INTEGRATIVE + ONLINE PSYCHIATRY + HOLISTIC HEALTH

Category: ADD/ADHD

Boy depressed with a tear in the eyes

Childrens’ Essential Need

A child at risk can easily go unrecognized!

Sam was lagging in his school work and was falling asleep on his school desk. His grades were failing. He was getting into fights, according to his principal. Other kids were bullying and picking on him. At home and school, he was often moody and irritable. He avoided social activities and liked to play by himself or watch TV. The school called his mother to make an appointment. What happened next totally caught everyone off guard. Help had come too late. [i]

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Sunrise amidst the clouds

Autism Spectrum Trait Recognition

Autism spectrum traits or characteristics (AST)

are common in our population and may contribute to unique advantages or disadvantages. There now is better recognition and awareness of autistic traits. Current scientific evidence supports that there is a predominant genetic origin of AST.

© Artem Oleshko/123 RF.com, Unique Talents

Autism Spectrum refers to the varied presentation of individuals that may have unique strengths but also challenges with difficulties in social skills, communication, motor coordination, repetitious movements or behaviors, and early-life developmental issues.

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Promise of Light on other side of a Wood Bridge of wood bridge in deep forest crossing water stream and glowing light at the end of wooden ways; Copyright: khunaspix / 123RF Stock Photo

Expert Mentoring – A Key to Restoring Mental & Emotional Health

Escalating mental health, emotional or related health issues may signal the need for mentoring or guidance.

When help is needed, it can be difficult to find the outside expert support you need. Developing your own personal self as a resource can also be a challenge.

A person in distress often recognizes that their customary coping mechanism and level of support are inadequate. The dependence on learned ways of dealing with adverse life events often does not help for an overload of stressors and emotional turmoil. The experience for some is like being entrapped in a swirl of thoughts, painful emotions and images. Before distress reaches too high a level, is the time to reach out to others for help and guidance.

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Meditation, mindfulness, happiness - zen garden with massage stones and waterlily

Meditation – Mental Health Essential

Meditation, Mindfulness, or Introspective Practices

have well proven their value in holistic mental health work for mood, anxiety, addiction, and health issues. Meditation can be an essential tool for happiness and mental health. Enhancement of longevity and decrease in brain aging has also been demonstrated as an added benefit. In many other areas, there are proven benefits as in work, school, athletic performance, sleep, and creativity. The mere awareness in meditation – that thoughts and emotion are of a changing and transient nature – is enlightening for those felt imprisoned by harsh negative thoughts and emotions.

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aspie traits, diversity, goldfish

“Aspie” Traits

aspie traits, diversity, goldfishInstead of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or a person with Asperger’s syndrome, some have a preference to be seen as an “aspie” person or as one that has aspie traits. Looking at the diversity of features found in aspie individuals,  some will only have a few and others will have many of the traits and characteristics. Often there is a preference for a positive name or identifier when a person has some unique differences. A name is preferred that brings forth a response from others that would focus on potential, meaningful affirmation, acceptance, and accommodations.

Words or names can be helpful or hurtful.

Will aspie be a positive identifier, an ennobling and uplifting expression, in our vocabulary, or will it end up in the wastebasket of other derogatory terms as nerds, egg heads, geeks, and other words that are demeaning?

From High Functioning Autism Spectrum to Aspie Traits

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, known as the DSM-5, and intended this as a manual for the diagnosis of mental disorders. Before DSM-5, Asperger’s Syndrome was the diagnostic label. It referred to individuals with a qualitative impairment in social interaction and communication with repetitive and restricted behavior. Now in a positive way, this is sometimes referred to as “aspie traits’.

The new DSM-5 changed the diagnostic name to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or referred to as high-functioning autism spectrum). The essential features in DSM-5 for ASD were: persistent defects in reciprocal social communication and social interaction, and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities.

The DSM-5 is a Diagnostic text and sourcebook for the clinician. It is an aid with the categorization of different mental health disorders. The level of the impairment and severity of illness are also represented.

Observed weaknesses, symptoms, and behaviors are categorized by diagnosis per the manual’s criteria. It helps qualify people for insurance coverage. It can be important in qualifying for services or programs as vocational rehabilitation. The DSM-5 can be a guide for research and population studies. It defines clusters of symptoms, traits, attributes, and clinical presentations. A condition once classified or named, in the DSM-5, is an aid to the clinician. A diagnosis can help in the selection of a matched research-validated treatment protocol.

