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U.S. Consumes Most ADHD Medication

It's time for kids to get ready to go back to school. Among the ads for school supplies and clothing will be ads for something else: ADHD medication. Though the United Nations passed a treaty banning direct-to-consumer marketing of ADHD drugs, the ads still appear in American magazines, newspapers, and on television.
"Children in the United States are 10 times more likely to take a stimulant medication for ADHD than are kids in Europe. In fairness, children in Europe are also somewhat less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD because of a stricter set of criteria. But that doesn't nearly account for the difference in prescription rates. The United States, the only nation to violate the U.N. treaty, consumes about 85 percent of the stimulants manufactured for ADHD."
Doctors, in increasing numbers, are telling stories of parents who have 'diagnosed' their children and already have a specific ADHD drug in mind. Many in the medical community are calling for the FDA and Justice Department to force compliance with the U.N. treaty in the United States - stating that these medications are potentially harmful if misused. Read more at Courant.com.

Labels: medications, diagnosis, pediatricians

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ADHD is a Lifelong Condition

ADHD used to be considered a condition that faded with the onset of puberty. But we now know that people who are accurately diagnosed with ADHD will likely have to learn to manage the condition for the rest of their lives.
"Even as children, they are accident-prone, and their parents get well-acquainted with the local emergency room. As they get older, rock climbing, bungee jumping, car racing, motorcycle riding, white-water rafting and related activities are among their favorite activities."
As people with ADHD grow up and grow older, they learn to be less disorganized and impulsive, but the ADHD symptoms rarely disappear altogether. Read more at SunHerald.com.

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Labels: adult_ADHD, diagnosis, symtoms

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Alternative to Medication

Until recently, freshman Sophie Bell was taking medication to treat her ADHD symptoms. But she didn't like how "shaky" the medication made her feel, so she and her mom started looking for alternatives. They found Dr. Martin Rosen, a chiropractor.
"He believes ADHD can start with a misalignment in the spine which affects the body's balance and ultimately how the brain functions."
Indeed, after a series of treatments, both Sophie and her mom noticed a difference in her ability to focus. She eventually stopped taking her medication altogether. Read more online.

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Labels: medications, alternative_medicine, treatment

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Behavioral Management Program Receives Favorable Analysis

"Total Transformation Program" is a behavioral management program for parents of children with ADHD and ODD. The program contains CDs, DVDs and an interactive workbook that help parents understand a child's ADHD or ODD behavior and know better how to respond. The program has just received a favorable review from the Director of the National Center for Girls and Women with ADHD, Dr. Patricia O. Quinn, MD.
"Dr. Quinn concluded, 'Given the limited time available to clinicians to interact with patients and their parents, how can professionals teach parents to more effectively deal with their children with ADHD and ODD/CD and provide these services in a way that is both cost and time effective? An 'at home' training program like the Total Transformation Program seems ideal.'"
Most parents of children with ADHD or ODD often feel they have to "go it alone", or seek expensive mental health support. The Total Transformation Program offers those parents a viable alternative.

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PedMed: In Praise of Non-Drug Solutions

Some specialists in pediatric and/or holistic medicine are concerned about the excessive publicity often given to drugs that treat things like ADHD, while other forms of treatment - like behavioral therapy - go almost unnoticed. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor awards, dinners and major lectures. Medical journals are filled with their ads.
"The net result is that even though in its policy statement the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry emphasizes its admonition that 'psychiatric medication should not be used alone,' more often than not, it is. For example, a study of 223 children ages 3 and younger diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder found more than half were prescribed psychotropic medication, yet fewer than a third were receiving psychological services."
William Pelham, Jr., distinguished professor of psychology, pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of New York at Buffalo conducted a study which found that when medication was used in conjunction with behavioral therapy, drug doses could be reduced by as much as 67 percent while still achieving the same results. Read more at ScienceDaily.com.

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Labels: medications, treatment, therapy

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Medication Isn't Always What's Needed

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities issued a statement on Sunday stating that medication shouldn't be the first course of action for children or adolescents who are diagnosed with ADHD.
"While pharmacological treatments are found to treat ADHD successfully, research shows that interventions such as family and/or group therapy and other behavioral supports should be used prior to pharmacological treatments. In addition, research findings have shown medications to be beneficial when used in combination with behavioral treatment for children and adolescents that do not respond to behavioral strategies alone."
The statement goes on to suggest that parents and children weigh the risks and benefits of medication carefully and that if a decision is made to try medication the patient should start with the lowest dose possible. Read more at Tennessean.com.

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Labels: behavior, medications, treatment

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Gene Variant Linked to ADHD

Scientists at the National Institute of Health have conducted a study which found a genetic link to ADHD and promises improvement over time. The gene, called DRD4, seems to increase the risk for ADHD in younger children by causing brain areas that control attention to be thinner. However, as the children get older, this gene appears to be associated with a normal thickening of the same areas of the brain.
"Although this particular gene version increased risk for ADHD, it also predicted better clinical outcomes and higher IQ than two other common versions of the same gene in youth with ADHD."
The DRD4 gene appears to account for about 30 percent of the genetic risk for ADHD. Read more at MedicalNewsToday.com.

