Child ADD & ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
Help With ADD Child Symptoms
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Child ADD :: Natural ADD Remedies for ADD Children :: Help for Your Child With ADD
What is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? What is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?
Attention Deficit Disorder is characterized by a group of symptoms that affect concentration and a child's ability to focus and concentrate. It can also cause mood swings and other social problems.
ADD is an umbrella disorder, encompassing three sub-groups:
ADD Inattentive Type: The main characteristic is the inability to concentrate and focus. Kids who have ADD of the inattentive type are not hyperactive. However, they may have a hard time keeping their minds on any one thing and may get bored after only a few minutes on a task. If they are doing something they really enjoy, they may have no trouble paying attention. However, focusing deliberate, conscious attention to organizing and completing a task or learning something new is very difficult. This is classified as ADD.
ADD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type: A child with hyperactive and impulsive behavior is commonly "all over the place" and very active, both mentally and physically. This is classified as ADHD as hyperactivity is present.
- ADD Combined Type: ADD child symptoms of inattentive type are combined with the symptoms of the ADHD hyperactive/impulsive type. This is the most common form of ADD. A child with more than six ADD combined type symptoms should have a comprehensive evaluation. This is also classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is present.
Attention deficit disorder in children affects daily functioning, as they may have difficulty in completing their school work and are often in trouble with parents and teachers.
Typically, ADD child symptoms appear over the course of many months, rather than all at once. If the appearance of these symptoms is not managed correctly, it can lead to low self-esteem and other behavioral problems in the years to come.
What Causes ADD in Children?
The exact cause of Attention Deficit Disorder in children remains unknown. There is little evidence that ADD can arise purely from social factors or child-rearing methods. The most substantiated causes appear to fall in the realm of neurobiology and genetics. Environmental factors may influence the severity of the disorder, and especially the degree of suffering a child may experience. However, these factors do not seem to give rise to the condition by themselves.
The fact that ADD tends to run in families suggests that children may inherit a genetic tendency to develop an attention deficit disorder. Studies indicate that ~25 percent of close relatives in families of ADD children also have ADD, whereas the rate is ~5 percent in the general population.
There are other factors that can contribute to ADD including improper diet. Research suggests food additives may be linked to exacerbated symptoms in those who already have ADD, particularly children. Some of the biggest suspected culprits are food dyes and preservatives.
ADHD on the other hand, has been found to have a strong genetic component, as the genes that control neurotransmitters in the brain are different. Those with attention deficit disorder typically have imbalanced levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
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Diagnosing ADD in Children
It is often very difficult to diagnose ADD in babies, toddlers and children below 5 years of age. This is because many preschool children have some symptoms of the disorder in various situations. In addition, children change very rapidly during the preschool years.
Many of the techniques and principles used to diagnose attention deficit disorder in kids are the same as those used to diagnose the adults with ADD, including teens.
To assess whether a child has ADD or is displaying ADD child symptoms, specialists consider several critical questions:
- Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, and pervasive?
- Do they affect the ability to perform life tasks?
- Do these behaviors occur more often than in other people the same age?
- Are they a continuous problem and not just a response to a temporary situation?
- Do the behaviors occur in several settings, or only in one specific place like the playground or at home?
Signs & Symptoms of ADD
ADD is not a physical ailment like a broken arm or chicken pox. ADD does not have clear physical signs that can be seen in an x-ray or show up on a lab test. It can only be identified by looking for certain characteristic behaviors, and these behaviors vary from child to child and also in sexes.
Experts show that boys are three times more likely to suffer from ADD than girls. While boys tend to show more symptoms of hyperactivity, girls display signs of inattentive behavior, which is less likely to cause any inconveniences therefore possibly going undiagnosed. Symptoms of ADD typically occur in early childhood, but may also be developed later in life.
The symptoms of ADD in children are often quite different from those of ADD in adults. However, the biggest indicator of ADD in children is usually inattention that is inappropriate for the age and not caused by any other environmental, psychological, or physical factors.
