ADHD Question - Answered


prettyrainbow
on Jul 06, 2016 @ 04:06 am

This post is in response to a question I got asked about ADHD on a separate post in the forum. I thought I'd start a new discussion and have it stand on its own. It was a great series of questions and it could help many others dealing with this same situation, so thank you for bringing up @jujusamples!

"Could you explain what ADHD really is? I keep hearing about that it's some sort of attention disorder? The reason I'm asking is that my cousin's niece was diagnosed to that, she gets good grades etc so my cousin ignored it and did not seek proper help for her. The only reason I know is because her daughter told me, the doctor said she has ADHD. Is it something that could be treatable? What happens when it is left untreated?"

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1. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and its counterpart, ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. Both are behaviour related (specifically neurodevelopmental) and often share similar traits. The "Hyperactivity"/"Impulsivity" is what differentiates the two. There are subtypes and not every symptom is always present in every person. Therefore, you can be hyperactive but not impulsive and vice versa or have them both present, or not at all. Some of the symptoms include:

- Difficulty concentrating on a task for long periods of time.

- Becoming distracted easily, careless in their work.

- Disorganization, misplacing or losing things frequently. Sloppy penmanship and sometimes poor spelling.

- Inattentive or daydreaming.

- Can't follow directions, especially if there are too many. They need to be repeated over and over again.

- Work is not always complete or very haphazardly done. They don't finish what they start.

- Easily frustrated especially when tasks take such a long time to complete or require many steps.

- If hyperactive, fidgeting and squirming in their seats, sometimes not able to sit for long periods. Touching everything. Very talkative and sometimes speaking out of turn or when they shouldn't be.

- If impulsive, poor decision making/often spur of the moment, difficulty in controlling their behaviours like waiting in line or suddenly grabbing other's belongings. Calling out of turn or interrupting others.

2. I'm assuming your cousin's niece is much older now - possibly a teenager or adult at this point? In terms of getting help, it's much easier and more successful when the treatment is started at an early age. That doesn't mean she can't get help now if she needs to. Strategies can still be put into place to make things easier for her. A psychiatrist is the person she should see for this because depending on the severity of the disorder, medication may be needed. I'm a believer in natural methods and behaviour therapy first and medication as the last resort. However, it's best to follow whatever the doctor suggests for the individual case. Ritalin and Adderall are the most widely used medicines for ADHD (at least for children, not sure about adults), so you can research to see whether it would be a good fit with the lifestyle they lead. She should also take an eye and hearing test/exam because sometimes poor eyesight or hearing can mimic some of the traits of ADHD. There's a series of tests to finally diagnose it because they also have to eliminate the possibility of other issues like depression, for instance, which again can have similar symptoms. In fact, since girls are often undiagnosed, much more so than boys, some realize later on in life that they have ADHD because they've also developed anxiety related disorders due to them not getting treatment sooner. I imagine this is what may have prompted your cousin's niece to get help later on, am I right?

3. In terms of treatment, yes medication is often prescribed, like I mentioned. However, I also would suggest she tries to eliminate gluten and sugars/processed foods from her diet. Sugar can make our bodies go into hyperactive mode and for someone who has ADHD/ADD it can backfire even more. Lots of exercise as well in order to release all of the pent up energy in her system. Behaviour therapy will give her the right strategies for her individual case, but a few I can mention is to simplify her tasks by posting a checklist of things to complete or reminders of what needs to be done throughout the day/week. She should take frequent breaks when she's working. The Pomodoro technique is great for this as it requires you to work for 25 minutes (or less depending on her needs) and rest for 5 minutes. She can use a timer to keep her on task as well.

4. ADHD isn't something that magically goes away, not even after taking medication for a while. It's with you for life, but treatment can calm and improve symptoms. If left untreated, you may see the effects later on in life in many different ways. EX: Not being able to maintain friendships or relationships. Taking risks like gambling or excessive shopping habits. Getting fired easily for not being able to concentrate on the job. The list can go on and on. Girls' symptoms will usually get worse with time, without treatment, whereas boys tend to manage the symptoms a little better with age. Since your cousin's niece was performing well in school, the problem went unnoticed because when a child gets good grades, you'd think nothing was wrong. It's far too common, unfortunately.

