Until I found the methods and medications that worked for me and me alone (which means I will not be dispensing any all-knowing advice, here), I researched, studied, and investigated the many ADHD treatment possibilities available to me in 2001. I had been the outcast, the freak, the truant, the pest, the unruly one, the class clown, and in general, the wild one of every classroom, social gathering, and family event and circumstance for forty years. (Yes, I was just as “bad” if not worse at forty….)
ADHD kids at school probably have it the hardest.I spent more time in the principal’s office in grade school than all the students in the school combined. Few teachers, especially those in more under privileged areas understand the behaviors of ADHD kids in the classroom or school or on the playground.I got tossed out of more classes in high school than my face had zits. I slept with [really] strange men I met while I was hitchhiking in blizzards from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire to Provincetown, Mass. I crashed cars (on purpose), I had cars towed for lack of appropriate paperwork, and had cars repossessed for lack of organized check- and other budgeting and accounting. I over-achieved in college and was under-estimated and over-admonished at jobs.
And the harrowing and horrific lists and symptoms go on and on. In fact, for the usual ADHD “victim” (though I now see us as blessed), approximately sixty-nine symptoms or maladies afflict us at any given time—at any minute, second, or millisecond we interrupt; we blurt; we intrude; we mis-read social cues; we are dis- (under-) or over-organized; we fight time and timing; we can’t wait, sit still for long, or rest and relax as “normal” people do; we are, as the blanket observations have it, irritable, impulsive, hyperactive, and defiant. We need (and often for many years go on needing) diagnosis and subsequent ADHD treatment to help us regulate or self-regulate.
Luckily for those of us who do [eventually] get diagnosed, there are attentive, conscientious, qualified, super-intelligent specialists in the field (and professionals in medicine in general) who have developed ADHD treatment methods, procedures, approaches, and medicines. Some of these are as follows:
Amphetamines: Ironically, when a person with ADHD is hyper and speedy in action and thought, giving him or her speed (amphetamines) as an ADHD treatment is a most common occurrence. Though they don’t know the exact way it works, the amphetamine prescription (federally regulated, as it is highly susceptible to abuse) helps focus, organization, attention span, and many other subtler or quirkier symptoms of ADHD.
Ritalin is one of the grandparents, the elders, of ADHD treatment drugs, working again in ways the scientists cannot exactly pinpoint but in a very similar way to amphetamines. Ritalin is also still debated over constantly, especially with regards to children. (Do we dope every little imp that acts like a class clown or gets angry on the playground or performs on cue in front of the neighbors?) Ritalin is still mysterious as an agent for quelling ADHD symptoms, but many swear by it for or despite its minimal side effects (weight loss, mood swings, and others) compared to its positive effects, which lend themselves to clarity, stability, patience (physical and mental focus), and other nuances I cannot speak to here.
Other more commonly used medications:
Also in contention with the two most “popular” or most often used or most studied meds are the increasingly introduced Adderall; Cyclert; and some of the SSRIs and MAOs. As with all medications, with these and the ones I describes from a personal (and not professional) point of view, research thoroughly before asking a doctor about one in particular, before, that is, committing to one. Each works in mysterious ways, still, and each works differently for and on each individual.
Neurofeedback (a. k. a. Biofeedback):
Typically involuntary, certain impulses and electrical activity in the brain can be voluntarily modified. The ADDer, whose brain wave patterns are evidently different than non-ADDer brain wave patterns, is hooked up with electrodes (no pain). The ADDer sits facing a video screen/monitor, as the technician “amplifies brain activity.” The resulting patterns appear on the screen, whereby the ADDer manipulates controls electronically to manipulate and take control of the brain wave activity.
Behavior Modification/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
You might already understand behavior modification as consisting of a system of punishments and rewards, each applied to reinforce positive behavior. For the ADDer, the disorder is as much about “unacceptable/inappropriate” behavior as it is about miserable feeling and unique thinking. There are approximately 69 symptoms of ADD, most of them behavior-based: perception of social cues is skewed; the ADDer interrupts/blurts; he/she has demanding difficulties with organization; he/she has trouble with time and timing; he/she is challenged by waiting; he/she cannot easily relax or enjoy leisurely activities…. With behavioral therapy, which targets one or a few of such challenges at a time, the ADDer learns to “self-regulate.”
Food Changes/Dietary Intervention
A close investigation of foods that are or contain allergens and irritants to the nervous system has revealed the possibility of ADDers being especially negatively impacted. ADD treatments in this area include eliminating or curbing intake of white flour, sugar, and/or additives/preservatives. But the controversy still roars on this one, and FDA and other regulatory bodies have not acknowledged the veracity of gross dietary changes…yet.
A schedule of sessions with a trained and qualified therapist enhances one’s understanding, gives one a reflecting surface (human), and provides one with the social tools of communication (the give and take), self-improvement, and social protocol. Therapy is often recommended in conjunction with medication or other treatments, as one method compliments the other and one method’s weaknesses are compensated for by the other…and vice versa.
The behavior of adhd kids in the classroom are well understood by shrinks in patterns, so it is not in any way humbling or shameful to go to one if your child is displaying these patterns. In fact, it is essential that you seek help early.
I do drugs and see a shrink—both of which/whom I am beyond grateful for. May you find the ADHD treatment that works for you.
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