Have Trouble Focusing as an Adult? It May Be Undiagnosed ADHD

By Patti Neighmond

ADHD in AdultsTrouble focusing and staying on track as an adult may be symptoms of ADHD. This article mentions how this surprising condition may be the culprit behind the inability to focus, completing tasks, and paying attention.

When Cathy Fields was in her late 50s, she noticed she was having trouble following conversations with friends.

“I could sense something was wrong with me,” she says. “I couldn’t focus. I could not follow.”

Fields was worried she had suffered a stroke or was showing signs of early dementia. Instead she found out she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Fields is now 66 years old and lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. She’s a former secretary and mother of two grown children. Fields was diagnosed with ADHD about eight years ago. Her doctor ruled out any physical problems and suggested she see a psychiatrist. She went to Dr. David Goodman at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who by chance specializes in ADHD.

Goodman asked Fields a number of questions about focus, attention and completing tasks. He asked her about her childhood and how she did in school. Since ADHD begins in childhood, it’s important for mental health professionals to understand these childhood experiences in order to make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood. Online screening tests are available, too, so you can try it yourself.

Goodman decided that Fields most definitely had ADHD.

She’s not alone. Goodman says he’s seeing more and more adults over the age of 50 newly diagnosed with ADHD. The disorder occurs as the brain is developing, and symptoms generally appear around age 7. But symptoms can last a lifetime. For adults, the problem is not disruptive behavior or keeping up in school. It’s an inability to focus, which can mean inconsistency, being late to meetings or just having problems managing day-to-day tasks. Adults with ADHD are more likely than others to lose a job or file for bankruptcy, Goodman says. They may overpay bills, or underpay them. They may pay bills late, or not at all.

For Cathy Fields, the more she thought about it, the more she realized distraction and the inability to focus was the story of her life. It was also the story of her mother’s life. Her mother “never got things done,” Fields says.

This is typical, according to Goodman; ADHD often runs in families. According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or CHADD, an advocacy group, the disorder can be inherited. If a parent has ADHD, the child has more than a 50 percent chance of also having it. If a twin has ADHD, the other twin has up to an 80 percent chance of having the disorder.

But because many of today’s older adults grew up during the 1950s and ’60s when there wasn’t much awareness of ADHD, many were never diagnosed. And increasingly, Goodman says, he’s seeing more and more patients who are concerned about dementia but who actually have ADHD — just like Cathy Fields.

Goodman also sees patients who are diagnosed after their child or grandchild gets a diagnosis. “That’s the genetic link,” says Goodman, “from Grandmom to Mom to daughter.”

About 60 percent of children with ADHD go on to become adults with ADHD, says Dr. Lenard Adler, a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. As these older adults weren’t diagnosed, they learned to work around the problem, Adler says. They developed coping systems to deal with their inability to focus or pay attention. Read more…

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/18/462978127/cant-focus-it-might-be-undiagnosed-adult-adhd

Related Continuing Education Courses

Section I of this course involves a detailed discussion of the many ways that a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life. This is important information for all clinicians working with adults who have ADHD, partly for their own understanding, but also to help clients understand their own ADHD. It will include descriptions of situations that can obscure ADHD and will highlight the executive, academic, occupational, psychological, and social aspects of adult functioning that are impacted by ADHD. The second section involves educating clients about the many ways that ADHD has affected their life trajectories. This goes beyond the obvious academic difficulties and includes current functioning as well, offering less pejorative explanations for their weaknesses. Included are techniques for involving family members, creating an ADHD-friendly lifestyle, and finding a better fit in the classroom and the workplace. This education is a crucial first step in the treatment of ADHD in adults and builds the foundation for medication, coaching, and therapy.

 

This introductory course, from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), gives a brief update on the various facets of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It details the core symptoms, including behavioral manifestations of each, notes what is known about its causes, and lists the components of a comprehensive diagnostic protocol. It also describes a multifaceted treatment approach that includes combined medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapy. The course includes sections on comorbid disorders, dealing with ADHD at school, and treating it in teens and adults.

