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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADD/ADHD

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Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you had Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)? How would your life be different than how it is now? The symptoms vary with each individual person. It is often misunderstood and many have a difficult time ‘dealing’ with this disorder. I chose this topic because I have ADHD and I want to understand it more completely.

ADHD means, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. There are many symptoms of this disorder such as, fidgeting with hands or feet, having difficulty remaining seated, being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. (Beth Neil, “Mental health center”) ADHD people have a very low patience level when waiting in line or taking turns in games or group activities. They tend to blurt out answers before questions are completed, and they have a very hard time following instructions. They also have difficulty sustaining attention in task or play activities, and they bounce around from one incomplete task, to another. They talk excessively and interrupt or intrude on other‘s conversations. They have a hard time listening to what is being said. They forget things that are necessary for tasks or activities. Engag in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences, for example: an outrageous activity such as jumping off a building with a bungee cord.

Statistics show that 3 to 6 percent of the population suffers from ADHD. (Beth Neil, “Mental health center”) Not all of the cases include the hyperactivity.  Exact figures on the adult ADD are unknown at this time. However, 30%-70% of children with ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms of adult ADD in the adult years. The brain level sometimes grows thicker as the child grows older, improving their symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD is a condition of the brain. Problems you get are genetic/hereditary; brain damage (head trauma) before, after or during birth, brain damage by toxins (internal: bacterial and viral, external: fetal alcohol syndrome, metal intoxication, e.g. lead). (Beth Neil “Mental Health Center”) Some people strongly believe that food allergies cause ADD but, this has not been proven scientifically. The chemicals in the brain are not moving in a smooth flow, they are skipping. The brain of a person with ADHD is not constructed normally. They have a thinner brain associated with attention, but only a small percentage of children with ADHD suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Scientist’s are not quite sure what causes ADHD, but many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Results from combinations of factors often run in families. Cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy is a major cause for ADHD. (nimh.nih.gov) Preschoolers, who are exposed to high levels of lead, that can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, may have a higher risk of developing ADHD.

The daily life of a person with ADHD is more difficult than the ones without. They have a very hard time completing simple tasks, mainly because they are easily distracted. This makes organizing very difficult which causes them to forget where they put things because of their short term memory.

Those with ADHD have a very low self-esteem. They can be stunted socially and mentally. This could be caused by their image from others described as immature with a lack of self-awareness and a high demand for attention. This person can be irritable and easily upset. They also have difficulty expressing feelings or accepting responsibility for behavior. Their peers usually misjudge them and say they are careless or unintelligent.

People with ADHD have a hard time coping with others. At work, school, their relationships and families. More than likely people with ADHD have a harder time keeping a job because they tend to make careless mistakes on their work. They have major trouble at school sitting still and keeping up with assignment due dates because of their short term memory. Looking at their report cards and seeing disappointment affects their self-esteem which makes them think they are stupid but realistically, people with ADHD are actually likely to be geniuses. ADHD can put a major strain on relationships because the one with ADHD tends to make simple fights blowout fights, because the person with ADHD is unable to talk through issues calmly. (WebMD) A person with ADHD may “zone out” or talk out of turn, this making it harder to communicate, which may cause the partner to feel like what he/she has to say is unimportant. Marriages with ADHD have a higher divorce rate than those without. Short term memory also affects the families because they may forget to feed their children or forget to pick them up from daycare. It can also lead to reckless/irresponsible behaviors, like driving too fast with the kids in the car. This is a very serious problem that needs to be taken care of pronto.

ADHD can be treated through medications, but these medications have side affects such as, decreased appetite, sleep problems, anxiety, and irritability. Children might get minor stomach aches or head aches. Most side affects are mild and disappear over time or if the dosage of the medication is lowered.

Some rare side effects are: repetitive movements or sounds called ticks, personality change or flat without emotion. There can be health risks taking the medications but they are rare. In 1/1000 they can hear voices, hallucinate, and become suspicious for no reason or manic (an overly high mood). (nimh.nih.gov) some of the medications can promote suicidal thoughts. Current medications do not cure ADHD, but help control it as long as the medications are taken.

 

The most common drugs used for ADHD are:

Adderall              3 and older

Adderall XR       6 and older

Concerta             6 and older

Daytrana             6 and older

Desoxyn              6 and older

Dexedrine           3 and older

Dextrostat           3 and older

Focalin                6 and older

Focalin XR         6 and older

Metadate ER       6 and older

Metadate CD       6 and older

Methylin              6 and older

Ritalin                  6 and older

Ritalin SR            6 and older

Ritalin LA            6 and older

Strattera               6 and older

Vyvanse               6 and older

 

*Not all ADHD medicines are approved for use in adults. (nimh.nih.gov)

There is concern that as to whether stimulant medications are safe. It is found that stimulants do not make the ADHD child feel high.

            If a person has not already been diagnosed with ADHD and they feel like they  have some of these symptoms, then the person should see a mental health professional like a psychologist or a psychiatrist. For adults, stimulant medications, talk therapy and behavioral therapy can help improve their focus. Sometimes detailing out strategies will make their life easier. Make to do lists. Ask partner with ADHD to repeat back any requests. This can help simplify life by getting them into a routine.

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are all key behaviors of ADHD. It’s normal for all children to act this way but kids with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe. They tend to occur more often. To be diagnosed a child must have these symptoms for at least six months and to a degree greater than children the same age.(nimh.nih.gov)

What is life like for someone with ADHD? Life for someone with ADHD is                                                                                  difficult to cope with. I found out that ADHD is not a condition that can be treated, but there are medications and talk therapy that can help the ADHD person get though life. Researching ADHD helped me understand myself more completely, to the extend that I know why I have ADHD.

   Jessica was diagnosed with ADHD in the 2nd Semester of 7th Grade.
 
    Symptoms began to present themselves in the last quarter of 6th grade. One day after several discipline groundings for grades, Jess finally just replied, "Mom, I just can't concentrate with all that noise!"
    I had taken a class on ADHD, 2 months prior, the presenter- a GT teacher from the Hazelwood School dist- was awesome. She had not been diagnosed till she was 40.
    Bells immediately rang out in my head, when my daughter spoke those words....by the end of 8th grade we had her grades back on track.
  

Literacy Narrative Project by Jessica Poelker...1st Semester UMSL






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