds for a ADHD and audority processing issues since the 3rd grade. After fighting with the school and finally took him to a specialist who said that his problems are so mild that by the time that his brain changes at 11-12 he should out grow it. Have we seen charges yes. I've done allegery testing twice 3 yrs apart. Test show he's not allegic to anything. He is a black belt in Taewondo and it took him 3 yrs instead of 2yrs due his memory issues. The schools have taken away recess more time then I care to count. Now in middle school he's having other issues like the email I got today that he trying to make friends by doesn't always respond in the appropriate way. And since the school does 8 45 minutes classes he's really has issues with grades. I finally asked the doctor if PTSD and aneixty run hand and hand with ADHD. Reason I asked this is because my son freaked out total at 3 when his dad was deployment the first and he worries about everything.(I call him Chicken Little)and nurse in the office witnessed this over a flu shot. Answers from the doctor is yes and now he being treated for aniexty instead of the ADHD. Grades are coming up and he realizing that kids are treating like an outsider. I agreed that no medicine is going to help the kids over come their problems and lot they have to learn on their own with parents trying to help or standing behind them for when life kicks them in the butt.

    November 1, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Nancy Peske

    Swimming can be GREAT for kids with sensory issues or sensory processing disorders. You just have to work around their sensory issues. You can learn more in my blogpiece https://sensorysmartparent.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/helping-your-child-with-sensory-issues-enjoy-swimming/

    January 24, 2012 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Cleo

    I'm pretty new to all of the "ADHD" drugs and other treatments. I have twins with SLD in 4th grade and a 4 yr old with ADHD symptoms. I picked up something called "calm child" to try. I am completely against drugging my children. the Rx companies could honestly care less about the effects afer 20years on meds. Most docs hand out pills. More should be interested in the natural ways of helping families. My son's doc has mentioned biofeedback for him. Anyone heard of this? I'm interested in something natural for my twins as well to help them. I also thought of the mind power of giving them something healthy and telling them they will learn better and be smarter and see how they do with that. I have not found much to help with SLD. I am interested in INTELLIGENT thoughts. *Mahalo

    February 2, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
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  32. Suan

    ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most common children’s mental conditions that shows up very early in life. ADHD’s symptoms are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Children with ADHD have hard time focusing and interacting with other people. About 50% of children with ADHD do not outgrow it. There are no clear reason of getting ADHD, but some experts say it has to do with brain chemical levels and genes.

    Caffeine is a stimulant drug that increases mental alertness and decreases drowsiness. It can be found in sodas, headache medicines, or coffee. Eating too much caffeine causes forceful heart contraction. Also, caffeine can cause indigestion if it is eaten on empty stomach. Furthermore, it can reduce a woman's chances of becoming pregnant.

    Some researchers have looked into the possibility of using caffeine for treating ADHD. Although caffeine has many bad effects, some individuals are already using caffeine to self-medicate ADHD in them or their children. Many people with ADHD found caffeine has the opposite effect to symptoms it has in most people. Caffeine actually calms down and encourages sleep to people with ADHD.

    Even though there are many proofs that caffeine has a good effect to ADHD, caffeine is still a type of drug. There are many other ways to cure or treat ADHD, so caffeine is not the only therapy for ADHD. Thus, people should not use caffeine to treat people with ADHD.

    March 28, 2014 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Minsoo

    ADHD, known as ‘attention deflect hyperactivity disorder ‘, is a disease that many people have. The main affect of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Inattention is when people can’t attention well like other normal people and impulsivity is when people are doing things suddenly and without careful thought. Also, hyperactivity is the state of condition of being over active. Many people think caffeine can help people with ADHD get better. However, I don’t have a different opinion. I think people should not use too much caffeine to treat people with ADHD due to the following reasons.
    First of all, caffeine overdose can affect people with ADHD harmfully. Even though there are some good effects of caffeine, I see more bad effects than good effects from using caffeine to treat people with ADHD. Caffeine certainly appears to be beneficial for some people with ADHD. But it is still a drug and this does not guarantee a lack of side effects. Overconsumption can be dangerous, especially when consumed on a regular basis over a long period of time. A research shows that more than 4 cups of coffee would even lead to early death. Also, caffeinism causes nervousness, irritability, tremulousness and headaches that are harmful to ADHD symptoms. Besides the concern on overdose of caffeine, there is another good reason not to use caffeine to treat people with ADHD.
    I believe there are better treatments for ADHD than using caffeine. The major problem that ADHD symptoms face is impulsivity. Some useful and effective ways to handle impulsivity are as follows: take at least 24 hours before making a serious decision, carry a small rubber ball and squeeze it to slow one’s mind down, and carry a pencil and paper around and jot down what one wants to say before saying it. Also, you can treat people with ADHD by exercising and playing outside. Instead of imbibing caffeine, such practices and exercises can help them get better without any side effects.
    While caffeine certainly helps in improving ADHD symptoms to a certain extent, I think we should not use caffeine too much to treat people with ADHD due to bad side effects. There are other treatments including regular exercise and use tools to slow down one’s mind. However, if you want to use caffeine, I recommend that you should discuss with a doctor and appropriately use it.

    March 28, 2014 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply

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