I hope this helped you out and that you're better equipped to share the information with your cousin (as well as the rest of you reading that may be going through this themselves or with loved ones).

 


8 Replies


Boychuk25
Good info on Jul 06, 2016 @ 07:35 am

Thanks for all the info. Very informative!!
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wonderwhatif
ADD on Jul 06, 2016 @ 12:42 pm

My husband has ADD, but now it's categorised under ADHD and we're not supposed to use ADD anymore. This is really irritating because people assume he's hyperactive if you say ADHD.

Instead while he's a calm and quiet guy (not at all what most people expect with this diagnosis) he has a lot of trouble sitting for long period of times and starts to feel very stressed if forced to do so.

He also is always doing two things at once, like on his phone and watching TV.

In that way ADD can put a strain on a relationship as you feel like the person is not 'present' or 'focused'. Things have been a lot better with him since he found the right medication and he isn't as hard on himself anymore, so I'd definitely recommend seeking help if you have this condition!
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jujusamples
Thank you Prettyrainbow! on Jul 06, 2016 @ 07:58 pm

Wow, I knew you would be the right person to ask. That is very informative and thank you for the explanation.

It was actually my cousins daughter which I consider as my niece. Now I understand her behavior. I was a little confused because she is such a bright girl in school wise as in straight A's plays a lot of sports and wins championships. Her behavior, does not show that bright girl is what I'm confused about. She is smart in school but have very ditsy moments. When she talks, I wouldn't say dumb but she will ask questions like, are there really fruit in fruit salads? I used to think it's just her being playful but she really does think weird like that. It boggles my mind sometimes.

Yes, she is super duper hyper. I love her to pieces but when she's in a room, she can not stay quiet. She is obnoxiously loud. To the extreme. I could only take small dosage of her, she is way to loud. I told my cousin, if the doctor thinks she has ADHD, then maybe she should get some treatment for it. My cousins says doctors say that to every kid. Now that my niece is a teenager, she is even more obnoxious than she was. She plays games like pinching people but it's never a light pinch.

My aunt from Texas came to visit and she said to me, I can't be around that little girl. I asked her why, my aunt said she is traumatize. She told me that my niece played pinching game with her except the fact she didn't do it lightly. She pinched her so hard and so many times my aunt started crying and the niece just thinks it's funny. My aunt said she was left with huge bruises.

Those are just some extremes that my niece does but does not realize they are extreme. She thinks it perfectly normal. I never understood her behavior because she is the nicest girl with a very kind heart but she does very strange things which makes other's think otherwise.

Thanks to your explanations @prettyrainbow, I now get that she indeed shows alot of ADHD symptoms.
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prettyrainbow
. on Jul 07, 2016 @ 11:24 pm

I'm glad you found it informative ladies!

@wonderwhatif - Although it all falls under the same umbrella, I still think it's important to differentiate in order to figure out the best strategies that will work for the individual person. There have usually been 3 types of ADD/ADHD: mostly inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive and a mixture of the two. However, I recently saw a documentary on PBS about a study done by Dr. Daniel Amen that distinguished 7 types instead. He based his findings on brain scans and different behaviour patterns and developed different treatment options as well. It hasn't become official across the board and some are even finding it to be controversial, but it's still interesting to learn about. I'll post the youtube video of his seminar here. It's a little lengthy, but worth the watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWnJ4wjVu9k

@jujusamples - Glad to help! The pinching problem definitely needs to stop, especially if it's hurting people, like what happened with your aunt. She doesn't seem to understand personal boundaries, from your description. The fact that she thinks hurting others is a game or amusing is worrisome. Has anyone tried disciplining her when this happens?

