Attention Deficit Disorder (also known as ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are terms used to describe patterns of behavior that appear most often in school-aged children. Children with these disorders are inattentive, overly impulsive and, in the case of ADHD, hyperactive. They have difficulty sitting still or attending to one thing for a long period of time, and may seem overactive.
Up to 10 percent of children in the USA were described as having ADHD. Current estimates suggest that ADHD is present throughout the world in about 10 percent of children in the USA were described as having ADHD. Current estimates suggest that ADHD is present throughout the world in about 5 percent of the population. About five times more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD. Medications include two classes of drugs, stimulants and non-stimulants. Drugs for ADHD are divided into first-line medications and second-line medications.
Typical Symptoms of ADD/ADD:
Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
Often has trouble organizing activities.
Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period (such as schoolwork or homework).
Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
Is often easily distracted.
Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Parents are recommended to learn about this disorder in order to first be able to help themselves and then their children. Behavioral strategies are of great help and they include creating routines, getting organized, avoiding distractions, limiting choices, using goals and rewards, ignoring behaviors.
Children with ADHD can be extremely disorganized. Parents should work with them to find specific places for everything and teach kids to use calendars and schedules. Parents are advised to get children into sports to help them build discipline, confidence, and improve their social skills. Physical activity boosts the brain dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels and all these neurotransmitters affect focus and attention. Some sports may be too challenging and would add frustration. Parents should talk with their children about what activities and exercises most stimulate and satisfy them before signing them up for classes or sports.
It is important to establish close communication with the school in order to develop an educational plan to address the child needs. Accommodations in school, such as extended time for tests or more frequent feedback from teachers, are beneficial for these individuals.
When people speak about ADD because there is a natural tendency to focus on what goes wrong, or at least on what has to be somehow controlled. But often once the ADD has been diagnosed, and the child or the adult, with the help of teachers and parents or spouses, friends, and colleagues, has learned how to cope with it, an untapped realm of the brain swims into view.
Often these people are highly imaginative and intuitive. They have a feel for things, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters while others have to reason their way along methodically. This is the person who can not explain how he thought of the solution, or where the idea for the story came from, or why suddenly he produced such a painting, or how he knew the short cut to the answer, but all he can say is he just knew it, he could feel it. This is the man or woman who makes million dollar deals in a catnap and pulls them off the next day. This is the child who, having been reprimanded for blurting something out, is then praised for having blurted out something brilliant. These are the people who learn and know and do and go by touch and feel.
Recent surveys indicate that, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD.
From 2003 to 2007 to 2011 the percentage increased from 7.8% to 9.5% to 11%. It is now 2015
and the number is probably higher, and will almost certainly go up with the broadening of the
threshold in guidelines. A high percentage of ADHD victims are put on psychiatric drugs. In a
recent commentary in the British Medical Journal Professor Peter Gtzsche points out that
short term relief seems to be replaced by long-term harm and animal studies strongly suggest
that ADHD drugs produce brain damage, something some think is probably the case for all
The DSM-5 is a consensus document written by individuals regarded as experts in the field, but
the several thousand criteria have not been validated in the sense that they would meet the
stringent requirements of evidence-based medicinesomething that is in fact impossible to
orchestrate. As discussed several times recently in IHN, the DSM-5 has come under severe
criticism as a vehicle for increasing over diagnosis and over retreatment and a document
strongly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.
During the coming new school year it is inevitable that some readers will be contacted by school
authorities wishing to open the issue of ADHD. Parents need to be prepared. The first thing to
know is that the evidence is compelling that the identification of the ADHD problem and its
diagnosis is strongly concentrated among the youngest members of each class, a situation that
arises when there is an age cut off for each grade and thus a 12 month range in age. Thus
critics claim that what is really being observed is merely immaturity, not a mental disorder. The
second problem is classical; the differentiation between normal and mental disorders, since
normal covers a rather wide range of behaviors and some of those in the sets of criteria will be
recognized as in a very gray area in the context of this issue. Thus the concern among a
number of professionals that over-diagnosis, now rampant in their opinion, will only get worse
In a recent article, Batstra et al recommend a stepped approach to avoid false positive ADHD
diagnosis.15 This approach starts with merely watchful waiting to see what evolves to which may
be added non-drug interventions such as psychosocial and educational approaches in what
they call the pre-diagnosis stage. If there continues to be a valid issue regarding the diagnosis
of ADHD, more elaborate professional and unbiased investigation should be undertaken. It is
implied that the combined views of the teacher, the school health expert, and the physician who
will be required to get the prescription for ADHD medication is insufficient, especially if the
physician is in general practice and not trained in psychiatry. A label of ADHD, i.e. a mental
disorder, can follow a child through life, impact success in getting a job and insurance, and
caries a stigma strong enough to be worth avoiding if possible, and certainly if there is no real
mental disorder but merely a kid acting normal, albeit in the upper range of teacher and parental
tolerability. Also, medication appears to the in many cases the first choice, not the much more
benign psychotherapy approach, i.e. an opportunity lost.
Parents need to also be aware that the stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD are mostly in the
amphetamine class, and one is crystal meth which is also illegally made in basement and
garage labs for sale as a street drug, and that this class of stimulant drug has a number of
serious side effects which vary considerable from child to child ranging from mild to drowsiness,
impairment of intellectual powers and even conversion to a zombie. Stimulant drugs prescribed
for ADHD also have considerable value on resale as a street drug. The following is a list of
commonly observed side effects for the stimulant class of drug used in ADHD.
In our best seller book The all in one Guide to ADD & ADHD we indicated that this syndrome should be considered a gift rather tan a curse.
We recommend natural approach using proper nutrition, exercise, biofeedback instead of depending on medications.
Dr. George Grant, I.M.D., Ph.D.