INTEGRATIVE + ONLINE PSYCHIATRY + HOLISTIC HEALTH

Tag: ADHD

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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Gifted child drawing an abstract picture with colorful splatters

Unique Talent Attributes versus Autistic Traits

“Unique Talent Attributes (UTA)” are distinguishing, often underappreciated abilities and talents,

found in a valuable minority of our population. Individuals can similarly have exceptional potential and skills, but also have significant difficulty in such areas as social and cognitive functioning. When labels as “autistic traits” or “Autism Spectrum” are inappropriately used, there can be unfavorable inferences or consequences.

I had an older brother who lived the best productive life he could. He was disadvantaged from birth with genetic and developmental differences that distinguished him from others in his age group.

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scared businessman is falling into office chaos, Copyright: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo

HELP FOR ADHD – ATTENTION – FOCUS

People with attention, focus, or ADHD difficulties can be at a disadvantage in work, academic, and social situations.

ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or also referred to as ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder), when diagnosed, allows for a workplace or school accommodations under ADA laws (American Disability Act).  Many with less apparent attention/focus (including ADHD) problems may not be considered impaired or disabled, even though they struggle to maintain focus and attention. When someone with focus or attention issues is in a positive fit with their life situation – operating within their capacity, they are often creative, talented, and productive citizens.

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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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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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