ADHD

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About the Disorder

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children today. It also affects several adults. ADHD is a pattern of continuous inattention (inability keeping focus) and/or hyperactivity (excessive physical activity that is inappropriate for the setting) or impulsivity (behavior that happens suddenly without thought).

ADD or ADHD can be mistaken for rebellious behavior or antisocial traits. With treatment, focus and relationships benefit greatly.

Symptoms of ADHD:

Individuals with ADHD exhibit inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that:

  • Regularly disrupts the home, classroom, game or work area
  • Makes it difficult to function at home or in social settings
  • Causes problems in independent reading or written needs

Inattentive types display several of the following:

  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty reading for long periods of time
  • Finds it challenging to sit through meetings, lectures or maintain conversations
  • Doesn’t listen to family, authority figures, peers or direction
  • Starts a task but quickly loses focus
  • Has a hard time maintaining deadlines and managing time
  • Strongly dislikes and avoids tasks that require sustained mental energy
  • Easily loses important things
  • Is easily distracted by thoughts and external forces
  • Forgetfulness in basic routine activities, like chores and keeping appointments

Hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms include:

  • Constant fidgeting and restlessness
  • Inability to stay seated when it’s appropriate
  • Talking loudly, excessively and blurting out or interrupting people in conversation when it isn’t their turn to speak
  • Interrupting others activities
  • Difficulty waiting their turn, especially when it comes to playing with others

Why There Is Hope for Attention Deficit Disorder

Life after a diagnosis has as much life in it as we train ourselves for; ADD and ADHD can be a benefit because the diagnosis may challenge the individual to be aware of their needs and learning style. At Pacific Solstice, care means creating comfort and safety for you. ADD or ADHD can appear as early as age three, so it can be diagnosed and treated early on. By catching it early, children can go on to live high-functioning, healthy lives. In adulthood, the hyperactivity/impulsivity related with ADD or ADHD often diminishes, leaving the person mostly with inattention and focus problems. With the right approach, treatment is available for managing ADD or ADHD. While there is no cure yet developed for the disease, it is entirely possible to gain control over the symptoms and live a full life.

Helping A Loved One and Early Intervention for Attention Deficit Disorder

Screening for ADD or ADHD is a multi-step process involving behavioral and psychological assessment, a history and physical and questionnaires. Family, parents, friends or teachers will be interviewed and asked to provide valuable information about the individual’s tendencies toward inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, like how often they lose their temper, argue, bully / threaten others or, are easily distracted by noises or other external stimuli. Behavior in everyday situations can provide a lot of insight about attention deficits and underlying needs.

ADD or ADHD can be easily confused with other disorders. Just because it looks like ADD or ADHD, doesn’t mean it is. For example, if the individual is in a substance use disorder, tolerance, withdrawal and use can be confusing to the individual’s medical presentation. Thorough evaluations by a medical provider and a therapist is necessary to get a proper diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan.

How We Treat Attention Deficit Disorder

Medical care, nutrition, exercise, psychotherapy, recreation/hobby and psychiatry are a few ingredients in our care for ADD or ADHD. But, family care is probably the most important part of the treatment for ADD or ADHD. Medication (eastern and western) is available to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, helping children and adults improve their focus so they are able to learn. At Pacific Solstice, a doctor and physician assistant will monitor the process of finding medication and a larger neurological treatment plan that works for the person. Everyone is affected differently and neurobiology is unique at all times, always changing based on factors like environment, genetics, biology, trauma, chemistry and comorbid conditions. Finding and following integrative care options will take some patience and experimenting to get it right with time in a supportive interdisciplinary clinic.

Psychotherapy is often used in cases of ADD or ADHD. The disorder can cause a lot of stress within a support system, with family, friends or co-workers and feelings of frustration, blame and even anger can arise. Family therapy will educate friends, spouses, parents or caregivers about ADD or ADHD and address any negative emotions that may have developed while caring for a loved one. Behavioral therapy helps individuals adjust their behavior and teaches them to be aware of their behavior. Regardless of age, the individual can be proud when they act in a positive way, such as controlling anger, pausing before a reply, taking the time to think before acting out. Positive reinforcement can further support the success in staying with a care plan. In the classroom, teachers can carry out rewards systems for good behavior to encourage children to behave appropriately. Similarly, in the workforce, the employee with ADD or ADHD might want to communicate to their supervisor or a coworker how much incentives mean to their closure or stamina across a task, assignment and thought process. Pacific Solstice also utilizes MeRT (link Jason) in some cases, depending on overall needs and preliminary EEG results (1-2 weeks of data).

Learning how to deal with frustration is a large part of managing ADD or ADHD. When individuals know how to control their emotions and behavior, they are able to manage stress and feel more at peace within themselves.

What Ongoing Care Looks Like for Attention Deficit Disorder

There are several ways to protect attention, stress level and quality of life: maintaining a scheduled routine (from waking up, to work or school-work, outdoor exercise, deep breathing, to bedtime and meals), keeping things organized and encouraging boundaries as well as small attainable goals give way to praise and positive reinforcement. At Pacific Solstice, we notice that right brain left brain activities, such as spatial awareness activities, puzzles and sudoku, in addition to “I feel” statements and awareness of automatic thoughts help individuals feel empowered. Once a person is aware, feels supported and is even moderately skilled to face life’s unexpected events, as well as life’s seemingly boring or uneventful moments, ADD and ADHD have less impact on tasks and relationships. Staying organized at work, in the car and at home can make a big difference in how neural pathways heal and we utilize their plasticity in treating ADD and ADHD. Breaking down big tasks and taking each day one step at a time will increase ability to focus and to be productive. Although a nursing care plan at Pacific Solstice does include nutrition support and adaptogenic herbs, psychotherapy in the first two weeks is probably the most important part of individuals getting relief. Slowly, courage to continue in treatment leads to self-awareness and self-regulating.

Symptoms of ADHD:

Individuals with ADHD exhibit inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that:

  • Regularly disrupts the home, classroom, game or work area
  • Makes it difficult to function at home or in social settings
  • Causes problems in independent reading or written needs

Inattentive types display several of the following:

  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty reading for long periods of time
  • Finds it challenging to sit through meetings, lectures or maintain conversations
  • Doesn’t listen to family, authority figures, peers or direction
  • Starts a task but quickly loses focus
  • Has a hard time maintaining deadlines and managing time
  • Strongly dislikes and avoids tasks that require sustained mental energy
  • Easily loses important things
  • Is easily distracted by thoughts and external forces
  • Forgetfulness in basic routine activities, like chores and keeping appointments

Hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms include:

  • Constant fidgeting and restlessness
  • Inability to stay seated when it’s appropriate
  • Talking loudly, excessively and blurting out or interrupting people in conversation when it isn’t their turn to speak
  • Interrupting others activities
  • Difficulty waiting their turn, especially when it comes to playing with others