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ADHD Symptoms & Myths

Author: Dr. William Rappaport
Date: March 2017

ADHD KidsAttention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder.  It is marked by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. A person can have one or all three characteristics simultaneously for a long period of time.  It is absolutely normal for children to show these behaviors from time to time. However, those with ADHD present in a more severe consistent way. It can interfere with how they function at school, in the playground, at home, and through their schoolwork. It presents through inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity or a combination of all three.
Kids with symptoms of inattention only, often make careless mistakes and have problems sustaining attention in conversation, reading and during play. They do not listen when spoken to directly and have problems organizing tasks, schoolwork and personal belongings. These children often are seen as forgetful or disorganized when in reality they actually cannot help the behavior.

Hyperactivity/impulsivity is present when a child can not sit still in class for long periods of time, talks nonstop, acts as if “on the go” or “driven by a motor”, have trouble waiting their turn, interrupts peoples conversations, games and activities.  These kids seem to others as rude or a problem child. Unfortunately, children with ADHD just cannot control the behavior.
You may be thinking that your child does this all the time and therefore they must have this brain disorder. The difference between kids with ADHD is that they cannot help themselves. No matter how much they try or understand the consequences, they lack the ability to rein themselves in. They need consistent modifications to teach them the proper way to act in society. Kids who can stop negative behavior - DO NOT have the disorder.
A common myth that additives, sugar, and food dyes cause ADHD is completely false. To date no research has found a correlation between the two. We do know however that diets high in refined carbohydrates can increase a risk for high insulin levels, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In order to live a healthy life a balanced diet of non-processed foods are essential.
Treatment for ADHD is most commonly done through medication that stimulates the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the chemicals, which play an essential role in thinking and attention. Sometimes antidepressants are also given in combination. Along with medication, a form of psychotherapy called CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, is proven to help by teaching person practical skills such as completing tasks and monitoring ones own behavior by self-correcting.
In order for ADHD to be diagnosed it must be present in two places such as home/school or home/social activities, or school/playground. When behaviors are in just one area, patience and consistent teaching your children right from wrong is warranted.
If you suspect something is wrong speak with your kids teachers, observe, keep a log and contact your child’s doctor. The earlier an intervention happens the better off your child will be.


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