 

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Picky Eating Linked to Mental Health Issues

By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer @ Live Science

Picky EaterAlmost everyone knows a 4-year-old who’s never eaten an apple, subsists off hot dogs and spaghetti or eats only white food.

But a new study suggests that such picky eating isn’t the norm, and that it may even hint at future mental health issues, in some cases. Children who are selective eaters are likelier to develop anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the study, published August 3, 2015 in the journal Pediatrics.

It’s not clear how or why picky eating may be tied to these conditions, but it may be that children who have heightened sensory experiences overall are also more sensitive to the food they eat, the researchers at Duke University wrote in their paper.

Picky or Healthy

Pediatricians tend to shrug off parents’ fears about children who gag at eggs or shove their broccoli off their plates, saying it is just a phase that most kids will outgrow, the researchers said.

But the research team previously found that adults who are picky eaters tend to have higher rates of psychological disorders than the general public. And some studies suggest that there are a lot of adult picky eaters out there, but because they have more control over what’s on their plates than children do, they can conceal their food likes and dislikes, said Marcia Pelchat, a psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, who was not involved in the new study.

To see whether picky eating was associated with mental health issues in children, the Duke researchers asked the parents of about 3,400 preschoolers to fill out several questionnaires about their children’s eating habits, and signs of depression, anxiety, ADHD and other psychological disorders, as well as their sensitivity to sensory experiences. About two years later, the team evaluated a subset of the little ones again.

The researchers considered the kids who only ate certain foods as having a “moderate level” of selective eating, whereas kids whose range of foods was so limited that it made it difficult for them to eat with others were considered as having “severe” selective eating. (Because so many kids avoid foods like broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, the team didn’t consider hating those foods as a sign of picky eating.)

Among all children in the study, about one-fifth had at least moderate levels of selective eating, and 3 percent of parents reported severely restricted eating. Compared with the children with no eating issues, the moderate and severe picky eaters were more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and ADHD, both at the time of the survey and in the two-year follow-up.

Cause, Effect or Neither?

Picky Eating in Kids Tied to Anxiety, DepressionIt’s possible that picky eating causes such unpleasant mealtime battles that it increases family discord, and indirectly leads to anxiety and other mental health conditions, Pelchat said. But it’s also likely that the kids with a predisposition to anxiousness may simply have more fears surrounding food, Pelchat said.

On a subconscious level, it may be that “if you have tremendous anxiety, for example, it is threatening to put food in your mouth,” Pelchat told Live Science. Humans have an adaptive tendency to avoid eating food that tastes weird or raises anxiety — this can prevent poisoning, she said. It may be that this tendency goes further than necessary in some people.

For instance, some of the most common foods in the “reject” pile have a slimy or gelatinous texture, or textural transitions (think bread with nuts in it, or tomatoes, which have crunchy seeds, slimy insides, mealy flesh and tough skin). In humans’ evolutionary past, such textures may have been tipoffs that something was spoiled or unsafe to eat, she said.

The study authors suggest that doctors should take picky eating seriously, because it could be a marker for future mental health issues. They also suggest that doctors should intervene when parents raise the issue.

As for ways to overcome picky eating, there’s not just one method that works, Pelchat said. But there are definitely some no-nos.

“What we found — and others have kind of confirmed — is that being a short-order cook and catering to the child is not helpful,” Pelchat said. “Punishing the child does not work, and rewarding or bribing does not work.”

Instead, taking pleasure in food, worrying less about it, taking time to prepare food and getting kids involved in the effort may help kids gradually reframe their experience with food, Pelchat said.

But there’s no evidence to suggest that working to overcome such picky eating on its own will help a child with anxiety or depression, Pelchat noted.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+. Follow Live Science@livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that gives a brief update on the various facets of ADHD.

Anxiety: Practical Management Techniques is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses

Depression is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides an overview to the various forms of depression, including signs and symptoms, co-existing conditions, causes, gender and age differences, and diagnosis and treatment options.

