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Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder

Overview and Facts

ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, affects an estimated 1 in 10 children in the United States. Since some, but not all, children outgrow these symptoms, fewer adults suffer from ADD than children. ADD is also known as ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While psychologists once thought that ADD was a childhood disorder, it is now known that adults can also suffer from ADD symptoms. Children with ADD symptoms experience both social and academic problems, and are sometimes labeled as ‘disruptive’ or ‘misbehaved’. Adults with ADD symptoms suffer from problems at work and in relationships.

Signs and Symptoms

In Children

Children with ADD present with the following symptoms:

  • difficulty sitting still
  • inability to consistently finish tasks
  • trouble listening and following directions
  • needing to be told the same thing over and over again
  • frequent daydreaming, even at inappropriate times
  • constant forgetting or losing things

In Adults

Adults with ADD present with the following symptoms:

  • feelings of restlessness
  • habitual risk-taking
  • craving for constant stimulation
  • tend to ‘space out’, even in the middle of conversation
  • chronic lateness
  • unrealistic expectations of how long tasks will take

Causes and Diagnosis

No one knows the exact causes of ADD. However, there is strong evidence that signs of ADD have a genetic component. ADD also appears to be more common in situations where the mother smoke or drank during pregnancy, or had a difficult pregnancy. There is also evidence that preschoolers are more likely to develop symptoms of ADD if they are exposed to lead. There has been some circumstantial evidence that brain injuries are related to ADD, but it is more likely that brain injury simply exhibits some symptoms in common with ADD. Some believe that there is a relationship between sugar and ADD symptoms, though scientific studies have indicated that there is no such relationship. Studies examining a possible relationship between food additives and ADD are ongoing.

Tests and Treatments

If you ask that your or your child’s doctor test for ADD, you can expect he or she will do the following:

  • take the patient’s medical history
  • test blood for lead exposure
  • measure the patients electrical brain activity
  • complete a physical examination
  • review the patients school, personal, and work difficulties
  • order brain scans to check for abnormalities

Some options if you or your child is diagnosed with ADD may be:

  • trying different types of prescription medication, including Adderall, Concerta, and others, to find the best one for you
  • therapy
  • assistance for parents in managing an a child with ADD

Helpful Tips and Home Remedies

Many believe that there are dietary treatments for ADD, such as reducing the amount of additives, sugar and processed foods ingested. High fiber foods with plenty of berries and grains are thought to be beneficial. Some recommend eating a diet high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, and in general following a healthy diet low in sugars and high in whole grains.

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