Anne E Heath, PhD, Licensed Psychologist - Psychologist
By Lynda McCullough
Mindfulness meditation for people with ADHD? It may seem like a stretch, since difficulty with mindfulness is the very challenge for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And yet recent research shows that mindfulness training can be adapted for this condition and that it can improve concentration.
Various clinicians and educators are already teaching mindfulness to people with ADHD as well as to overly stressed school children.Scientists have been trying for several decades to understand how attention works. Recent studies on mindfulness and attention have demonstrated that with a little work, participants can develop greater ability to focus and self-regulate.
2.  Hypnotherapy: ADD/ADHD Drug Free Treatments
by Mary Ernsberger
 “Maybe if you found a doctor who’d put him on medication, he would behave better.”  How often have you been told that the only effective way to treat attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is to medicate your child?

 We teach our children to say “No” to drugs.  Yet, some children are given pills every morning, and at midday these same children line up at school to take another pill.  The message is, “Just take this pill and everything will be better.”

 America’s youth are the future of our country.  The question is: Although we give lip service to the “drugs destroy dreams” message, are we actually creating a drug-dependent society?
According to Webster, the definition of ADD/ADHD is a “neurobiological disorder that manifests as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.”  Question:  Who defines more frequent and severe?

 ADD/ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed “illness” among school-aged children.  On average, it take less than 30 minutes for a doctor to write a prescription for Ritalin, Adderal or one of the many other drugs available.

 According to Stephen V. Faraone, Ph.D, of the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry, “By determining how people’s lives are impacted – starting from childhood – we can begin to help people take control and reduce the potential for life-long impairment.”

 A recent study, titled “Capturing America’s Attention,” revealed that being diagnosed or labeled with this disorder creates stigmas that affect the person’s educational abilities, self-image, professional achievements and interpersonal relationships.

Drug-free options do exist to help those who’ve been diagnosed with these disorders.  In 1995, the National Institute of Health reported that mindfulnessmeditation and other relaxation techniques are often a better treatment for a variety of illnesses than allopathic medicine.

It doesn’t take hard work to keep a relationship happy or stable over time. For example, many people assume that conflict is kryptonite to relationships. But it’s actually frustration. Specifically, frustration forms when a partner’s expectations go unmet.
Happy couples have realistic expectations, both about relationships in general and about their relationship in particular. One myth is that healthy couples don’t have conflict. Conflict is inevitable. In fact, if you aren’t having conflict, you aren’t talking about the important issues in your relationship.

5. ADD or ADHD?

Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood, affecting 3 to 7 percent of school-age children. The three main ADHD symptoms in children include inattention, hyperactivity and a tendency to be impulsive. These traits can lead to difficulties in school, poor interactions with other children and adults, and low self-esteem. Associated disorders can include anxiety, depression, difficult behavior (oppositional defiant disorder), tics and learning disabilities. 

Candidates for Evaluation

Who should be evaluated for ADHD or related disorders? Children who exhibit any of the following behavioral characteristics:
  • Academic difficulties
  • Difficulties with attention span or excessive level of activity at home and in school
  • Behavioral difficulties

The first step for children seeking care and assistance is a full evaluation by a physician – either a pediatric neurologist or psychiatrist specializing in ADHD. The physician will obtain a detailed medical history and perform a thorough physical and neurological examination.
A consultation with a psychologist specializing in ADHD will usually be recommended. This may include an IQ test and evaluation for symptoms of ADHD and other conditions that can be associated or mistaken for ADHD. 
The need for additional testing, such as central auditory processing, will be assessed. Also, educational materials will be provided to the parents, and both parents and teachers will be asked to provide input by taking part in the questionnaires to help in completing the assessment. Once the evaluation is complete, the physician will meet with the family to discuss and explain results. 
Does your child have ADHD?

The American Psychiatric Association describes symptoms that can help in identifying ADHD in children or problems with inattention and hyperactivity. 

ADHD Symptoms in Children: Inattention
  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty maintaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow directions and fails to complete schoolwork, chores, or, in adolescents, on-the-job duties
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks or activities
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

ADHD Symptoms in Children: Hyperactivity
  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  • Runs or climbs excessively when inappropriate
  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Is always on the go or acts is if “driven by motor”
  • Often talks excessively
  • In adolescents, may be exhibited by feelings of restlessness

ADHD Symptoms in Children: Impulsivity
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Has difficulty waiting his/her turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others (for example, butts into conversations or games)
If your child exhibits several of these symptoms, he or she may be a candidate for evaluation by a team of professionals.   
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