Eliminating Self-Defeating Behaviors is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches you how to identify, analyze and replace self-defeating behaviors with positive behaviors.

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Toddlers Medicated for ADHD Against Guidelines

By Alan Schwarz

Toddlers Medicated for ADHDMore than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of ADHD in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young.

The American Academy of Pediatrics standard practice guidelines for ADHD do not even address the diagnosis in children 3 and younger — let alone the use of such stimulant medications, because their safety and effectiveness have barely been explored in that age group. “It’s absolutely shocking, and it shouldn’t be happening,” said Anita Zervigon-Hakes, a children’s mental health consultant to the Carter Center. “People are just feeling around in the dark. We obviously don’t have our act together for little children.”

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, CA, said in a telephone interview: “People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”

Friday’s report was the latest to raise concerns about ADHD diagnoses and medications for American children beyond what many experts consider medically justified. Last year, a nationwide CDC survey found that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have received a diagnosis of the disorder, and that about one in five boys will get one during childhood.

A vast majority are put on medications such as methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin) or amphetamines like Adderall, which often calm a child’s hyperactivity and impulsivity but also carry risks for growth suppression, insomnia and hallucinations.

Read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/us/among-experts-scrutiny-of-attention-disorder-diagnoses-in-2-and-3-year-olds.html?referrer=&_r=2

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that gives a brief update on the various facets of ADHD.

Mental Health Medications is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the types of medications used to treat mental disorders, side effects of medications, directions for taking medications, potential interactions with other drugs, and warnings about medications from the FDA.

The Impact of a Life of ADHD: Understanding for Clinicians and Clients is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the many ways a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life.

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the unique ways symptoms of ADHD manifest in adults, including the distinction between attention deficit and attention regulation.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

ADHD: Myths & Facts

By Sarah Klein

What Everyone Gets Wrong About ADHDDespite an increase in diagnoses, plenty of stigma still surrounds attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Adults with ADHD (or parents of children with the disorder) are often somehow blamed for the condition — as if they’re not trying hard enough to control a wide range of symptoms, which can include difficulty focusing, difficulty processing information quickly, fidgeting, impatience and more.

Every year, ADHD affects more than 4 percent of Americans over the age of 18 — adults who are learning, working and living fulfilling, successful lives alongside people who assume those with ADHD are somehow less than. Here are a few things we should all know about ADHD.

Myth: ADHD isn’t a real medical disorder.

Fact: Critics use a lot of different arguments in the service of discrediting ADHD. They blame bad parenting for “unruly” kids, pharmaceutical companies for “fabricating” the illness in search of a profit or students looking for an unfair “advantage” in the classroom. There’s even one theory that ADHD is the result of a culture with “a growing intolerance of childhood playfulness.” But ADHD is a valid condition, recognized by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Surgeon General and countless other medical professionals. What’s more, there’s even evidence to support a genetic predisposition for the condition in studies in twins — a hallmark of legitimacy.

Myth: It’s caused by eating too much sugar.

Fact: There’s little evidence to support a link between eating sugar and acting hyper, ADHD or no, even though many parents still believe in the so-called sugar rush. There’s also little evidence that links sugar to causing or worsening symptoms of ADHD.

Interestingly, it’s more likely that parents are affected by their children’s sugar intake: One study found that mothers who thought their sons were drinking a sugary beverage rated their children’s behavior as more hyperactive, criticized their sons more and kept a closer watch over them, the BBC reported.

Preliminary research has suggested certain food additives may be linked to ADHD, but the results are inconclusive, according to the FDA. More and better research is needed to fully understand the implications.

Myth: ADHD only affects children.

Fact: The average age of ADHD onset is 7, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, but many children will continue to experience symptoms as they grow older. In fact, WebMD reported, about 70 percent will experience symptoms in their teens and 50 percent into adulthood.

Myth: ADHD is more common in boys and men than in girls and women.

