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At Integrated Counseling and Wellness, Isaac Hewitt has been working with children and adults that struggle with ADHD and other mental health concerns in many capacities for over ten years. Isaac helps children, their parents, and adults learn strategies for managing the struggles associated with ADHD, implementing treatments that may include learning self-soothing skills, organizational skills, managing activity levels, learning how to socialize with others, mindfulness training, learning about emotions and how to interact with these emotions.
Whether you are a student having difficulties in school, an adult struggling with your thinking, or have a child struggling to learn; Integrated Counseling and Wellness has the professional knowledge and care to help you gain the skills necessary to overcome your challenges.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA) is a highly genetic syndrome that affects the “executive functioning skills.” These skills include attention, memory, motivation, effort, impulsivity, social skills and more. (Frank) It is the most studied and diagnosed mental disorder in children and adolescents. (NIMH) It is estimated that around 5% of the population has ADHD, representing over 11 million people in the United States. In most cases, it is a lifelong affliction, but most people living with ADHD lead relatively normal lives.
There is a common misconception that Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADD) are different illnesses; however, that is not the case. The confusion lies in the fact that the medical terminology has changed over the years, as our understanding has improved. The diagnosis currently referred to as ADHD has gone by many names since it was first recorded in the late 1700s. One of which was an attention-deficit disorder or ADD.
Like most things in life, ADHD is caused by a mixture of genetics and environmental factors (with a heavy emphasis on genetics). ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, trauma, video games, food additives or sugar.
Several, highly hereditable, genes have been linked to ADHD including dopamine receptor genes DRD4 and D2, and a dopamine receptor transport gene called DAT1. Studies suggest that ADHD is highly heritable with somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of children whose parents have ADHD also having the disorder.
The diagnosis of ADHD is a complicated one, with some scholars believing it could easily be misdiagnosed in gifted children. (Hartnett, Nelson, et al. 2004) Working with a professional that specializes in ADHD is imperative.
People with ADHD continually exhibit symptoms in three main categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This can lead people with ADHD to miss details and make careless mistakes, have difficulty paying attention, not listen when spoken to directly, have problems with organization, loose things, and become easily distracted. Fidgeting, non-stop talking, being in constant motion, blurting out answers before a question has been finished and constant interrupting are also common symptoms.
As stated above, showing these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that a person has ADHD. Many other disorders have similar symptoms. If you are concerned that you or your child may have ADHD, the first step is to talk to a qualified healthcare professional.
There is no cure for ADHD; however, education, training, and therapy are effective ways to treat it. According to Dr. Michelle Frank, a mixture of “cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based practices have been found to be the most effective therapeutic interventions.” These therapies can help to build coping skills to deal with the stress and anxiety people living with ADHD often feel.
People with ADHD often feel shame, or like they have failed in some way, due to being unable to maintain focus or complete things others find simple (like doing chores on time or remembering where the keys are). These feelings can be greatly aided by talking to a qualified therapist who has experience with patients who have ADHD.
Education and training for parents of children with ADHD can also be helpful. Parenting skills training, stress management, and a support group can help parents cope better with the everyday problems that arise with children who have ADHD.
Clinical trials are the main source of the data researches rely on to learn about disorders and human disease, with the goal of determining if a new test or treatment is safe. They are a vital part of our understanding of ADHD, and the more data that is available, the more accurate the information. As the former president of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina said, “The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” She was referring to customer data, but the same holds true for scientific data. If you have been diagnosed with ADHD and would like to participate in a clinical trial, visit the Nation Institute for Mental Health’s website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy. You can also visit the searchable registry www.ClinicalTrials.gov to find a clinical trial near you. Your participation could help the next generation of people living with ADHD.
You can learn more about ADHD by visiting The National Resource Center on ADHD (supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) at www.help4adhd.org.
Frank, M. “Psy.D.” from https://add.org/adhd-facts/.
Hartnett, D. N., et al. (2004). “Gifted or ADHD? The possibilities of misdiagnosis.” Roeper Review 26(2): 73-76.