Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, AD(H)D,
affects 25 million Americans.
Over two million children currently take drugs for AD(H)D. This is up
from ½ million American children in 1988. And this condition has only
been accepted within the last few years as an adult diagnosis.
Like all disorders, there are different degrees of severity.
AD(H)D can range from annoying to disabling. Most of us are aware of the
classic symptoms such as inattentiveness, frequent interruptions, impulsive
behavior, seeming not to listen or to remember things, poor organizational
skills and frequently losing things.
But there is a positive aspect to the condition
as well. People with AD(H)D tend to have broad based interests, are creative,
can find alternative solutions to problems, tend to have a voracious curiosity,
and are flexible on the job. Many famous historical figures such as Thomas
Edison, Ben Franklin and Ernest Hemingway had AD(H)D-like characteristics.
Also, these characteristics are invaluable in many jobs such as private
detectives, freelance writers, reporters, airplane pilots, spies, military
combat personnel, trial lawyers, trauma surgeons, disc jockeys, sales
people, consultants and thousands of varieties of entrepreneurs.
And then there is the person with AD(H)D's ability to focus. Unlike the
spacey stereotype associated with the condition, the person with AD(H)D
has a short but incredibly intense attention span. They can focus much
more clearly and deeply than most people without AD(H)D.
In medical literature, there are many conditions linked with AD(H)D. Often,
because schools and family have difficulty knowing how to channel the
AD(H)D energy, there are difficulties with academics, substance abuse,
and a greater likelihood of speech or hearing disorders and physical injury.
Because AD(H)D is more common by far in males, many young men go on to
develop oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and/or conduct disorder (CD).
This may explain the frequency of inmates with AD(H)D in our prison systems.
It is hard to pinpoint why AD(H)D occurs. There is a familial component.
Often one or both parents have AD(H)D characteristics. Also, Dopamine,
a neurotransmitter (or brain messenger) has receptor genes that appear
to be the genetic component of AD(H)D.
In the clinical work pioneered by Dr. Doris Rapp, we often see an allergic
component. Frequently, a favorite food may be the culprit that triggers
the troubling behavior. In the United States, AD(H)D is commonly treated
with stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
and Cylert (pemoline). For some, these resolve the problem. For others,
the side effects of palpitations, increased blood pressure, psychosis,
dizziness, headache, insomnia, tics, and nervousness are equally as disabling.
There is also reported a subjective side effect of the loss of creativity
in both adults and children and sadness in children with these medications.
AD(H)D is a debilitating disorder
that makes it difficult for many people to maintain stable
jobs. The following are guidelines for both the Employer
of someone with ADD and the Employee with ADD to work more
- Have the employee with ADD work in small
groups or 1-on-1. Avoid large group activities.
- Allow access to a quiet area if concentration
is required. Work away from others.
- Does best when able to get up and move
around frequently. This actually helps to decrease mistakes.
- Have a spare set of keys for them
- Have them do special projects.
- Frequent feedback and performance appraisals
even daily evaluation systems.
- Directions given by only 1 person
- More structure and immediate deadlines
- Break down jobs just the sheer
magnitude of even the smallest job can be overwhelming to
someone with ADD
- For specific jobs, give specific directions.
- Short term rewards
- Need a supportive work arena.
- Set clocks ahead, so you can be on time.
- STAR Stop, Think, Act, Reflect
- Write down points you want to make, rather
than interrupt the other person.
- Practice listening.
- Delay gratification or craving
it will pass.
- Carry a spare set of keys.
- Carry a small notebook around to write
down your jobs.
- Find a Mentor someone with ADD
that can help you in difficult situations.
- Use Relaxation techniques
- Avoid the crutches of Lying and Anger
to deal with your frustration when you make mistakes.
- Accept yourself as you are.
|There are many natural ways to treat AD(H)D. Psychotherapy
and Biofeedback have been effective support systems for many years.
Avoiding artificial food colorings, preservatives and other additives
in your diet may reduce some of the symptoms that are resulting from
an allergic component.
Natural Medicine, and in particular Homeopathy have significant promise
and an established track record in treating AD(H)D. In this case,
Homeopathy works on the same principle as the stimulants but without
the side-effects or the need for long-term medication. Ultimately,
the person with AD(H)D needs to learn to channel these bursts of energy
and change the way he/she thinks about him/herself.