• Tami Bruskotter

Post #13 Karen has ADHD

Karen talks about how she deals with this disorder in Podcast Episode #9.

Here are some of her notes...

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex brain disorder that impacts approximately 11% of children and almost 5% of adults in this country. It's an understatement to say that ADHD causes great difficulty with:

  • time management

  • general focus

  • executive function

  • dealing with hyper-focus (an intense concentration on one task or thought to the exclusion of everything else).

I and both of my children have been diagnosed with ADHD and trying to determine what's the best way to help us with our challenges is no easy feat! The information out there is contradictory and controversial, to say the least!

The number one question to answer after a confirmed diagnosis is whether or not to medicate. A great article in Today's Parent discusses how uncomfortable it can feel to fill that prescription. When our family first that decided medication would be a part of our overall treatment plan, we didn't tell certain family members or friends. Most people have no idea the advancements that have been made in neuroscience and in brain imaging that prove ADHD is about so much more than a little self-control. And medication has been proven to help! Dr. Ned Hallowell, thought to be to be one of the foremost experts on the topic of ADHD, says that when properly prescribed medication will "work as safely and dramatically as eyeglasses."

So which meds are helpful?

Prescribed stimulants, like Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvance, are the ones that can provide great benefits. Of course, all meds come with side effects so make sure your work with a doctor with a lot of experience with ADHD medication. Stimulants are not for people with underlying psychotic disorders, and should NEVER be "shared" with someone who does not ADHD. (These drugs are popularly used as study aids.) See a specialist! As for children, a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist or child psychiatrist will have a more in-depth understanding of how to best administer these drugs than your general practitioner. And a specialized doctor will monitor you regularly and adjust your dosages, if necessary.

What about alternatives or supplements to medication?

Heck yeah! Treatment needs to be all encompassing. We try our best to incorporate as many healthy lifestyle choices into our daily routine as possible. Meds can't fix everything, and having a hand in your own or your child's treatment can be very empowering!!! Here are some things you can add:

daily physical exercise

good sleep

balanced whole-food nutrition

supplements (vitamins, herbs, minerals)

mindfulness training (like meditation)

positive daily human contact

Cogmed (video game for improving working memory)

cerebellar stimulation

ADHD coaching

therapy & counseling

Now, just because medication has turned out to be helpful for me and my family doesn't mean it will be the right choice for you or your children. Get all the facts you can, ignore the myths, consider changing any unhealthy behaviors, and then do what you think is right!

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