Shifting to a Positive Focus on Strengths, Skills, Acceptance, and Accommodations

Once diagnosed, the individual becomes a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – before DSM-5 this was known as Asperger’s Syndrome. The labels of illness – thought of value in medical research and treatment – can also be the basis of stigmatizing a group of people – as sick defective or impaired. The label can misplace the focus of the potential or strengths of an individual. Acceptance of their differences and advantages needs to be the emphasis.

The diagnostic criteria for ASD are also the defining characteristics of many people that have comparable traits, which do not want to be stigmatized or treated with arrogance by others. They reject the negative inference of being a diagnostic label, an illness, or a defective population.

Looking at the diversity of features found in aspie individuals,  some will only have a few and others will have many of the traits and characteristics. The expression of a developmental or genetic trait can afford significant advantages without any associated impairments. Another side of the spectrum shows the expression of many developmental problems, autism spectrum impairments or disabilities.

To be assigned a diagnosis or a disease label can contribute to a “poor self-concept of being defective” vs. being a person to be respected and seen for potential as having unique talents and worthiness. An association with an illness or diagnosis can lead to discrimination from others. High functioning aspie individuals can still experience:

  • non-acceptance and non-support as in social networks, families, organizations, and in job settings
  • inadequate resources as in the community or educational systems
  • rejection by peers, discrimination, bullying
  • problems in getting through school, finding work, establishing a career, or suitable relationships
  • economic disadvantage, hardship, isolation, and disfranchisement

Aspie individual need support and assistance,

just as those diagnosed with ASD or Asperger’s Syndrome do. “They need to be informed and learn the secrets of typical social understanding and require help to negotiate through the social world that surrounds them. The challenge may be more comfortable for aspies than for those with Asperger’s Syndrome as a direct result of the people who surround them”.*

See Attwood paper “Aspie Criteria”*

As a consultant in medical and psychiatric facilities, conflicts arose between staff and patients.

Patients would have difficulties interacting with their peers or staff. If problems following the guidelines of the unit occurred, difficulties would ensue.  The staff’s expectations were for each patient to behave and interact as expected. Individuals involved in conflicts did not take well to correction or admonishment. Incidences could escalate, from agitation to combative, aggressive, or destructive behavior. The staff could be reactive with more verbal or aggressive behaviors than needed.

The perceived offending person was often diagnosed with official labels.  Some were:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • personality disorder
  • conduct disorder
  • antisocial behavior
  • schizoid, or schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder or depressive disorder
  • social anxiety or obsessive-compulsive

These were some of the tried intervention:

  1. isolation of the involved individuals
  2. recording of the inappropriate actions
  3. options considered were unique behavioral treatment plans, consequences, or medications

When a careful history was taken on identified offenders, developmental issues or traits were found associated with high functioning autism spectrum, an Asperger’s profile, or a person with significant aspie traits. These characteristics would then be considered as an important influence on the conflicts that occurred between peers or with staff. Some of these individuals identified had other exacerbating problems as:

  • trauma history
  • prior life events
  • early life in a disruptive home environment
  • early life abusive or neglectful significant others
  • drugs and alcohol abuse
  • traumatic brain injuries

Other existing problems like – ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression – can improve with behavioral or other treatments.

Aspie traits include – no significant intellectual impairment – with possible difficulties in:

  • social skills
  • social communications
  • ease of social engagement
  • reciprocal conversation
  • perceptiveness, empathy or intuitiveness
  • social cue recognition
  • executive functioning
  • information processing
  • passionate interests in certain specific areas

Aspie characteristics may be helpful for some; however, this can be a problem for others.

Positive characteristics can be strengths for success and contribution. Negative characteristics may contribute to rejection and discrimination. Several significant traits together can be problematic. Difficulties may occur in daily functioning, work, and related social activities.

Education anDiverity on yellow tulipd instruction to all participants involved can improve a conflict situation. A more positive therapeutic milieu can develop in the physical and social setting. The education would include a discussion about individuals and their differences.