Fact: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “boys are four times at risk than girls” for ADHD. But research suggests that our cultural and societal stigma may be at work here. Some studies have suggested ADHD is more “internal” than “external” in girls; they may not exhibit what most of us deem hyperactivity the same way as boys. Girls with ADHD may be more likely to have mood disorders, lower IQs and more difficulty socially, while boys may be more disruptive in school settings, leading to more referrals and diagnoses, according to the National Resource Center on ADIHD. More research is needed to fully understand gender differences in ADHD.

Myth: Adults with ADHD will struggle to complete school and succeed at work.

Fact: There is zero evidence to suggest ADHD affects a person’s intelligence or drive, and successful examples like Adam Levine, Michael Phelps and Solange Knowles certainly show that adults with ADHD can be creative, focused and successful.

Some people may find medication helpful, and many adults develop coping mechanisms and skills to assist them in reaching their goals. “Living with ADHD is not impossible,” Karen Ann Kennedy wrote in a recent HuffPost blog about her life with ADHD, “but it does take some careful planning to keep things in check.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/13/adhd-myths-misconceptions_n_6663394.html?ir=Healthy%20Living&utm_campaign=021315&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-healthy-living&utm_content=Title&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that gives a brief update on the various facets of ADHD.

The Impact of a Life of ADHD: Understanding for Clinicians and Clients is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the many ways a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life.

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the unique ways symptoms of ADHD manifest in adults, including the distinction between attention deficit and attention regulation.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Excerpted from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Publication Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), 2012.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). These symptoms can make it difficult for a child with ADHD to succeed in school, get along with other children or adults, or finish tasks at home.

Brain imaging studies have revealed that, in youth with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed, on average, by about three years. The delay is most pronounced in brain regions involved in thinking, paying attention, and planning. More recent studies have found that the outermost layer of the brain, the cortex, shows delayed maturation overall, and a brain structure important for proper communications between the two halves of the brain shows an abnormal growth pattern. These delays and abnormalities may underlie the hallmark symptoms of ADHD and help to explain how the disorder may develop.

Treatments can relieve many symptoms of ADHD, but there is currently no cure for the disorder. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for six or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

• Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
• Have difficulty focusing on one thing
• Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
• Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
• Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
• not seem to listen when spoken to
• Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
• Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
• Struggle to follow instructions.

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

• Fidget and squirm in their seats
• Talk nonstop
• Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
• Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
• Be constantly in motion
• Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

• Be very impatient
• Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
• Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
• Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.

ADHD Can Be Mistaken for Other Problems

Parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have ADHD because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, whereas children who have more symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. For example, adults may think that children with the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms just have disciplinary problems.

What Causes ADHD?

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Genes. Inherited from our parents, genes are the “blueprints” for who we are. Results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Researchers are looking at several genes that may make people more likely to develop the disorder. Knowing the genes involved may one day help researchers prevent the disorder before symptoms develop. Learning about specific genes could also lead to better treatments.

A study of children with ADHD found that those who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. This research showed that the difference was not permanent, however, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. Their ADHD symptoms also improved.

Researchers are also studying genetic variations that may or may not be inherited, such as duplications or deletions of a segment of DNA. These “copy number variations” (CNVs) can include many genes. Some CNVs occur more frequently among people with ADHD than in unaffected people, suggesting a possible role in the development of the disorder.

Environmental factors. Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children. In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead, which can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, have a higher risk of developing ADHD.

Brain injuries. Children who have suffered a brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. However, only a small percentage of children with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Sugar. The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it. In one study, researchers gave children foods containing either sugar or a sugar substitute every other day. The children who received sugar showed no different behavior or learning capabilities than those who received the sugar substitute. Another study in which children were given higher than average amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes showed similar results.

In another study, children who were considered sugar-sensitive by their mothers were given the sugar substitute aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet. Although all the children got aspartame, half their mothers were told their children were given sugar, and the other half were told their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had gotten sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior, compared to mothers who thought their children received aspartame.