This means that a child with a primary diagnosis of depression, for example, should not be diagnosed with or treated for ADD.
The following symptoms are common indicators of ADD in children:
- Difficulty keeping attention on work or play activities at school and at home
- Losing or forgetting things like toys, pencils, books, or tools needed for a task
- Avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
- Seems disorganized and doesn't pay close attention to details
- Has trouble with tasks that require planning ahead
- Forgets things and is easily distracted
- Does not follow directions or finish tasks, often skipping from one uncompleted activity to another
- Does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking
- Does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes
- Is forgetful about daily activities
- Has a tendency to daydream
- Becomes easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
- Rarely follows instructions carefully and completely
- Throws temper tantrums
To help recognize ADD, some of the symptoms that cause impairment must:
- Be present before seven years of age
- Be present consistently for a period of six months
Above all, the behaviors must severely compromise at least two areas of a child's life, such as school, home, or social settings.
A child whose schoolwork or friendships are not impaired by these behaviors would not be diagnosed with ADD. Similarly, a child who seems overly active at school but functions well elsewhere would not be diagnosed with ADD.
To complicate things further, different symptoms may appear in different settings, depending on the child and the demands of different surroundings:
- A child who can't sit still will be noticeable in school, but the daydreamer may be overlooked. Yet both may have different types of ADD.
- The impulsive child who acts before thinking may be seen as a 'problem child', while the child who is sluggish may be seen as 'unmotivated'. Yet again, both may have different types of ADD.
Inattention may not become apparent until a child enters the challenging environment of school. Homework is particularly hard for these children. They will forget to write down an assignment, or leave it at school. They will forget to bring a book home, or bring the wrong one. The homework, if finally finished, is often full of errors and erasures. Homework is often accompanied by frustration for both parent and child.
True ADD symptoms appear on a regular basis across a wide variety of situations and can interfere with learning. That is why a teacher sometimes is the first to notice inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity, and bring these symptoms to the parents' attention.
Help For Children With Attention Deficit Disorder
Symptoms of ADD are greatly improved through diet and regular exercise. Vigorous exercise helps expend excess energy while simultaneously calming the body. Eating a variety of healthy, fresh foods and avoiding sugar and processed foods helps moderate behavior.
Other things that help include a good night's sleep, daily routines and a set schedule. Kids with ADD need structure to thrive in school and manage daily living skills effectively. Adequate sleep helps balance the mood and boosts productivity.
Mealtimes can become emotional battlegrounds. If you feel that this applies to you and your child, do not hesitate to seek professional help. A nutritionist will provide you with nutritional tips for feeding picky eaters. Ignoring emotional problems around food can have far reaching effects on your child's future relationship with food, increasing the risk of anorexia nervosa, bulimia and other eating disorders later in life.
Parents concerned about the safety and effectiveness of popular drug treatments can try some promising alternatives with a significantly lower risk of unwanted side effects. Many have found psychotherapy and parent training highly effective in resolving troubling behavior and improving their child’s social skills and relationships with peers.
Controversial Treatments for Children with ADD
No comprehensive discussion of ADD is possible without considering the benefits and disadvantages of prescription drugs, a subject fraught with controversy.
Investigating the possible side effects and long term impact of prescription drugs is a must. The side effects of prescription drugs can seriously endanger a child’s health. Educating yourself on each of the prescription drugs used to treat ADD as well as exploring alternatives is a necessity if you want to provide the safest treatment for your child.
Do not allow teachers, social workers, or doctors bully you into giving prescription drugs to your child without doing research. While prescription drugs for ADD may sometimes be the only way to help a child, many children will respond to alternative and less harmful alternatives, and it is important that other options are attempted before considering drug therapy.
ADD represents a growing market for pharmaceutical companies. Although psycho-stimulants may be helpful for many families, no one should underestimate the influence of the economic issues involved.
The long-term effects of prescription drugs for the treatment of ADD has not yet been determined, especially in the case of children, the focused target market for these drugs! For this reason, treatment of ADD with prescription drugs or stimulant drugs should be regarded a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.
