ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) also called Hyperkinetic Disorder and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are conditions increasingly diagnosed in the industrial western world during the last two decades.
The hype around the term disorder gives the impression that this is a
sickness. The behaviors are real, the conditions are real. The problems
for the children, their parents, their teachers, their classmates and
their friends are real. However this is not a sickness.
To treat the many conditions placed under the umbrella term ADHD it is first essential to understand the causes of ADHD behavior. In this case they are varied and complex.
A true disorder is independent of culture and is not based on arbitrary guidelines of children’s behavior patterns within a
particular society. The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnosis criteria creates an illusion of a disease.
The DSM-IV describes ADHD as one condition with three subtypes, based
on a list of behaviors. That assumption, of seeing a behavior as a
disorder, fails to differentiate between a disease and a diagnosis of symptoms, as well as failing to
differentiating between cause and effect.
No behavior is a disorder; it is always the result of something; a
symptom. The disorder if there is one, is the cause of the behavior.
Good upbringing, bad upbringing, encouragement, anger, happiness,
frustration, anxiety or a peaceful disposition, these all cause certain
The DSM-IV also states the following regarding the word disorder:
“The problem raised by the term mental disorders has been much clearer than its solution, and, unfortunately, the term persists in the title of DSM-IV because we have not found an appropriate substitute. . . Mental disorders have also been defined by a variety of concepts (e.g., distress, dysfunction, dyscontrol, disadvantage, disability, inflexibility, irrationality, syndromal pattern, etiology and statistical deviation). Each is a useful indicator for a mental disorder, but none is equivalent to the concept, a different situations call for different definitions.”
(Introduction page xxxi)
A majority of research papers on the subject of Attention Deficit
start by defining ADD or ADHD as a neurobiological or developmental
disorder. But the word “disorder” has been fuzzily defined at best and
un-defined at worst. Either way, each student, doctor or psychologist
fills in this concept, “disorder,” unconsciously.
The influence of the pharmaceutical companies, have further confused
the issue by encouraging and strengthening oversimplified theories and
opinions. Even many doctors have accepted these oversimplifications as
fact. The pressure to give stimulant medication to children with ADHD
like symptoms as the only treatment is not a pharmaceutical industry
conspiracy, as much as vested interests working together.
For any parent faced with a hyperactive child it is vital to have an
overview of the current state of knowledge and research on the subject.
It is possible for a layperson can see where the errors are in the
current theories. Plain common sense goes a long way. We should not
feel intimidated by new terminology from doctors, but ask for
explanations in plain English, Spanish, etc.
We need to be aware that no researchers fully understand ADHD
themselves. Some aspects of ADHD and ADD are outside modern science and
in the sphere of philosophy. Many researchers are so busy digging their
hole in their particular niche, that they have lost sight of the hugely
complex subject they are referring to.
We need to know ourselves honestly, our strengths and weaknesses.
This is especially important in fields such as the Attention Deficit
conditions. ADHD is a range of conditions where there is no one
universal solution. Individual solutions need to be found. One of these
is ADD Coaching.
ADD or ADHD coaching should not be considered an alternative, but be part of the mainstream solutions of choice. There are today, broadly speaking, five types of treatment for the Attention Deficit spectrum of conditions:
- ADD Coaching.
- Diet and food supplements.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Brain Training.
ADD Coaching is a form of therapy. While the
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on the past to change the present,
coaching focuses on the present, sets goals and plans a way to reach
that goal. It is a far more positive therapy. If the ADHD person needs
psychological healing, then coaching is an excellent choice when the
person is ready to move on after psychotherapy. Coaching has a different
approach than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ADHD and covers a wider
range of practical topics.
Diet and food supplements can help ease the symptoms
of ADHD. People with ADHD tend to have a different metabolism that uses
more nutrients than average. There is a greater need especially for
omega 3 essential fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants. A deficiency in iron and zinc can also give attention deficit symptoms.
Medication as the only treatment that is not a cure,
but merely a symptom suppresser. The person medicated will need to take
medicine daily throughout their life in most cases. This is not a
universal solution, as each patient needs an individually tailored
treatment and continual dosage adjustments over the years. No doctor can
predict which medication is most efficacious for that particular
patient, which will or will not cause side effects, which side effects
if any, what the optimum dosage is, and what the long-term effects may
be. This is a
trial-and-error exercise. The answer will only be known to each
individual with hindsight.
Before medication is taken, you should try a natural solution, such as acupuncture New York at a Natural Health Center.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been shown to be more
effective over three years than medication only. This treatment
combined with medication as an excellent combination. In fact, in cases
where a child is severely hyperactive, medication may be necessary to
give the child a chance to take part in and benefit from the therapy.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is most suitable in cases where the ADHD
condition was triggered by an emotional reaction to experiences such as
physical or sexual abuse or child neglect. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
focuses on thoughts and attitudes, and how they influence mood and
behavior, and tries to change the person’s thinking, behavior patterns
and behavioral development.
Brain Training has enable ADHD people to focus. The
method is based on the plasticity of the brain to develop specific areas
of the brain. Cognitive brain training kickstarts the short term
working memory and once this is working, normal everyday activities are
sufficient to keep the brain focusing.
Apart from focussing, there are other aspects of the ADHD personality
which require strategies and coping skills. Here coaching is the most
effective method. Most coaches are happy to coach over the phone, so one
can be relaxed at home during sessions.
Among the topics covered in coaching are ADD specific problems such
as time management and organizational skills. The coach and client form a
partnership. Initially the focus is on self-awareness, assessing the
person’s strengths, family and work situation. Then follows goal setting
and forming a plan to reach that goal.
After this follows coaching in developing skills such as social
skills, stress management, communication skills, building self-esteem
and managing ADD symptoms. ADD Coaching follows a holistic approach, the
whole person and the family and work environments are considered. This
is usually done on a one on one basis as the coaching is structured
around the client’s specific individual needs.
Both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and ADD Coaching equip the ADD
person with life skills and coping strategies enabling the person to
cope without medication in the long term. This is true help to
self-help. The coach builds on the client’s strengths, improving
self-awareness, developing strategies to be better equipped to meet
life’s daily challenges and lead a fulfilled life.