Negative traits would be viewed in a constructive manner and not as a defect or a “pathology.” Aspie attributes have a positive potential to contribute to the group. Recognition of differences in social interactions, interpersonal communications, and behaviors is a start on the path toward acceptance, flexibility, tolerance, and non-discrimination.

Individuals with these traits can develop low self-esteem, defensive, reactive type of behaviors.

This results from repeated experience of:

  • rejection from their families and peers
  • failures in the educational system
  • bullying, rejection, and discrimination
  • unemployment and lack of access to necessary programs and accommodations for their needs
  • exclusion from many social setting
  • lack of mental health and educational support services
  • lack of appreciation for their differences and potentials
  • lack of tolerance, acceptance, and support

Aspie traits in an organization can also lead to conflicts.

In a medical setting, this could be with other staff members as well as with some patients. High achievers in any field can have successes because of their unique aspie attributes. The same people, however, may appear to others as having negative characteristics as being:

  • demanding
  • poor listeners
  • arbitrary in their decision-making
  • over-talkative, rambling, intellectual thinkers
  • to cut people off, interrupting, or change the subject
  • to have a strong belief or attitude that they are right
  • to be scrupulous or a perfectionist
  • to be obsessive compulsive about completing things in a valued way,
  • to be impatient, rude, or arrogant
  • to be a bully or tyrant
  • not to be a team player
  • odd in mannerisms

People with aspie traits might tend to:

  • become irritated when distracted from their work or conversation
  • feel that ordinary social conversation or small talk is irrelevant
  • prefer to work alone or to be alone with their activities and projects
  • less comfort or interest in the usual social encounters than a neuro-typical person (a person without aspie traits that represent most of our population)

Persons with aspie traits contribute and gain respect in organizations for:

  • high intelligence, reliability, persistence, open-mindedness
  • positive work ethic, honest, follows the rules
  • determined, original or unconventional in problem-solving
  • creative abilities, technical skills, verbal skills
  • getting to the point and forthrightness even when not tactful or in their self-interest
  • aware of details and errors that others don’t see
  • able to absorb and keep significant amounts of information
  • self-motivated, independent learners, able to generate novel solutions
  • the ability for spending time alone for research and completing projects
  • a perfectionist can perform repetitive tasks with precision and commitment
  • willingness to learn social skills which a not natural for them
  • ability to tolerate rejection and frustration to complete work
  • sees the best in everyone even though it sometimes backfires, reliable as a friend
  • the sense of social justice and fairness, advocate for the oppressed, bullied, and disadvantaged

Conflicts can arise between staff members and a person with aspie traits.

Resolution involves interventions such as team-development-work along with focused education about:

  • communication differences
  • the uniqueness of personalities
  • tolerance and acceptance of difference

Consideration is to bring in a consultant who is knowledgeable about aspie individuals for training. If an individual of concern has aspie characteristics, but in addition, a history of other significant co-occurring colored pensils diversityproblems as noted above – earlier life trauma for example – would be a candidate for focused therapy work in that area.  Use of an executive-functioning-coach can be essential if executive functioning is a major difficulty.

People with aspie traits need to be recognized for their strengths and contributions.

With their talents and genius, they are able to do complex tasks as well as complete projects. They are able to complete tasks which other neurotypical people (those who do not have the aspie traits) either couldn’t do or have failed.   Peoples’ differences are essential for the survival and success of a group or organization. It takes a team with diversity.

Talented people with unique traits make our society function. The person who can see the big picture can come up with novel strategic ideas and solutions to the problem. The person that can stay on task can bring a project to completion. They can get past small failures or distractions to get things done. An accepting and supportive culture stops discrimination with training and education where needed. These principles apply to couple’s relationship work as well. Acceptance and understanding of each partner’s strengths and weaknesses comes first. Then a successful relationship that operates in a complementary fashion can ensue.

There is much evidence that aspie traits are genetic.

You often find these characteristics in other family members. Early life experiences or environmental influence can affect these characteristics or traits as well. There is great diversity in presentation and features seen in the aspie population. Performance and levels of functionality will depend on each person’s pattern of development. Adaptation to a “neurotypical” population (the majority of the population that does not have the aspie traits) is a challenge where acceptance is lacking. Successes with societal participation, work, independence, and social integration comes with support and education.

