by Robert Locke
All too often, ADHD is overdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. Here are five facts to bear in mind when we look at how we can help to get a better and more accurate diagnosis as well as more efficient ADHD treatment options. But before we do that, let us reflect on a famous person’s experience with ADHD, just to set the scene, so to speak.
Channing Tatum’s experience.
Channing Tatum hit the headlines this week again by revealing that he had ADHD as a child. He also spoke about the problems he had with ADHD treatment by conventional medications saying that they left him feeling like a zombie.
This is not an uncommon story. In fact many children who never become famous talk about the same reaction. But Channing also mentioned the fact that in his experience, the drugs became less and less effective over time.
In addition, he had learning difficulties such as dyslexia which have left their mark today in that he is an extremely slow reader. That means that it takes him five times longer than a normal actor to get to grips with a script.
Watch the media hype on this one
It will be fascinating to watch the media hype on Channing Tatum’s latest statement. This will be construed as being against ADHD meds. It will be distorted and hyped up to an extraordinary degree. The fact is that the actor just merely recounted how ADHD drugs were not the right medicine for him and that he would not give them to his baby girl if she ever had a problem like ADHD or a learning disability.
We all know that medication is useful but there are limits. There are also considerations such as the right meds and the correct dosage. Often, by adjusting these to suit the individual child, medication can be effective in the short term and can be a valuable asset in any treatment regime.
Far too often though, medication is expected to perform miracles. Doctors, teachers and parents are all convinced that there is little else to be done. How wrong they are!
As if that was not bad enough, their concept of meds working is to adjust the dosage and this is often increased. There is far too much superficiality as Dr. Charles Parker points out in his new book ‘New ADHD Medication Rules’.
In various conventional treatment scenarios the individual and his reaction to the medicine is rarely taken into consideration. The patient should be number one on the list so that his metabolism, diet, allergies and the way he is able to absorb the drug are carefully monitored- very often though, these things are swept under the carpet. Again, instead of increasing the dosage almost automatically, there should be a much more careful analysis of how the patient is reacting.
In France, ADHD is much less common than in the USA. The American figures are climbing all the time and the latest CDC estimate puts it at 11% of the school going population. Why? Surely French life and parenting styles cannot be that different? In any case, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder but the criteria for diagnosing it are key.
In France, psychosocial factors such as the home environment and school setting are first looked at and family relationships are examined thoroughly. In the USA, biomedical standards are applied almost universally and guidelines and checklists are used in a haphazard fashion. The social, cultural and other factors are barely considered.
This fact should alert us to the possibility that there is a tendency to seek a biological cause and a medical solution. In addition, there are over fifty other childhood conditions which can mimic ADHD in their symptoms and these are often ignored. Sleep disturbances, food allergies, vision problems and thyroid deficiencies are often just not considered as possibilities.
There is no cure for ADHD. Medication can help the child to overcome common obstacles in learning at school but rarely help with behavioral problems although the child may be initially calmer and less restless.
Helping a child cope with everyday tasks, social skills, learning tasks and so on are all key in helping the child to manage their ADHD. That is why there are parenting classes to help parents home in on behavior problems, organizing their home to make it more ADHD friendly and so on. The drug companies have never really advocated this but the most prestigious medical bodies in the USA have. It is a pity that the doctors, parents and teachers all too often take shortcuts and never even bother to try.
One fact that is often not mentioned is that homeopathic remedies can form an equally useful and valid alternative to the conventional meds. Before you disregard this one, think outside the box and reflect on the fact that there are no side effects or health risks at all! This is a fact which has been proved time and time again. This fact will never be true for the psychostimulant drugs and every parent should consider the alternatives such as homeopathy. Just imagine no worries about depression, sleep, appetite or stunted growth!
Keeping on track
ADHD is just a difference. We should reflect on how we are actively and supportively helping our kids to overcome this difference. Positive thinking is not enough as we will have to make organizational changes to our homes, just for starters. Our society demands high standards and we should be giving our children all the help we can.
Author Bio: Robert Locke, MBE is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD, child health problems and mental disorders. You can visit this page on ADHD natural treatment to find out more
Image Credit: Corie Howell