Food additives. There is currently no research showing that artificial food coloring causes ADHD. However, a small number of children with ADHD may be sensitive to food dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other food additives. They may experience fewer ADHD symptoms on a diet without additives, but such diets are often difficult to maintain.

If you would like the full text of this publication, it is in the public domain and available at no cost at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml

If you would like to read this entire booklet and receive one hour of continuing education credit, visit Professional Development Resources at https://pdresources.org/course/index/6/1167/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder-ADHD

 

More Free Resources:

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Excerpted from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Publication Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), 2012.

ADHD Free ResourcesWhat is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). These symptoms can make it difficult for a child with ADHD to succeed in school, get along with other children or adults, or finish tasks at home.

Brain imaging studies have revealed that, in youth with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed, on average, by about three years. The delay is most pronounced in brain regions involved in thinking, paying attention, and planning. More recent studies have found that the outermost layer of the brain, the cortex, shows delayed maturation overall, and a brain structure important for proper communications between the two halves of the brain shows an abnormal growth pattern. These delays and abnormalities may underlie the hallmark symptoms of ADHD and help to explain how the disorder may develop.

Treatments can relieve many symptoms of ADHD, but there is currently no cure for the disorder. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for six or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  • Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  • not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  • Struggle to follow instructions

 

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  • Be constantly in motion
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities

 

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  • Be very impatient
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  • Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities


ADHD Can Be Mistaken for Other Problems

Parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have ADHD because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, whereas children who have more symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. For example, adults may think that children with the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms just have disciplinary problems.

What Causes ADHD?

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Genes. Inherited from our parents, genes are the “blueprints” for who we are. Results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Researchers are looking at several genes that may make people more likely to develop the disorder. Knowing the genes involved may one day help researchers prevent the disorder before symptoms develop. Learning about specific genes could also lead to better treatments.

A study of children with ADHD found that those who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. This research showed that the difference was not permanent, however, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. Their ADHD symptoms also improved.

Researchers are also studying genetic variations that may or may not be inherited, such as duplications or deletions of a segment of DNA. These “copy number variations” (CNVs) can include many genes. Some CNVs occur more frequently among people with ADHD than in unaffected people, suggesting a possible role in the development of the disorder.

Environmental factors. Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children. In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead, which can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, have a higher risk of developing ADHD.

Brain injuries. Children who have suffered a brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. However, only a small percentage of children with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Sugar. The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it. In one study, researchers gave children foods containing either sugar or a sugar substitute every other day. The children who received sugar showed no different behavior or learning capabilities than those who received the sugar substitute. Another study in which children were given higher than average amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes showed similar results.

In another study, children who were considered sugar-sensitive by their mothers were given the sugar substitute aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet. Although all the children got aspartame, half their mothers were told their children were given sugar, and the other half were told their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had gotten sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior, compared to mothers who thought their children received aspartame.

Food additives. There is currently no research showing that artificial food coloring causes ADHD. However, a small number of children with ADHD may be sensitive to food dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other food additives. They may experience fewer ADHD symptoms on a diet without additives, but such diets are often difficult to maintain.

More information on ADHD can be found here: http://psycom.net/adhd

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How is ADHD Diagnosed?

How is ADHD Diagnosed?Attention deficit disorder can’t be diagnosed based on the presence of one symptom. That’s because it’s not abnormal for people to feel distracted, unfocused and scattered sometimes. Not to mention that ADHD symptoms can be confused with other issues. This leads to misdiagnoses of disorders such as emotional issues and/or learning disabilities. Therefore, only a mental health specialist has the qualifications needed to make an accurate diagnosis.

What You Should Know About Diagnosing ADHD

Just as there’s no single symptom as proof of ADHD, there’s no single test that can determine its existence. A precise diagnosis can only be made with the involvement of a mental health professional or a doctor. Even then, multiple tools are used, including:

  • a symptoms checklist
  • past and present issues are examined
  • medical exam conducted to rule out other symptom-related causes


Always remember that there are various ADHD symptoms that can be confused with other medical issues or disorders. Hyperactivity and concentration problems are two problems that may look like ADHD. But, after a thorough assessment, a professional diagnosis may determine that ADHD doesn’t exist.

