The core symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are excessive distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness. Once known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) it was renamed in the early nineties. People experiencing ADHD have difficulty following instructions and being organized. They get distracted easily, make careless errors with schoolwork, are forgetful, lose things, have difficulty with listening and difficulty sustaining attention on tasks.
Other conditions can be Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. Around 35% of children will experience this disorder. The condition is characterized by temper tantrums, aggression, defiance and rule breaking, being stubborn and hostility toward authority figures.
Other conditions could include
- Mood Disorder around 18% of children with ADHD.
- Anxiety Disorder around 25% of children with ADHD.
- Learning Difficulties around 50% of children with ADHD can have specific learning difficulties. The most common is dyslexia which is a language based learning difficulty associated with written and verbal expression and reading.
ADHD without hyperactivity or impulsivity is more common among females.
Adults with ADHD still remain in great numbers, undiagnosed. The sad fact for a large percentage of adults who have lived with ADHD, is that they can feel they have wasted their lives and not fulfilled their potential.
Why is this so?
People with ADHD struggle with time management, decision making, impulse control, emotional outbursts, mood swings, concentration and attention difficulties.
Around 60% of adults with ADHD can experience drug and alcohol abuse.
The gift of ADHD
The advantages of ADHD can be original, out of the box thinking, unusual ways of looking at life, a wacky sense of humour, extremely creative and an unpredictable approach to most things. People with ADHD can show remarkable persistence and resilience, be warm hearted and generous and highly intuitive, to list a few.
Mainstream treatment for ADHD
The most common, mainstream treatment is medication. The most used medications are stimulates, like Ritalin or Adderall but these only treat the symptoms and one should be aware of the inherent risks associated with stimulants. All stimulant medication can cause a variety of side effects. The most common is appetite suppression and less common are headaches, heightened blood pressure, elevated heart rate, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, tics, anxiety, agitation and feelings of paranoia.
Alternative/Complementary treatment for ADHD
Exercise ” think of exercise as medication,” says John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “For some people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ADD), it may actually be a replacement for stimulants, and for some, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do to help increase attention and improve mood.”
The good news is that routine physical activity firms up the brain — making it a simple, alternative to mainstream ADHD treatment. “Exercise turns on the attention system, the so-called executive functions — sequencing, working memory, prioritizing, inhibiting, and sustaining attention. On a practical level, it causes kids to be less impulsive, which makes them more primed to learn. ” says Ratey.
Intelligence Integration’s physical training program is natural and completely drug free. The program uses a specialized exercise program that must be practiced and mastered over time. Research shows that tasks/exercise that is mastered over time, is more effective for the growth of new brain cells.
Reference: Edward M Hallowell and John J Ratey, “Delivered from Distraction: getting the most out of life with Attention Deficit Disorder”, (Ballantine Books, 2006)