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Labels: brain_activity, genetics, intelligence

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Tonsil Removal Helps ADHD in Some Kids

Recent studies are beginning to find an unusual link between ADHD in young children and their tonsils. More specifically, of kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD and had their tonsils removed, about half see diminished ADHD symptoms; or the symptoms disappear altogether.
"In one recent study, at the University of Michigan, 22 children with ADHD and sleep-disordered breathing had adenotonsillectomies [their tonsils removed]. After one year, 11 no longer battled ADHD."
The link seems to be between the tonsils and adenoid, and a child's sleep patterns. The tonsils and adenoid can partially block a child's airway when he lies down. The result is disturbed sleep patterns, and in some children (especially young children) lack of sleep causes hyperactivity and acting out that often gets worse the longer the child is sleep deprived. Read more at AZFamily.com.

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Labels: treatment, sleep, symtoms

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Children's Programming may be Linked to ADHD

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatric researcher at Children's Hospital in Seattle, recently conducted a study on the effects of television on young children. He found that children between the ages of 1 and 3 who watch an hour of TV per day are 10% more likely to develop attention problems by the time they're 7-years-old.
"Children's programmers use a technique called the 'orienting reflex', known as OR, to capture and keep a child's attention. OR works this way: If we see or hear something the brain doesn't recognize as the correct sequence or a typical life event - such as a dancing alphabet or quick zooms and pans, we focus on it until the brain recognizes that it doesn't pose a threat. The problem with watching too many programs that rely on OR is that real life becomes slow and boring by comparison."
Continued exposure to this type of input conditions causes the mind to expect it all the time. When a child's mind has been conditioned in this way, but doesn't receive the high-intensity input, the child becomes bored and inattentive. Read more at MSNBC.MNS.com.

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Labels: research, studies, tv_watching

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Maintaining Eye Contact Improves Compliance

A study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders determined that children with ADHD are more likely to respond positively to a parent's request if the parent maintains eye contact for an extended period of time. Seventy-six families participated in the study and were divided into three groups: one that used behavioral techniques without extended eye contact, one that included eye contact, and one control group. The control group was the only one that didnt receive standard behavioral treatment instructions.
"For parents receiving the standard instructions, children's non-compliance ratings declined by 32%. Among parents who received standard instructions + the stare technique, children's non-compliance scores declined even more substantially, by a full 44%, which was significantly greater than the reduction reported by parents receiving standard instructions alone."
The study shows that parents who maintain eye contact when giving their children instructions, then maintain eye contact for 20-30 seconds afterwards obtain a more agreeable response from their children. Read more at HelpforADD.com.

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Labels: parenting, treatment, eye_contact

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Improved Sleep for Children with ADHD

Ridha Joober, MD, and Reut Gruber, PHD, both of Douglas Mental Health University Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Canada have completed a first-of-its-kind study on sleep patterns of children with ADHD. They found that the medication methylphenidate helps improve the quality of sleep in ADHD-diagnosed children with poor sleep patterns.
''Children with low sleep efficiency might improve performance following the administration of MPH as it increases their arousal level to a moderate level, which is presumed to facilitate vigilance performance,' wrote Joober and Gruber."
The study focused on 37 children between six and 12 years old, who were divided into two groups based on their sleep patterns. Joober and Gruber believe more testing is in order, but that the initial results are promising. Sleep problems are common in children diagnosed with ADHD. Read more at Huliq.com.

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Labels: medications, sleep, stimulants

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Finding the Treatment Path the Works

Some families are choosing to find their own ways of treating ADHD in their children, deciding - in some cases - to leave doctors out of the process completely. It's not a decision the families come to lightly, and they advise other parents considering similar decisions to make them carefully as well.
"Samuel had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, when he was three. He was officially diagnosed with ADHD two years ago. The family went through six months of behavior training in the RIP [Regional Intervention Program], learning to handle tantrums, teach Samuel to share and calm himself down."
Though Samuel's parents eventually felt he needed medication to get his ADHD fully under control, other parents chose herbal therapies like BrightSpark. Read more at Tennessean.com.

Labels: medications, treatment, diagnosis

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Research Indicates that Ritalin Stunts Growth

A study that began in 1999 has revealed slower growth and weight gain in children who take Ritalin. On average, kids with ADHD who took Ritalin to manage the condition's effects weight 4.4 pounds less, and were an inch shorter than kids who didnt take the medication.
"Whether these kids eventually grow to normal size remains a question. Kids entered the study in 1999 at ages 7 to 9. The current report is a snapshot taken three years later. The 10-year results - when kids are at their adult height - won't be in for two more years."
The findings appear to end years of debate over short- and long-term physical effects of Ritalin. Read more at CBSNews.com.

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Labels: medications, long_term_effects, development

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Preschoolers and ADHD

The August/September issue of ADDitude Magazine features an article called "Preschoolers and ADHD" that takes an honest look at early diagnosis and what types of treatments work best.
"In a significant piece of new research, the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS), conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, concludes that treating these symptoms in preschoolers with parent effectiveness training, behavioral therapy and, in extreme cases, low doses of medication can be highly effective."
The article is posted on the magazine's website, along with links to the PATS study and other helpful information. Read more online.

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Labels: treatment, diagnosis, preschoolers

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