Making an Accurate ADHD Diagnosis

If you examine a group ADHD sufferers, you’ll find that the disorder looks different in each individual. This is one reason why there’s a need for such a wide-array of testing measures for helping professionals reach diagnosis. Therefore, potential sufferers must be honest and open during evaluations. That’s the only way for the specialist to come up with an accurate conclusion.

Factors Evaluated with ADHD is Diagnosed

There are some really strong hallmark symptoms related to ADHD. A combination of them is needed for an ADHD diagnosis. Some of the hallmark symptoms include lack of attention, becoming very impulsive and hyperactivity. These are some of the other factors your mental health professional will examine during the assessment:

  • The Severity of the Symptoms – Do the symptoms have a negative impact on the life of the potential sufferer? Generally people with ADHD will exhibit serious problems in in the family relationships, finances and/or careers.
  • The Beginning of the Symptoms – At what age did the ADHD symptoms begin to show themselves? Because ADHD begins during childhood, your therapist or doctor will look into how soon the symptoms appeared. When it comes to adults, they should be traceable all the back to childhood.
  • The Length of the Symptoms – How long have the symptoms been causing a disturbance? If the symptoms have been bothering the potential sufferer for less than six months, a proper ADHD diagnosis can’t be made just yet.
  • The Where and When of the Symptoms – ADHD symptoms have to present within more than one environment, such as at school and home. If symptoms only appear in one setting, more than likely, it’s not related to ADHD.


A proper ADHD diagnosis can be the encouragement you need to get control over your symptoms. Oftentimes, without help, your ADHD symptoms will stop you from obtaining success and happiness in your life. The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you can take control of your life and your destiny.

Information compliments of Liahona Academy: http://www.liahonaacademy.com/

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Preschoolers With ADHD Often Treated Incorrectly

By Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily Senior Writer

Preschoolers With ADHD Often Treated IncorrectlyDoctors usually do not follow guidelines for treating very young children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests.

In the study, about 90 percent of doctors surveyed did not strictly adhere to new guidelines recommended for treating preschoolers with ADHD, such as guidelines that address when to start medications, and which medications to use.

For instance, some doctors started preschoolers on medication too soon — before trying any non-drug treatment, such as counseling parents on how to manage their child’s behavior.

The findings are concerning because doctors should recommend behavior treatments first, the researchers said.

“At a time when there are public and professional concerns about over-medication of young children with ADHD, it seems that many medical specialists are recommending medication as part of their initial treatment plan for these children,” said study researcher Dr. Jaeah Chung, of Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. [See ADHD Medications: 5 Vital Questions and Answers.]

The researchers surveyed 560 doctors who specialize in diagnosing and managing children ages 4 to 6 with ADHD.

Results showed that only 8 percent of doctors followed all guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics — the rest either prescribed medications too soon, prescribed medications without first checking to see if behavior therapy was working, or did not use the drug methylphenidate as the first drug treatment.

One in five doctors said they often prescribe medications to preschoolers with ADHD as their initial treatment. The AAP said in 2011 that doctors should attempt to treat ADHD in preschoolers with behavioral therapies before prescribing medications.

In addition, about 40 percent of doctors said that when they did prescribe medications, they initially used a medication other thanthe ADHD drugmethylphenidate(sold under the brand name Ritalin). According to the AAP, methylphenidate should used first in preschoolers because it has been more rigorously studied in young children than other medications such as amphetamines.

About 20 percent of doctors said they expected the number of children they treated with medications would increase in the future.

Study researcher Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s, noted that the AAP guidelines are written for general pediatricians, and it’s possible that specialists see children with more severe ADHD (who are more likely to need medications).

