Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ADHD Treatment and Prevention

Today we will continue our topic of ADHD. Now that we have a clear understanding of what it is, we can go ahead and look at some new treatment options that help those with ADHD.

The mainstream way to treat children and adolescence with ADHD is with medication and therapy. Therapy can consist of play therapy, or art therapy, and depending on the cognitive level of the child or adolescent Cognitive Behavioral therapy can be very good asset in helping to train coping skills. Finally, which I have seen and used that is effective would be Behavior Modification, in order to promote good behavior at home and school. While therapy alone won't necessarily work medications such as, Vyvance, Concerta, Intuniv, Strattera, Adderall, and everyone's favorite pop-med reference, Ritalin will be prescribed. Those medications are divided into two groups, stimulants and non-stimulants. There are various reasons why one would be prescribed a stimulant over a non-stimulant, like certain side effects, medical complication, and/or that they can't be taken with other medications.

In the recent years there are have been two particular ways that can improve a person's ADHD symptons dramatically. Exercise and Diet. While those both sound standard in changing anything that is wrong physically with your body, these two have a profound affect on the person with ADHD.

1) Exercise- Associate professor at Dartmouth, David Bucci conducted a study to measure the way exercise can improve memory and a gene has been indicated which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise has a beneficial effect. As reported by "Bucci began his pursuit of the link between exercise and memory with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most common childhood psychological disorders. Bucci is concerned that the treatment of choice seems to be medication. The notion of pumping children full of psycho-stimulants at an early age is troublesome," Bucci cautions. "We frankly don't know the long-term effects of administering drugs at an early age -- drugs that affect the brain -- so looking for alternative therapies is clearly important. Anecdotal evidence from colleagues at the University of Vermont started Bucci down the track of ADHD. Based on observations of ADHD children in Vermont summer camps, athletes or team sports players were found to respond better to behavioral interventions than more sedentary children. While systematic empirical data is lacking, this association of exercise with a reduction of characteristic ADHD behaviors was persuasive enough for Bucci." The article goes on to talk about being able to determine the genotype and modify which exercise would be best for treating ADHD for each child.  Click for the entire article How Exercise Affect The Brain: Age and Genetics Play A Role.
1A) Along the same lines as Exercise, this is an interesting video about the use of Karate for those children with ADHD.

2) Diet- Kim Fliescher, professor of pediatric nutrition from the University of Copenhagen who conducted research about diet and ADHD. She reported that, while there is more research that needs to be done,"...There is a lot to suggest that by changing their diet, it is possible to improve the condition for some ADHD children...Several of the studies show, for example, that fatty acids from fatty fish moderate the symptoms. Other studies detect no effect. Elimination diets are also promising."  This would really do wonders for children even more so for parents, but could also kill a huge part of the pharmaceutical industry. Even if we would be able to some how minimize and prevent ADHD by 10% that would still be enormous in so many ways, behaviorally, physically, and in school performance. For the full article click the link Children with ADHD May Benefit From Dietary Change.

Any way you slice it, medications and even therapy isnt always the answer. Nothing works 100% all the time!
Happy Thursday!

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