ADHD, Medication or Mediation

A diagnosis of ADD or ADHD by a medical professional, usually results in a child or adolescent getting a hefty dose of medication.

According to the United Mission Coalition for Children and Family, or UMUCCF, that could be the worst thing to happen.

What is ADD/ADHD

The terms ADD and ADHD refer to Attention Deficit Disorder, or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – both defined as brain disorders marked by “an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”.

This pattern, defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), describes a fairly recognizable set of sometimes escalating behaviors which may alternate between lack of attention, or seeming indifference, and periods of manic activity during which victims are unable to control their impulses.

How Common Is It?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 5 percent of America’s children have ADHD. This figure can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, which defines and calibrates every mental aberration from toxoplasmosis/schizophrenia to Alzheimer’s.

Other studies put the rate even higher, and indicate that it might also be increasing. For example, a 1997-2006 study from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, put the rate at 3 percent, as opposed to the above 5 percent, measured from 2003 to 2011.

The rate also varies widely from state to state, suggesting an underlying diagnostic/reporting or environmental impetus. For example, the all-time rate for ADHD diagnosis during 2011-2012 was more than 13 percent in a swath from the Gulf States to North and South Virginia, and including Iowa.

The same states recur on a map of recently diagnosed cases of ADHD, reinforcing the idea that the cause may be environmental, but data is lacking for a definitive conclusion.

Is It ADHD or Just Immaturity

Kids will be kids. Since time immemorial, these youngest members of the human species have shared several traits, usually outgrown by the age of 25 or perhaps 30.

These include an inability to sit still when bored –which may persist into old age; a tendency to forget coats, books, appointments and chores (another potential post-65 habit); and an inability to resist the temptation to pet someone else’s dog (or cat, or rabbit, or lizard, or even tarantula). This can also persist past 65, but none of these behaviors is an indication of a brain disorder.

When children consistently forget, can’t focus on the task at hand, or fidget even during interesting moments in life, the problem may be ADHD.

Mediation or Medication

Doctors are busy people, and a fidgety 7-year-old may prompt a hasty (and sometimes inaccurate) diagnosis of attention deficit.

The next step, in the minds of many pharmaceutically-focused doctors, is to prescribe a pill. This runs contrary to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, which suggest behavior therapy first. But there is a certain intuitive logic in prescribing a pill for a pill, and the medications currently available work well.

More relevant, busy parents may not always have the option of delivering their child for behavioral therapy weekly, or participating in some portion of that therapy to reinforce behavior-response recommendations.

Finally, therapy is expensive – certainly more expensive than even the priciest pharmaceutical. Also, therapists may vary in their ability to change ADHD behaviors for the better.

Medications may also vary in their effectiveness, of course, but it’s easier to change a prescription than it is a therapist, and this is no doubt one of the best reasons why behavioral therapy runs a distant second to chemically mediated behavioral modification.

The Best ADHD Medications

One of the most reputable online medical resources recommends starting youngsters on a regimen of lowdose of stimulants like Concerta, Metadate, or Ritalin.

Here again, a stimulant may seem counter-intuitive, but in fact stimulants act like “brakes” in the ADHD brain. Parents who allow their children to sip coffee have often noticed this unexpected effect.

For youngsters who don’t react well to stimulants, doctors may prescribe such “second generation” behavioral modification drugs as Atomoxetine (a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI), Kapvay, or Intuniv, both alpha-2A-adrenoceptor agonists.

Finally, antidepressants may help children who have ADHD and symptoms like anxiety or insomnia, though caution is urged.

How to Deal With Behavior Disorder in Children?

Most children are impulsive and mischievous at times. However, there are some who showcase extreme challenging and difficult behaviors, which are generally outside the norm of their age. It is those children who are suffering from disruptive behavior disorder. There are different forms of it, such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Not just one, sometimes children can have two types of behavior disorder at the same time, and diagnosis can be difficult. As a result of behavior disorders, there can be emotional problems, substance abuse or family difficulties.

How to deal

There are different special behavioral techniques that can be implemented to deal with behavior disorders. These techniques can be applied at home and at school. There are different types of approaches to train the child to be aware of their own anger. A child who is suffering from any behavior disorder can be taught various coping strategies. They can also be provided with positive reinforcement and appraisals, which will help in better self-control.

Parents

As a parent, it is important that you are open to compromising, negotiating, talking, problem-solving, and anticipating difficult situations and working accordingly. You should make efforts at home to avoid potentially explosive situations. You need to prioritize goals, so that the most important problems are dealt with at first and the least important ones are kept for later.  

