August 24, 2009

ADHD: Life Under Siege?

Like autism, ADHD has become a common diagnosis among youth.  There are currently 5 million children in America living with the disorder, and the “symptoms” can be exacerbated due to lack of treatment (i.e. medication, dietary restrictions, behavioral therapy, etc.).

And like autism, ADHD also affects boys more often then girls.

What is ADHD?

Almost all children have behavior issues from time to time. But, for children with ADHD, behavior problems are persistent and occur over a long period of time. For a child with ADHD, their symptoms can create challenges all day, every day.

ADHD is a real and treatable neurobehavioral condition that affects 5 million children in the United States. ADHD symptoms fall into 3 basic subtypes, which include inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive behavior, and a combination of both. These symptoms are persistent (in other words, they must be present for at least 6 months) and occur more frequently in children with ADHD than other children their age.

Among other symptoms, a child with ADHD may have trouble sitting still, finishing tasks, or following directions. ADHD can affect your child at school, at home, and at play.

{Source: Concerta}

When speaking with other parents, one of the more common complaints is the constant rise in food costs, thereby, making it increasingly difficult to keep their children on the foods that do not cause any issues in their behavior.

Then there are those parents, who do not feel that dietary changes are necessary and purchase junky foods because it’s not only cheaper to do so, they are also not “in the mood” to “fight” with their children over what they can and cannot have.

Life then remains exhausting because removing themselves from the line of fire is a stance they prefer to take, more often than not.

But who’s the real “winner” in that scenario?

Not being a medical professional, I was baffled to learn that stimulants are a common ingredient in ADHD medications.  It seemed odd to me that one would administer a stimulant to an individual who is already “overstimulated”. But according to Concerta, they’re added for good reason.

Stimulants are believed to enhance the availability of the brain’s chemical messengers dopamine and norepinephrine. These messengers are believed to play a role in behaviors like attention and movement.

Learn something new every day!

We can continue to help our children by being more conscientious about the chemicals they are exposed to (through food, household cleaners, etc.).  We need to stop pumping our children with sugary “snacks” simply because they’re cheaper, or, worse, because we just want to give them something, anything, to “keep ’em quiet”.

We all know what too much sugar does to a child who does NOT have ADHD…

The choices for how we can keep our children healthy are endless.

And I am merely an observer… who wants to see our children get the best now so they can live a healthy tomorrow.

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