High functioning aspie individuals can have difficulties or disabilities. The degree can depend on the presence of other co-occurring problems or debilitating conditions. There may be the need for significant support, specialized programs, and sometimes medication.

BOB’S STORY:

Bob*is a highly-paid staff in resource development at a high-tech software company. He had difficulty finding and keeping a job. At age 38 he discovered that he had an aspie profile. Bob was intelligent and had admirable skills – especially in the tech areas. He related well to others that had similar interests. He lacked executive skills, as in organization and time management. It would take him forever to complete any of – what he deemed – important projects. He would misplace important papers and be easily distracted. His self-esteem was low. He had experienced rejection and discrimination at prior jobs and during his school years.

Bob found an employment advisor who worked with aspie clients. First, there was a referral to an executive-functions-coach, who helped him plan his time. Time blocks were set up to help him organize his work schedule, allowing him to get all his priorities accomplished.  He learned how to avoid procrastination, and how to break large tasks down into doable chunks. He became better at prioritizing, starting a task, focusing and finishing. He began to use a planner to organize things. With his employment advisor, he worked on presentation and interview skills.

He chose companies where his unique skills and aspies were accepted and valued. His current company was a good fit, and he thrived there. He made some friends in his new organization. These new friends shared some of his interests and even some of his “aspie” traits.

*To protect confidentiality, the above is a composite of some clinical experiences and does not represent an actual person or any prior patients.

High functioning individuals that are not impaired by aspie traits or co-occurring problems, have the potential for:

  • gifted intellectual problem-solving
  • coming up with needed creative solutions
  • ability to think outside of the box in original ways
  • leadership and advancing knowledge in the area of interest.

Their strengths need appreciation and support. Recognition and encouragement are needed throughout childhood, in school, organizations, and the community. They can be the person that comes out with a money-making product that saves an industry. They could be the general that wins the war. They could be a surgeon and master mechanic that can fix things and save lives.

An aspie individual may need support and guidance from their employer.  Job expectations should be clear. Help with interpersonal skills to aid effective and cooperative teamwork is important.  Help with organizational skills, time management, and priority setting is also valuable. Successful employment or career opportunities offers the many potential benefits –  an increase of income, improvement of self-esteem, offering a place to apply talents and abilities, and provide a setting to develop a positive social network. Help is available from resources as the Job Assistance Network (JAN) that offers help with work accommodations or Vocational Rehabilitation Services – see resources below.

Whatever the name, label or diagnosis one chooses –  or with which one best identifies in their search for meaning, help or support, whether Autistic Spectrum, High Functioning Autism spectrum, Asperger’s Syndrome, or Aspie – is fine and supported by me. In this article, I wanted to explore and to get a better understanding of the different names and classifications. My intent was not to offend anyone or to undermine any individual’s beliefs regarding their learning and struggles to either comprehend or understand this complex area. This article was a little Aspie lengthy and Aspie loaded with some of my bias, but it is all about sending some love and support to all that want to know more about this
topic, for those who have been confused about some of the terms and labels used, or for those who have personally struggled with some of these issues.

Resources:

The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE) A positive presentation and understanding of Asperger’s are available in several articles written by staff on the ANNE website –  which works with individuals, families, and professionals to “help people with Asperger Syndrome and similar autism spectrum profiles build meaningfully connected lives.”

Following is a quote from the ANNE website with a link on “Neurodiversity”:

“Diagnostic labels, by nature, define disorders and tend to ignore the strengths, gifts, and adaptive benefits of the individuals diagnosed. In contrast to this, the Asperger constellation of traits has more recently been described as the product of natural variations in human neurology that lead to differences in individual experiences, sensitivities, and perceptions.

It is not necessarily a neurological “dysfunction”; rather, it is evidence of “differently” functioning neurology. “Neurodiversity advocates propose that instead of viewing this gift as an error of nature . . . society should regard it as a valuable part of humanity’s genetic legacy while ameliorating the aspects of autism that can be profoundly disabling without adequate forms of support” (Silberman, p. 470*). Just as the natural world thrives through a web of diversity, offering up a range of valuable interconnected attributes, so does humanity”.  http://www.aane.org/neurodiversity/

Job Assistance Network (JAN)

“The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome” by Tony Attwood an excellent resource and review

Been There. Done That. Try This!: An Aspie’s Guide to Life on Earth

“Aspie Criteria” – A helpful article by Attwood.

