Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders that can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). Since children mature at different times and can naturally be impulsive and inattentive, ADHD can be hard to properly diagnose.
If you’re concerned for your child or yourself, it’s helpful to start with your pediatrician or family doctor. Your doctor will most likely engage the help of a licensed mental health professional as well. The process can seem timely and cumbersome, but a proper diagnosis can be key to helping your child thrive in school, work, and in social settings. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child generally must exhibit symptoms for six or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.
Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.
The most common type of medication used for treating ADHD is called a “stimulant.” Although it may seem counter-intuitive to treat anyone who is hyperactive with a medication considered a stimulant, the stimulant actually has a calming effect on those diagnosed with ADHD. Various types of stimulant medications are available. A few other ADHD medications are non-stimulants and work differently than stimulants. For many children, ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn.
Under medical supervision, stimulant medications are considered safe. Stimulants do not make children with ADHD feel high, although some kids report feeling slightly different or “funny.” While some parents worry that stimulant medications may lead to substance abuse or dependence, there is little evidence to support that notion.
Adderall, one of the more popular brand medications used to treat ADHD, recently has been in short supply because of shortages of its active ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration is warning that a fake version of Adderall is being sold on the Internet. Consumers should be extra cautious when buying their medicines from online sources since rogue websites and distributors may especially target medicines in short supply for counterfeiting.
Apparently the fake product purports to be 30-milligram Adderall tablets, but it does not contain the correct ingredients. Instead it has been reported that the pills contain the pain drugs tramadol and acetaminophen. According to sources, the phony medication can be easily detected. The package label contains several misspellings: ‘NDS’ instead of ‘NDC,’ ‘Aspartrte’ instead of ‘Aspartate,’ and ‘Singel’ instead of ‘Single.’” Additionally, reports show that the fake pills are white instead of peachy-pink and that they’re smooth with none of the markings of the real 30-milligram tablets. Also, they may come in blister packs, while real Adderall is sold only in 100-count bottles.
The FDA warns that anyone having the pills should stop taking them immediately because they are ineffective and may be dangerous. Combining tramadol with other drugs or alcohol can result in severe side effects. Consumers who believe they have received counterfeit Adderall should contact the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations at (800) 551-3989.
Children with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed in school. Before a child is diagnosed, a great deal of frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family. Parents and children may need special help to overcome negative feelings. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it impacts a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.
Different types of psychotherapy are also used for ADHD. Behavioral therapy targets and helps improve a child’s behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events. Behavioral therapy also teaches a child how to monitor his or her own behavior. Parents and teachers also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors. In addition, clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines can help a child control his or her behavior.
The following tips can help manage kids’ anxiety levels by helping them stay organized and follow directions more easily:
*Keep a schedule–Try to keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. Include time for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Keep the schedule on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the kitchen. Write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible and be sure to let other caregivers involved in the child`s life know about the importance of sticking to the schedule.
*Organize everyday items–To minimize anxiety, be sure to have a certain place for everything, and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.
*Encourage the use of homework and notebook organizers–Use organizers for school material and supplies. Stress to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books. Work with your child`s teacher
*Be clear and consistent–Children with ADHD need consistent east to follow rules they can understand and rely on.
*Give praise or rewards when rules are followed– Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it.