Available Medications & Known Side Effects
While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of ADD, careful consideration should be taken regarding possible side effects and cautions.
The following information on the most commonly-prescribed drugs has been compiled using a database of pharmacy-based literature, outlining their precautions and warnings.
It is recommended that parents considering drug therapy for their children should thoroughly investigate both the risks and the benefits involved.
You can find information on side effects and possible risks on the manufacturer’s own websites as well as on reputable websites associated with medical professionals or universities.
Before deciding to administer stimulant drugs to your child, please heed the following cautions:
- Exceeding the recommended dose or taking these stimulants for longer than prescribed may be habit-forming.
- Laboratory and/or medical tests, including heart function, blood pressure, complete blood counts and platelet counts should be regularly performed both before and during prescription drug use in order to monitor your child’s progress and to check for side effects. This is particularly important with stimulant drugs.
- Before your child has any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that your child is using these medicines.
- Serious side effects including heart attack, stroke, and sudden death have occurred with the use of stimulant medicines in patients with heart defects or other serious heart problems. There have been similar side effects associated with the use of some stimulant drugs in children without pre-existing heart problems, some of which have resulted in death. This has led to at least one drug, Adderall, being taken off the market in Canada.
- These stimulants may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
- These stimulants may affect growth rate and weight gain in children and teenagers. They may need regular growth and weight checks while taking this medicine.
- Caution is advised when using these stimulant medications on children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the medicine. Particular problems can be loss of appetite, stomach pain, trouble sleeping, and fast heartbeat.
- There has been some evidence of an increase in suicidal thoughts and tendencies in children taking prescription medication for ADD.
Other Important Facts
Physicians still have a difficult time predicting which prescription medications will produce beneficial results, so treatment is individualized and performed on a trial and error basis. This ‘hit and miss’ technique requires close observation and cooperation between all participants and is understandably not ideal.
If an initial regimen doesn't work, doctors often change the dosage, switch to a different drug or even add another medication. Some doctors even recommend trying a second psycho-stimulant if a first one fails.
If the child still doesn't respond, anti-depressants or other second-line drugs may be prescribed. Before long a child may be taking a cocktail of drugs to treat the side effects of the initial medication and a domino effect is created.
Remember that medications don't cure ADD! They only control the symptoms on the day they are taken. Although the medications may help the child pay better attention and complete school work, they can't increase knowledge or improve academic skills.
The medications can only help the child to use those skills he or she already possesses. However, this result may just as easily be obtained through behavioral therapy and other proactive techniques, such as out-of-the-box creative teaching methods. It is vital that you educate yourself on all aspects of ADD before making a decision.
While teachers can provide valuable insight, it is important to keep in mind that they are often under great pressure in the classroom, as having to manage many children at once can be extremely hard and stressful.
This means that their account of the classroom environment and your child’s position within it may be a little distorted. This is just another reason why an in-depth analysis of your child’s behavior from as many different sources and viewpoints as possible is so important.
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Balance and integrate your physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, social, intellectual and occupational aspects.
Make lifestyle choices that promote wellness, including living toxin-free and using Natural Product Alternatives.
Participate actively in your health decisions and healing processes.
Maintain healthy and respectful relationships with others, the environment and the world.
Remove Toxins From Your Daily Life for Optimal Wellness
In order to combat what our chemical happy society has unleashed and to maintain optimum health and wellness, avoid products that contain the toxic ingredients that can harm your health and the environment, and choose products made with natural and organic ingredients instead.
If you use mainstream products on a daily basis, odds are you may develop one or more skin conditions like rashes, acne, dermatitis or eczema. Additionally, a more serious health condition could evolve from prolonged exposure to the unhealthy toxins found in every-day products! This severely impacts not only physical wellness, but other dimensions of health and wellness also!
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- Allergenic Toxins - Cause allergic reactions
- Mutagens - Alter genetic information-DNA
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