NeuroTribes – The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” by Steve Silberman – important book, excellent read, and resource for an in-depth history, present and future overview of the Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s, written by a very talented journalist and a New York Times bestseller.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? – article by Atwood

Asperger’s from the Inside Out by John Carley – a helpful book, for Asperger adults.

GRASP – Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership – a good resource – an organization run by people with Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorders, to help their peers with programming to increase the independence of Autistics and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  They have established workshops, social events, and groups, and helped increase the visibility of ASD adults within society with emphasis on Community-Based Outreach and Individual Self-Advocacy – advocating for Individuals on the Spectrum.

Autismspeaks.org – Another source of information on recognition and understanding Asperger’s.

Take an online Asperger’s screening test, as the AQ test, if interested at any of site linked below:

http://aspergerstest.net/interpreting-aq-test-results/

https://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc_tests

https://www.aspergerstestsite.com/75/autism-spectrum-quotient-aq-test/

To contact or for more information go to:

http://ronparksmd.com/

Thank you for your interest and review of this article,

Article by Ron Parks, MD and edited by Shan Parks

QUESTION – COMMENTS:

How does “aspie” traits related to you, your family, or your work? Comment below.

Helping Focus, Attention & ADHD

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Improper recognition or misdiagnosing of Attention/Focus Problems (AFP) and ADHD (Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also referred to as ADD) can lead to severe adult problems as:

  • Severe job compromise or loss
  • Interference with relationships and family life
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Development of mental and physical health problems
  • Not getting things done
  • Discrimination in the workplace
  • Substance abuse
  • Disability

Marge* had gone to an ADHD specialist as she was losing her business and marriage. She couldn’t focus or attend to things and felt very scattered. She took a stimulant medication but developed disabling anxiety, panic and depression with suicidal thoughts.  She switched her care to a more attentive holistic practitioner. Their work together revealed recent significant trauma. Six months before the onset of her problems, she was assaulted after leaving her place of business. Soon after, she developed severe problems with attention, focus and symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Also, it was found that she had a severe iron deficiency anemia and early signs of thyroid disease. She stopped her stimulant medication, started a PTSD therapy program and started treatment for her other medical issues. Her symptoms rapidly responded to treatment, and now her attention and focus are back to normal. Her business and marriage are now again successful.
* (To protect confidentiality, the above is a composite of many clinical experiences and does not represent an actual person or any prior patients.)

Having attention/focus problems (AFP) and ADHD difficulties can be problematic when an individual finds himself (or herself — gender assumed) in an adverse work or life situation. Examples would be: not being able to relate to others effectively, unable to get work done or meet the demands for performance and productivity.  Ill health can develop from being chronically overextended, not getting adequate sleep or from continued stress from the AFP.

There is often discrimination against people with AFP and ADHD in work, academic and social situations; however, attention problems in all forms are common in our population. ADHD, when diagnosed, allows for a workplace or school accommodations under ADA laws (American Disability Act).  Many with attention/focus (including ADHD) problems, if minor, would not be considered significantly impaired or disabled, even though they might struggle to remain focused or attentive at times . When in a positive fit with their life situation and operating within their capacity, many with AFP are some of our most creative, talented and productive citizens.

How do you recognize AFP and ADHD?

There are many conditions that can masquerade and significantly contribute to attention/focus problems or the actual condition of ADHD.  Information gathering and a holistic consultation can be helpful, especially when there hasn’t been a good response to simple or conventional treatments.

A significant percentage of childhood and adolescent with AFP or ADHD will continue to have symptoms and problems into adulthood. The inattentive type of symptoms seem to be the most prevalent ones in adulthood – as difficulties with organizing, sustaining

© lculig / Dollar Photo Club "ADHD Attention Words"
© lculig / Dollar Photo Club ” Words”

attention, distraction, finishing tasks, procrastination, losing things, forgetfulness and making mistakes.

In adults with AFP and ADHD, symptoms as internal restlessness, substance abuse may be common. Less likely symptoms of hyperactivity, difficulties with decision making and poor impulse control could also, though less likely, be present. In Childhood and Adolescent, one would more likely see difficulties with fidgeting, feeling settled, relaxing quietly, talking excessively, intruding into the conversation, blurting out answers, or running & climbing dangerously. See the following links for further information: ADDA, Adult ADD Univ. of Maryland questionnaire and Web MD.

