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ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

by MICHELLE SMITH 2 years ago in advice
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Focusing is hard when you are faced with wandering thoughts you just can't seem to control

What are you doing? Why are you yelling? Didn’t I just tell you to pick those up? That is a typical day in my home. Between running errands on my day off, working a full-time job and taking my child to school; dealing with ADHD is added to the list of things to deal with through out the day. However, it most certainly isn’t how I’d imagined starting my mornings and ending my evenings. Now I’ll begin by explaining what ADHD is, types of medications, treatment and how I’ve coped in my own way having a child with this disorder.

Where to begin? Well let’s start with what ADHD stands for. ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Also referred to by some people as ADD, which isn’t the proper name. ADHD is the correct name for this disorder and it is broken down into three main types. Those types are: Predominantly inattentive, Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and a combination of Predominantly inattentive and Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive. This disorder shouldn’t be diagnosed by anyone other than a doctor or other healthcare professional. For doctors to determine this diagnosis they would gather information provided by parents and teachers to determine if a child has ADHD. Even though the assessment isn’t accurate it does give physicians and caregivers a better understanding of the disorder and where to go from there. ADHD affects a child/adult’s decision making and self-control or/and the ability to manage their daily tasks especially with patients diagnosed with inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness. On a positive note, this disorder is treatable. Even though the exact cause of it is still unknown, research is ongoing. Through out America there is an estimated nearly 17 million Americans diagnosed with this disorder and even though there is treatment, there is no accurate diagnosis to determine the exact medicine or treatment to help these patients. Overall, there is a positive side tot his disorder and it is manageable through care and attention.

As a mom of a child with ADHD, I know the hesitation of putting your child on medication. At first, I was in denial. I didn’t want to be that type of mom who just put their child on medication and watched the child walk around like a zombie. Instead we were introduced to coping skills, occupational therapy and natural vitamins. At the end of the day nothing really helped. Without my child being cooperative, it made it hard to try another way. We ended up calling the doctor and finding out what type of medication would be appropriate. As I’ve researched I’ve found that there is no cure and that with proper treatment it can help control the symptoms. As a mom of a young child, I wanted to reach out to other parents and/or adults to let them known about the different types of medication and treatment available to them. To let those other families know there are other roads to take besides medication. As far as I was able to understand, depending on the type of symptoms a person has, determines the type of medication they will be given. The way the medication process works is by increasing the amount of neurotransmitters of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain explained by Russel A Barkley PhD clinical professor of Psychiatry. This process slowly increases from the first dose and continues as the child/adult gets older. Types of medication offered from the physicians are: Stimulant Drugs such as Adderall (amphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Concerta (methylphenidate), Focaline (dexmethylphenidate), Daytrana (methylphenidate patch) and Metadate or methyline (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate). Each of these medications have a different reaction for each person and personally in my experience my son has been introduced to Dexmethylphendiate and it has done wonders for our morning routine. However, stimulant drugs aren’t the only ones out there. You also have the Nonstimulant drugs such as Strattera (atomoxetine) and Intuniv (guanfcine). As for my personal experience with these types of medication, I’ve found that my child ended up being allergic to the Guanfcine, however, it is meant to help balance out the stimulant drug, in which case I’m sure would have helped with self-control. However, in my experience I felt that my child’s physician just wanted a reason to add more medication. Beyond taking medication for this disorder, there are other options to consider such as counseling and therapies. Which in my case have been helpful at times. Those types of therapies offered are Behavioral, Psychotherapy, Family therapy, Parenting skills and training and Social skills training. Here is a little background on the types of therapy beginning with behavioral, which is a form of counseling where children or adults learn behavior changing strategies and coping skills to deal with difficult situations and help reduce disruptive behavior. Psychotherapy involves consulting a psychologist or psychiatrists and identifying ways to cope with the symptoms. Family therapy consist of parents, spouses, siblings and other loved ones learning how to better manage the stresses of living with someone with ADHD. Parenting skills training is a type of coaching which helps to guide your child or your own behavior and ensure that the child/adult is getting the needed services and treatment. Most important skill that is taught especially when we are younger is social skills training, which helps children manage peer relationships, improve social problem-solving skills and decrease antisocial behaviors. Overall, different types of medication/treatments don’t work for everyone. However, here is at least an idea of different plans out there to help those families/individuals struggling with this disorder. They can know they are not alone and are able to learn more about this disorder as time goes on and also know they have multiply resources at hand. Everyone struggles but medication isn’t always the answer, a little love and affection does the trick.

