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ADHD ( Attention Deficiet Hyperactivity Disorder) - Page 2

post #31 of 35
As a clinical psychologist who teaches child psychology to graduate students who are becoming psychologiists themselves, I have to know a whole heck of a lot about ADHD. So, I wanted to add a couple of thoughts based on a few comments in earlier posts.

One member wrote that Ritalin has a different effect on adults and children. Actually, this is not true. It has the same effect on everyone who takes it. All stimulants help us focus more intensely on whatever is going on around us. The reason it is so effective with ADHD is that it helps the child focus. It has the same effect on us adults, but since most of us can already focus, we just wouldn't notice as much of a difference.

Unlike other childhood conduct problems, ADHD is caused by a brain malfunction. Just like you can't cure diabetes with good parenting, you can't treat real ADHD with good parenting! In a child with ADHD, the part of the brain that inhibits inappropriate behavior and controls impulses is understimulated. Therefore, because this is a brain problem (NOT a problem with weak willpower) simply punishing the child will NOT improve his behavior. Once the child is on medication, helping the parents learn new methods to manage the child's behavior is vital as is working with a therapist so the child can improve his social skills. The research is clear however, that changing the parenting style and working with the therapist without medication will not work. In order for improvement to occur in a child who really does have ADHD, medication is needed so that the impared area of the brain is functioning properly.

It is very true that many, many children who are not ADHD are on Ritalin and other ADHD drugs. ADHD is difficult to diagnose and should only be diagnosed after several days of testing and input from family, teachers, and the child. A physician who spends 15 minutes with the child and then diagnoses the child with ADHD is doing a disservice to everyone! There are many childhood disorders which mimic ADHD. For example, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder are often misdiagnosed as ADHD because these children are also out of control. But, both of these disorders can be cured through behavior modification because they are not caused by brain malfunction. Bipolar disorder (which is a brain disorder) can also look like ADHD, but stimulant medication will have a devistating effect on these children.

The thing to keep in mind is that (1)ADHD is difficult to diagnose and should be diagnosed only after days of testing, (2) ADHD is not due to poor parenting -- it is a brain dysfunction resulting from underactivity of the pre-frontal cortex (as well as several other areas). This brain dysfunction makes it impossible to control impulses and to inhibit inappropriate behavior. (3) ADHD must be treated with medication. (4) The best treatment also includes helping the parents learn new techniques to use with the child and a therapist working with the child to develop new social skills. (5) Children with ADHD are often depressed, lonely, and social outcasts. Ritalin can make the depression worse in some children. Medication iwll not imporve the depression or social standing of the child. However, psychotherapy can help with these problems.

I hope I didn't ramble too long. This is a very serious and very overdiagnosed disorder.
post #32 of 35

It is wrong of you to say that better parenting and work with a therapist without medication can't work for children with ADHD. My brother is proof that it does work. It was hard, but he learned focusing methods and how to control his temper. The family had to change - the entire family dynamic had to do better - for my brother. After a while, he was able to get out of the learning disability classes and into a regular classroom with regular kids. He can focus effectively, he dosn't make disturbances, has lots of friends, lives a fully functional and normal life - he just has to work a little harder. It is worth it - he agrees. Alot of people are too quick to medicate, and it simply is not necessary in all cases as you would be so quick to imply.
post #33 of 35
Lotsocat , I am glad you post that . Many people don't understand ADHD . With out medication and therapy I don't know where we would be by now . My son is 15 now and is a A and B Student was for 4 weeks as a kindergardener evaluadet (sp) in a special hospital for ADHD . Where we both , my son and me got Therapy . I am so glad I did that I do understand my son much better today why he does things sometimes different then I would do . First he acts then he thinks . Thank's lotsocats for the post
post #34 of 35
Maggpie, I am glad you wrote this. I guess I should have prefaced what I said by stating that what I was reporting is true for almost everyone with ADHD. There are always exceptions to the rule. However, it is also possible that your brother really doesn't have ADHD, but that he has some other disorder instead. Note that I am NOT saying that he doesn't have ADHD, just that it is possible. ADHD is notoriously difficult to diagnose, so with any child with this diagnosis there is a possibility that the diagnosis is incorrect. In a few years we will be able to diagnose ADHD with brain scans. We aren't there yet - but it will come soon! Until then, we are stuck with very imprecise techniques.

It is always important to keep in mind that there are exceptions to every rule, especially when talking about human beings.
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by lotsocats
Once the child is on medication, helping the parents learn new methods to manage the child's behavior is vital as is working with a therapist so the child can improve his social skills.
Thank you so much for your comments on ADHD.

My son was on Ritalin while he was in therapy. My son's therapist taught me how to use behavior modification and positive reinforcement to manage my son's behavior. Each time my son had an appointment, I would go with him to give the therapist a progress report. Sometimes I would be told change the behavior modification slightly in order to get better results. Other times I would be told to continue without making any changes. The goal we were working toward was improvement, NEVER perfection or anything else that would rob my son of his childhood.
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