A holistic approach to AFP or ADHD is important especially when:
  • other safer and more natural approaches may be available
  • medication are use ahead of careful examination for other causes or contributing factors
  • marked improvement is possible when other causes or contributing factors are addressed in a person with AFP and ADHD

Contributing factors often overlooked (important to find before considering medication) include:

  1.  medication side effects
  2. drug abuse & chemical dependency
  3. medical condition as: thyroid problems, hidden infection, inflammatory diseases, or nutritional deficiencies
  4. mood disorders as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety
  5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or past trauma
  6. environmental allergies & sensitivities
  7. family disruption or dysfunction
  8. major losses and worries including financial problems, job loss, marital problems
  9. sleep disturbance
Holistic approaches to AFP and/or ADHD to be considered include:
  • identifying environmental illness, sensitivities and allergies
  • improving nutrition with diet with more organic, fresh whole foods, considering supplements as fish oil (omega 3’s), magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins (as B6, folic acid), melatonin, or iron if indicated
  • avoiding food additives, chemicals, refined sugars, overly processed food
  • AFP or ADHD coaching
  • Seeking accommodations when needed in educational and organizations settings
  • behavioral cognitive, family or other holistic therapies, to help modify dysfunctional patterns of interaction or behavior
  • EEG Biofeedback

It is recommended that if any if these approaches are considered that they be done under the careful supervision of a qualified holistic health-care practitioner.

For more information and references on AFP and ADHD click here. To learn more about assessment and treatment approaches offered by Integrative psychiatry, medicine and holistic therapy practitioner. Further reading re: ADD Resources – ADD R.  Recent review available for purchase: ADHD IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS, Audio-Digest Psychiatry, Volume 44, Issue 16, August 21, 2015, Managing ADHD in Preschoolers – Robert R. Althoff, MD, PhD, Adult ADHD – James Margolis, MD.

Article by Ron Parks, MD and edited by Shan Parks August 2015

Question:

What is your next step, if you or your family is affected by AFP and ADHD?

 

Best Approach to Adult ADHD (ADD)

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Integrative psychiatry, medicine and holistic therapies can inform and help ADHD

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) also referred to as ADD (Attention-deficit disorder) often is very disruptive to adult life, which can impact on:

  • career,
  • relationships,
  • self-esteem,
  • mental and physical health,
  • getting things done.

Adults with ADHD can experience impairment, discrimination and disability.

ADHD symptoms can lead to significant compromised performance at work, in family life, in social activity and can contribute to substance abuse. Having ADHD can be more ADHD girlproblematic when an individual finds himself (or herself — gender assumed) in an adverse work or life situation when he feels there are no other choices or options. Ill health can develop from being chronically over extended, not getting adequate sleep or from continued stress.

There can be major discrimination against people with ADHD in work, academic and social situations; however, ADHD in all forms — from minor to severe — is common in our population. It is important to recognize that for many it is not a disability or disorder, though at times a struggle. When people with ADHD are in a positive fit with their life situation and operating within their capacity, they are some of our most creative, talented and productive citizens.

What is ADHD?

There are many conditions that can masquerade and significantly contribute to ADHD expression and difficulties. Helpful information gathering or consultation can guide treatment and recovery especially where there hasn’t been a good response to simple or conventional approaches.

Get familiar with natural, holistic approaches and what they may have to offer compared to conventional treatments. Discover any underlying factors or conditions that may need attention. There are many difficulties for the adult when this condition is unrecognized and untreated.

The age of recognition in adults is around forty, though it must be present to some degree since age seven or younger for diagnosis. After age twelve, it is estimated that about a half of children will continue with ADHD symptoms into adulthood, usually of the inattentive type – as difficulties with organizing, sustaining attention, distraction, finishing tasks, procrastination, losing things, forgetfulness and making mistakes.

Commonly seen hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms in children and adolescents are either less likely to be seen or appear differently in adults. Children and adolescents with difficulties fidgeting, feeling settled, relaxing quietly, talking excessively, intruding into conversation, blurting out answers, or running & climbing dangerously could present in adults as internal restlessness, substance abuse. Other symptoms as hyperactivity, difficulties with decision making and poor impulse control could also be present. See the following links for further information: ADDA, Adult ADD Univ. of Maryland questionnaire and Web MD.