At the end of the day, as parents we want to throw our hands up. We want to just forget about a certain situation and move forward. As a parent of a young child with this disorder, I completely understand. Most days I spend wondering how I am going to discipline my child or what type of activity can we do today to keep my child busy. From experience, there is hope and sunshine at the end of the tunnel. Even though right now in my household there is a struggle, I can reassure you all that even though it is a bumpy and long road, you will get through it. From going to counseling, to occupational therapy, natural vitamins and finally medication ending up on medication, I have to say my child and I have come along way. Still attending therapy sessions, we are learning to organize and learning to have self-control. For a child with ADHD, this is a huge problem along with many others. However, certain lifestyle changes can be helpful. I’ll share a typical day at my house and the type of schedule we try to follow, even though every now and again things need to be moved around or get changed. It all starts with a phone call in the morning on days I work, usually ending with sending my child downstairs after we have completed, getting dressed, letting out the dog, and using the bathroom. Once downstairs, I leave instructions to eat breakfast and brush your teeth. Mornings are usually not crazy unless I am home, then of course being a boy our routine gets wacky before taking the medication. Rest of our day consist of getting out the door with our backpack and lunch box, therapy every two weeks, letting out the dog in the afternoon and evening, homework (if any), reading a bible chapter, taking a shower (every other night), brushing our teeth and ending our day saying our prayers. Even though it sounds like we have a plan in place, not every day does it stick; changes do happen. However, every night I try to stick to this schedule. At the end of the day I find myself asking, am I organized? I must admit, I am always cleaning but I’ve found that it is helpful to your child when you keep all areas of the home organized and uncluttered. Finding things won’t be a hassle especially for the tough mornings when tantrums are being thrown. Being organized will make you feel grateful and save time to pick up the pieces when the tantrum is over. In this day in time I know it is hard keeping children away from Tv’s or cellphones and even video games. However, I’ve found removing those distractions has help my child to explore, use his imagination more and get all the extra energy that has been built up completely out of his system. Another thing I’ve noticed is the way you say words, I’ve learned that even the simplest use of words is helpful when giving instruction. Using eye contact even when the child doesn’t want to is showing them they need to be respectful and through out the last few years I’ve learned it is rough for a child with this disorder not to have wandering eyes but practice is key. As the years have passed, one area I struggle with is finding ways to boost my child’s self-esteem and offering praise of encouragement for good behavior. It has been hard especially when your child is negative. The negativity really brings you down at times but I’ve noticed at times my child likes to praise himself. A lesson I am slowly learning from this is to take and run with it and try to turn the negative energy into positive energy. Last but not least, one thing we are working on is showing affection. It is important to show affection because most children with this disorder are experiencing depression or anxiety or both while still learning to control the ADHD and sometimes the child just wants to know they are wanted and loved. From experience, I’ve noticed my son will come to me for the affection randomly asking for a hug and I try to continue to be there when he needs it. There are many difficulties we face but one we are still dealing with is overwhelming situations and time outs. No one wants to put their child in time out but every parent wants to be strict as well. We try to be fun as well but it is hard. For a child who is overwhelmed, we miss out on amusement parks or water parts and even the local skate park. Every day is a new fear and as time passes old fears go and new fears appear. On this journey I have to say that I am still learning to have patience with my child and I know at times I lose it but the best advice i can leave you with is to have patience, show affection and help your child get the treatment needed. Children grow up quickly and you don’t want to miss out stressing over the little obstacles we face with this disorder.

At the end of the day you can either let ADHD run your life or you can become someone who learns to cope with it. Only you are responsible for your actions and you are the only one who can make a change. Medication isn’t a solution but can help in many ways along with other treatment options as long as the person is willing to let it work. Picking a treatment/medication isn’t easy, going through counseling/therapy most of your life isn’t what you imagined but making lifestyle changes if your willing, will help you go far with this disorder and overcome the obstacles you face. Overall, ADHD is manageable and just needs a little patience with love and a support team on the side.

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About the author

MICHELLE SMITH

An inspirational poet. Writing poems to show others that it is okay to show feelings another way. I've tried a couple articles but I've found I'm better at the poetry. Just want to inspire and encourage others through tough times.

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