Medication

Stimulants or other forms of drug therapy can be introduced in treatment as necessary. If the child is left untreated, he will start to identify with other children of his age who are also having behavior problems. As the child ages, it will become increasingly difficult to manage them. The behavior of the child may even make them unpopular among their friends and peer group. This can also adversely affect their mental state. By treating behavior problems at an early age, you will be able to prevent your child from creating a negative self-identity as they ages, and the setting the tone for more positive behaviors. There are also new medications that are very effective in treating many of these disorders.

What is there is no effect?

If the ongoing treatment is not effective enough for the child to recover from behavioral problems, their clinician should think upon the treatment provided. Revaluation of the treatment may be required. Therapy and medications may be changed or altered until the right combination is achieved.

2 Most Common Behavioral Disorders:

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This is a behavioral problem that affects more boys than girls. Children who suffer from ADHD are incapable of sitting still, plan ahead, finish allotted tasks, or be conscious of the things happening around them. A child with ADHD will not show strange behavior constantly. However, there will be noticeable bouts of disorganized and frenzied activities. If not treated on time, this disorder can continue until adolescence and into adulthood.

Autism: Children in the autism spectrum can display behavioral disorder symptoms. They may seem to be lost, indifferent, and isolated in their own world. These children are often unable to form any kind of emotional attachment with anyone. This problem can result in language delays, mental retardation, and abnormal behavior. It is important to be patient while dealing with an autistic child.

Likewise, there are other behavioral problems such as bi-polar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders. There are different methods of dealing with different behavioral problems in children. If your child has been diagnosed with behavioral disorder, know that everything will be fine. There many great therapies, medications, and resources available to help your child. It is important to address the situation one day at a time.

Before You Medicate: Get Educated about ADHD

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be one of the most controversial and confusing disorders involving children. Talk to anyone and they probably have a strong opinion on ADHD, why it occurs and how it is treated. Many people think it’s underdiagnosed, others think it’s overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If your child has been recently diagnosed with ADHD, you may be conflicted or confused by all the information surrounding the disorder. However, it’s up to you to make the right decision based on your child’s needs. Remember, only you can truly decide what is best for your child and his or her health.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common mental disorder that can last a lifetime. Individuals with ADHD may be impulsive, hyperactive, or have difficulty paying attention. Other issues, social and emotional, may stem or be related to ADHD. While many individuals are diagnosed as children, others are not diagnosed until they are teens or adults. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about 5 percent of U.S. children have ADHD. Other studies argue that the number of children with ADHD is higher. Again, this has a lot to do with the argument of over or under diagnosing. Despite differing statistics, ADHD is a real disorder and is common throughout the nation.

Does My Child Have ADHD or Is He/She Just Being a Kid?

Initially, ADHD diagnoses can be frustrating for a parent. Since the symptoms of ADHD often mirror a “normal” child, it’s difficult to determine whether or not a child truly has ADHD. For example, some symptoms include the inability to stay focused or having a short attention span. Thinking back to your own childhood, how many times were you expected to sit quietly (and still), but couldn’t focus because you were bored? All children struggle with attention and focus sometimes, it’s unreasonable to expect children be attentive all the time.

However, when a child is consistently fidgety or can’t focus at all, affecting his/her social or academic life, ADHD may be the cause. You’re one of the only people who knows your child best. If you become increasingly concerned about his/her attention (or lack of) talk to your child’s teacher or care provider and see if they notice any changes. Talking with people you trust and who know your child can help you make a decision when you make an appointment with your child’s physician.

Before Medication

Once a child is diagnosed with ADHD, many doctors are quick to prescribe medication as treatment. If you’re on board with this and think it’s the best option, go ahead. However, there are many parents who want to cancel out other possibilities before committing to daily medication. If you disagree with the ADHD diagnosis, don’t ignore it, as you aren’t doing your child a favor. Some parents and caregivers have found success by eliminating sugary foods, monitoring distractions (such as electronics) and taking more time to create and stick to a routine. Talk therapy has also been a successful treatment for some, either alone or with medication.

Medication as an Option

If you see little change in your child once you have made changes within your home or routine, medication may be your only viable option. As with any prescribed medication, it’s important to know what your child will be taking, what changes you can expect, any side effects you should look out for, and also let your child’s teacher know that he/she is on medication. If your child seems to get worse or you see no change under the use of medication, talk with your doctor immediately.

ADHD can be a frustrating disorder to properly diagnose and it requires consistency and patience from parents. Once your child is accurately diagnosed, choose the treatment that will work for your child (not necessarily the one that your doctor pushes you to take).