ADHD occurrence and types:

ADHD occurs in an estimated 4% to 5% of the adult population (varies in different studies, but more common than has been assumed). It is often discussed in terms of three subtypes according to what symptoms predominate:
1. inattentive
2. hyperactivity-impulsivity
3. combination of 1 & 2 (more common in adults). see stats.

ADHD is a highly inheritable condition passed from parent to child. Scientist have documented in brain imaging and brain chemical transmission studies which clearly show that biological differences account for behavioral or attentional characteristics of ADHD. See 7 types ADD by Dr. Amen.

There are many natural and conventional treatment options.

Conventional treatments for ADHD is often with psycho-stimulant medication as Ritalin, Concerta or Adderall; or antidepressants as Wellbutrin or less commonly used agents as Atomoxetine (Strattera), Clonidine, or Tenex. However the over prescribing of these substances has been called into question – whether the drugs are really needed or indicated in most cases. Concerns have been raised about the potential adverse long term effects as well — see helpguide.org.

The biggest issues in using these medications are:

  • When other safer and more natural approaches may be available
  • When medication are use ahead of careful examination for other causes or contributing factors
  • Mark improvement is possible when other causes or contributing factors are addressed in a person with ADHD

Contributing factors that may be overlooked include:
1. medication side effects
2. drug abuse and chemical dependency
3. medical condition as: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hidden infection, inflammatory diseases, or nutritional deficiencies
4. mood disorders as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety
5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or past trauma
6. environmental allergies and sensitivities
7. family disruption or dysfunction
8. major loses

Natural approaches and holistic therapies:

These can be considered once underlying causes or contributing factors have been identified and addressed.Dollarphotoclub_75144459 (2)child in bush

There are many things offered and available, some with a better track record and less controversy than others. After you do your research from reputable sources consider:

  • identifying environmental illness and sensitivities and treating allergies
  • improving nutrition with optimal diet with more organic, fresh whole foods, considering supplements as fish oil (omega 3’s), magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins as B6, folic acid, melatonin, or iron if indicated – click on following numbers to read more: 1 & 2.
  • avoiding food additives, chemicals, refined sugars, overly processed food
  • ADHD coaching
  • Seeking accommodations when needed in educational and organizations settings
  • behavioral cognitive, family or other holistic therapies, to help modify dysfunctional patterns of interaction or behavior
  • EEG Biofeedback

It is recommended that if any if these approaches are considered that they be done under the careful supervision of a qualified holistic health-care practitioner.

ADHD or other problems presenting like ADHD, can be recognized hopefully by you with the information presented here or through the some of linked references. Potential problems with the unrecognized or untreated condition, can be considerable. Consider  the assessment and treatment approaches offered by Integrative psychiatry, medicine and holistic therapy practitioners. Further reading re: ADD Resources – ADD R.  Recent review available for purchase: ADHD IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS, Audio-Digest Psychiatry, Volume 44, Issue 16, August 21, 2015, Managing ADHD in Preschoolers – Robert R. Althoff, MD, PhD, Adult ADHD – James Margolis, MD.

Article by Ron Parks, MD and edited by Shan Parks August 2015

Question:

Is ADHD affecting you or your family? Consider getting additional information, taking action on what you have discovered already or on getting a consultation. What do you feel would be your next step?

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  • When I came down with Stage III cancer shortly after and was extremely depressed and anxious about my diagnosis, he prescribed me the right medications to help me. He sent me to a diet/ herbalist/ acupuncturist specializing in cancer. I am a survivor today.

    -JBR

  • In the fifteen years, we have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Ron Parks, his integrity, knowledge, and humanity have shown in both his professional and personal interactions.

    -Lino Stanchich

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By using this blog site, viewers acknowledge that they have read, accept and understand the following terms and conditions: This blog site provides information only, not medical or mental health advice. It is the User’s responsibility to direct personal medical or mental health questions to their primary care provider and specialty physicians. This blog site is not intended to do or provide medical advice or consultation. You are advised to seek the advice of your personal physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or problem.


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