Still, “Doctors collectively should recommend their patients pursue behavior therapies first,” Adesman said.

There may be obstacles to providing behavior therapy — the treatment is not always covered by insurance, and families may live in an areas without a specialist who provides behavior therapy, Adesman said. If this is the case, the AAP recommends that doctors weigh the risks of starting medication at an early age against the risks of delaying treatment.

Pass it on: In general, preschoolers with ADHD should attempt behavior therapy before they try medications.

Source: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/3797-adhd-preschoolers-treatment.html?cmpid=525453

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Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to offer home study continuing education for NCCs (Provider #5590); by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); by the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC Provider #000279); by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); by the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); by the Illinois DPR for Social Work (#159-00531); by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); by the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Discontinued Treatment of ADHD Could Impact Emotional & Social Well-Being

By (@BostonLara)

Continuing Education on ADHDYoung boys who discontinue treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are featured in a new study that many experts say highlights the importance of proper and continued treatment.

An average of 9 percent of children ages 4 to 17 are diagnosed with ADHD each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Considered one of the most common childhood disorders, the condition is defined by over-activity, and difficulty focusing and controlling impulsive behaviors.

The study, published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, followed nearly 300 boys living in New York City for 33 years. Half of the participants were diagnosed with ADHD during childhood but stopped taking medications for their treatment by the time they were enrolled. The men with ADHD were recruited for the study during childhood by a teacher and either a parent or psychiatrist. The men without ADHD were selected because medical records showed no signs of behavioral problems.

The men with ADHD were seven times more likely to drop out of school, and made on average $40,000 less per year than their non-ADHD counterparts. They were more than twice as likely to be divorced. Some 16 percent of the men with ADHD also had a form of personality disorder compared with none in the non-ADHD group. And 36 percent of the men with ADHD had gone to prison at least once, compared with only 11 percent in the non-ADHD group.

Read more @ http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/boys-suffer-negative-effects-adhd-left-untreated/story?id=17483707#.UH2-_cXyqsg

Professional Development Resources offers online continuing education courses for healthcare professionals that address the impact of ADHD. Courses are accredited for psychologists, counselors, social workers, MFTs, occupational therapists, SLPs and registered dietitians.

Professional Development Resources is accredited by the entities listed below to offer continuing education for the professions listed. We recommend that you check with your licensing board to ensure our accreditations are applicable for your renewal requirements.

 


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Psychology and Office of School Psychology (CE Broker Provider #50-1635).
Professional Development Resources is approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to offer home study continuing education for NCCs (Provider #5590). We adhere to NBCC guidelines. Professional Development Resources is also approved as a provider of continuing education by the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC, Provider #000279); by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (Provider #BAP346); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval #PCE1625); by the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists (Provider #193); and by the *Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (Provider #RCST100501). * Ohio Counselors: check CE accreditation statement for specific course approval – if Ohio is not listed, the course is not approved.
Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education for social workers by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program). Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (Provider #BAP346); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval #PCE1625); by the Illinois DPR as a Registered Social Work CE sponsor (Provider #159-000531); by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (Provider #RCST100501); and by the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).
Professional Development Resources is approved as a provider of continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC Provider #5590); by the American Psychological Association (APA); and by the National Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC, Provider #000279). Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (Provider #BAP346); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval #PCE1625); by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (Provider #114); by the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists (Provider #193); and by the *Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (Provider #RCST100501). *Ohio MFTs: check CE accreditation statement for specific course approval – if Ohio is not listed, the course is not approved

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12 Tips to Navigate Summertime When Your Child Has ADHD

By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, MS

12 Tips to Navigate Summertime When Your Child Has ADHDParenting a child with ADHD can be especially tough during the summer. “Kids with ADHD blossom when they have a structured schedule, and summertime is notorious for having a lack of scheduling,” according to Stephanie Sarkis, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of Making the Grade with ADD: A Student’s Guide to Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Psychotherapist and ADHD expert Terry Matlen, ACSW, agreed. Because most parents can’t mimic the tight structure of school, kids often get bored — and may get into trouble, she said. That’s because when kids with ADHD get bored, they seek out stimuli, which can be anything from picking fights with their families to playing with fire, she said.

