Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood is a time of exuberance — an outpouring of energy, creativity, and learning about physical, social and emotional limits. For many children, the early school years are increasingly frustrating because they find it difficult to sit still and focus. This frustration can lead to a host of behavioral and relationship issues. Many of these children are suffering from a constellation of symptoms referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common mental health complaint among children. The number of children, as well as adults, diagnosed with ADHD
is increasing. Although many children display attention disorder behaviors as early as preschool, parents often dismiss them as signs of high energy. While most children are energetic,
ADHD behaviors are extreme and often described as excessive, destructive, unsafe (due to impulsiveness and risk taking), detrimental to progress in school, and harmful to close personal relationships.
The DSM IV describes several subtypes of ADHD:
- Inattentive- has trouble getting focused or staying focused on a task or activity
- Hyperactive/Impulsive-active and acts without thinking
- Combined-inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive
- 3-5% of school-age children are diagnosed with ADHD. Many more are undiagnosed.*
- Three times as many boys as girls suffer from ADHD.*
- 78% of pediatric prescriptions are for attention issues.*
- Half of the children with ADHD also have a learning disability.*
- 50-80% of ADHD cases diagnosed in childhood persist into adolescence.*
- 30-50% of adolescent cases of ADHD persist into adulthood.*
* Data adapted from the St. Louis Psychologists and Counseling Information and Referral.
Unfortunately, once these children are labeled either by teachers or others, the push towards medication is made. Although these medications can change the actions of the child, the side effects such as sleepiness, weight loss and the general change in the personality of the child can be devastating. Often times further evaluation of the child can unravel the cause of this condition. Tests such as IgG food allergy and neuroscreen testing can further evaluate the condition so that proper intervention can be made. This can be as simple as eliminating a food allergen or adding support to the nervous system. For further evaluation of your child, have a nutrition consultation today.