Saturday, May 7, 2011


This post may be a little controversial. There are some who would claim that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is not a real disorder. Their argument runs something along the lines of, "ADD is over-diagnosed. Kids are just being kids, their parents don't know how to control them and the doctor slaps on a label and gives them drugs to make them all feel better."

First of all, even if ADD is over-diagnosed (which it may be), that does not mean that there are no real cases of ADD. Second, ADD is not just a childhood disorder, adults can struggle with ADD, too. Third, ADD is not caused by poor parenting, though parents of ADD children may need to learn modified parenting techniques in order to most effectively support their child. Fourth, since when does slapping a label on your child and/or needing to give them medication make a parent feel better?

Some people seem to think that even if ADD is a real disorder, it isn't a real disability, but ADD is recognized as a disability under federal law. Accommodations must be provided by employers and schools to individuals diagnosed with ADD.

Here are some facts about ADD:
  • There are three different kinds of ADD: combined type, predominantly inattentive type, and predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (sometimes called ADHD).
  • It is estimated that up to 6% of people in the United States have some form of ADD.
  • Half of children diagnosed with ADD will struggle with related issues into adulthood.
  • A person with ADD is distractible, impulsive, and hyperactive to a degree that impacts their schooling, work, and/or social life. 
  • These challenges must appear before the age of seven, must last longer than six months, and must be excessive - over reaching the usual distractions of childhood and our hectic lifestyles.
  • Other medical conditions may mimic ADD symptoms, so careful screening and diagnosis should be performed by a medical professional.
According to scientific studies, ADD is not caused by television, too much sugar, or food allergies. Functional brain images show that in people with ADD the areas of the brain responsible for maintaining attention use less glucose (are less active) than the same areas in a normative peer. There is some indication of a genetic link since families with one person with ADD have a higher rate of another family member also having ADD than the general population.

ADD is generally treated with a combination of medication and counseling. Stimulants such as ritalin, adderall, and concerta are used to help people with ADD focus. Counseling can help people with ADD learn better organization skills and other coping mechanisms.

To learn more about ADD, start here.


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