Some parents discontinue their child’s medication during the summer, which poses another challenge, said Matlen, also author of Survival Tips for Women with ADHD. “That can create a situation where the child has a hard time with self-control, mood regulation [and] social behaviors.”

But while the summer can be challenging, you can absolutely overcome these obstacles and enjoy a fun break. Below, Sarkis and Matlen offer their excellent suggestions.

1. Create Structure

Again, structure keeps your child focused. You can create structure by engaging your child in activities at the same time each day or meeting on the same day each week.

Because ADHD runs in families, one of you may have ADHD as well, making it harder to establish structure. Enlist the help of your non-ADHD spouse to assist with planning out the day.

2. Incorporate Physical Activities

Physical activities are especially helpful for kids who are impulsive and hyperactive. It helps them direct their energies in acceptable, healthy ways. If your child is clumsy, try non-competitive activities such as swimming, running and biking. (Some kids with ADHD have fine and gross motor skills that may not be on par with others their age.)

3. Start a Rotating Playgroup

Sarkis suggested that parents set up a weekly playgroup with other parents around their neighborhood. You can meet once a week at a different home for a few hours. This is an inexpensive way of providing structure to a child, and it also giving parents time off in the process.

4. Consider Camps

According to Matlen, young kids do great in day camps that offer outdoor, structured activities, while overnight camps with physical outlets are ideal for older kids. If your child has a specific interest, such as art, horses or computers, specialized camps are another excellent option, she said.

Both Sarkis and Matlen also suggested camps for kids with ADHD. To find a camp, contact your local CHADD group or post on an ADHD forum, Sarkis said. “Look in your local paper, and ask your pediatrician, teacher, or school counselor,” she added.

(Also, this article has several helpful suggestions on finding a good camp.)

5. Try Local Facilities

If camp isn’t feasible, try a local swim club or the Y, Matlen said. These facilities offer an array of fun activities at an affordable cost.

6. Get Creative

Parents can also set up a badminton set in the backyard, purchase a trampoline [or] set up an obstacle course with tunnels and objects to hop over.

7. Engage Them in Nature

For instance, show your kids how to garden. Kids can get dirty while learning about nature. Also, setting up bird feeders and tending to the food gives kids the opportunity to learn how to care for living creatures.

8. Visit the Library

Kids with the inattentive type of ADHD often prefer quiet and calm activities. During the summer, many libraries offer either free or low-cost programs for kids.

9. Check out the Arts

Kids who prefer quieter activities also might enjoy attending concerts, plays and art classes.

10. Encourage Older Kids to Work

If your kids are older, talk to them about the many ways they can earn money, such as dog walking, pet sitting or even having a lemonade stand. This improves math skills and promotes a healthy independence and solid self-esteem.

11. Let Your Child Have a Say

Ask your child what they’d like to do this summer, including the new skills they’d like to learn, such as playing the guitar, camping or cooking. Once he sees that he has input and that his opinion is valued, the parent has a much better chance at getting him to try new things.

If your child already has a certain skill, ask if they’d be willing to teach that skill to a younger child. According to Matlen, this can “do wonders for his self-esteem, which for many kids, can get pretty battered during the school year.”

12. Consult your Doctor about Medication

Some parents take their kids off medication during the summer since there’s no schoolwork. However, it’s important to thoroughly discuss this decision with your child’s doctor, Matlen said. She’s seen kids significantly struggle without their medication. For instance, because of their hyperactivity and impulsivity, they may lose friends, she said. And their behaviors might cause tremendous stress on the family.

In addition to creating structure and engaging your child in a variety of enjoyable activities, don’t forget to find some alone time for yourself, Sarkis added.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/05/14/12-tips-to-navigate-summertime-when-your-child-has-adhd/H

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