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jujusamples
. on Jul 08, 2016 @ 12:21 am

@prettyrainbow, the pinching thing was very worrisome, my aunt is a grown woman and didn't speak about it until many years later because she didn't want get the child in trouble. She only mentioned it because she didn't want to go visit my cousin because she's still traumatize of the incident.

I witness my niece play fighting and hitting her sister very very hard. Then she thinks it's funny. I stopped her right there and then and told her to not ever lay on hands on anyone like that again. She just laughed it off, so I told her mom. Of course her mom is in cloud nine. She's so proud of her daughter because of her grades and achievements that she said, don't make a big deal out of things. They are just playing. It hurts me to hear the sound of the smack. Her poor sister. (younger) seems like she is starting to pick up her attitude. She used to be this calm little girl but is now starting to be loud and obnoxious. I believe a few other family members have mentioned to her mom that her daughters behavior is worrisome, but my cousin is so in denial that no one could tell her anymore.

At the same time, if my niece does have ADHD, how is able to obtain those good grades? I mean how does she managed to concentrate on school work? I always thought it's hard for someone with ADHD to do well in school, that's why I started questioning what ADHD really is?
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jujusamples
Forgot to mention on Jul 08, 2016 @ 12:30 am

She dresses very provocatively for her age, to the point where she was sent home from school a few times.

I would go shopping with them a lot of times and they things she wants to buy is very inappropriate, even for my understanding. I love fashion and etc.. so I understand that teenagers loves what's in? It's just not fashionable, it's just straight up, tight short skirt to the point of her underwear showing kind of thing.

What disturbs me is that her sister would make comments like my sister is a slut. I was like what.....???

I stopped my cousin from buying her those things, because it could be dangerous for her to dress like that, she could be attracting the wrong people. My cousin again, thinks it's okay because she has good grades. I mean, what's up with the good grades? Does it make it okay now a days to get away with everything? Sorry, this have been bothering me for years and I really don't want to see her younger sister to be following her footsteps. The are 6 years apart. I just thought you have experience with this kind of stuff, so hopefully I could get some insight. Both nieces do confide with me when they have problems. Almost seems like they have no one to really talk to them about day to day problems.
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prettyrainbow
. on Jul 08, 2016 @ 01:52 am

I'm sensing there's more to this than just the ADHD - possibly another behaviour issue involved as well, specifically "learned" behaviour as well as immaturity. By what you've described, it could very well be that the child has essentially learned that because of her good grades, she can get away with anything. This can backfire later on in life, for instance when she gets a job. Her parents might think her behaviour is okay, but her boss and colleagues certainly won't tolerate it. Unfortunately, there might come a day when she will have a rude awakening and the world she thought tolerated every one of her actions, will start to avoid her or turn her away. Hopefully, she'll mature by then and realize how to behave towards others.

It has to start with her parents though. Her good grades should not be an excuse to do whatever it is she wants to other people and if her parents are giving her a free pass, then the road to learning the right values is going to be a long one, unfortunately. Parents need to stop being their kids' best friends and instead, be the authority figures, even at risk of witnessing tantrums and having a grumpy kid in the house. I'm not saying you have to run your home like the military, but be ready to consistently discipline wrong behaviours early so that they don't escalate into something bigger later on. On the same note, they should reward good behaviour as well.

Yes, ADHD presents many challenges in terms of behaviour, but the learning of proper morals and values is something that should be underlined. It's the foundation of all learning. I hope for her sake that this happens sooner rather than later.


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jujusamples
. on Jul 08, 2016 @ 02:17 am

Thanks prettyrainbow, that was very well said. I thought that as well. I'm just really concern for her, her mom and I grew up together and her mom is like an older sister to me rather than just a cousin. I really love my nieces and it breaks my heart to those behaviors. At one point, I thought maybe I'm behind in the world and things have changed from when I was a teenager. I mean, I wasn't the best teenager, I had my moments but my mom was so strict to the point of me resenting her but thanked her as I got older.

I do believe she has problems knowing the difference between wrong and right, in terms of how to behave. I totally agree, it comes down to parenting.
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