ADD, ADHD, Hyperactivity
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are common neuro-behavioural conditions that impair functioning and can profoundly affect the academic achievement, well‐being, and social interactions throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. They are often referred to collectively as AD(H)D.
Sensory difficulties such as Hypersensitivity to auditory, visual, olfactory and tactile sensations may exist. Those with ADD often feel overwhelmed by unexpected sounds, pulsing fluorescent lights, everyday smells or their clothing.
Children and adults who have ADD or ADHD will usually have a short attention span (a difficult time keeping their mind on one thing), excessive activity (always seem to be in motion) and impulsivity or recklessness issues (unable to curb their urges, or think before they act). Those with ADD may also have learning disabilities and are often at-risk for repeated disciplinary problems in school.
Interestingly parents of AD(H)D students often question such a diagnosis because their child may often be able to focus well on tasks they enjoy, so how is AD(H)D possible? The reason is that the dopamine reward system kicks in when a person is motivated and engaged. This is what enables them to sometimes focus and pay attention whilst not at other times, especially if bored.
Typical behaviour of people with ADD or ADHD include becoming easily distracted, forgetting things, making careless mistakes, difficulty in following instructions, feeling restless, fidgeting, squirming, interrupting others and being impatient.
Another big issue for AD(H)D students is procrastination, not being able to start a task, leaving things to the last minute and ending up working under extreme time pressure. This often leads to challenging, disruptive or aggressive behaviour, temper tantrums and social and emotional difficulties.
ADD, ADHD and Hyperactivity occur irrespective of intelligence or background and more often in males. It affects up to two percent of the population in a sufficiently severe form to warrant intervention. There often is an overlap with related conditions such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct disorder, Anxiety disorder, Depression, Asperger’s or Learning difficulties such as Dyslexia.
Typical behaviours indicating attention difficulties are:
- Failing to pay close attention to detail or making careless errors
- Failing to finish tasks or sustain attention
- Inability to hear what is being said
- Failing to follow through instructions or finish work
- Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Losing implements like pens or books
- Easily distracted
- Forgetfulness in the course of daily activities
Typical behaviours indicating hyperactivity are:
- Running around or excessive climbing over things
- Feelings of restlessness
- Difficulties in engaging in quiet leisure activities
- Leaving seat where remaining seated is expected
- Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming on seat
Many of our clients exhibit one or more of these typical behaviours and we have often found that this can be traced back to over-sensitivity of one or more of the senses and retained primitive reflexes. Hyperactivity can also be linked to an underdeveloped balance (vestibular) system.
How to help
Stimulant medications are frequently prescribed by doctors to treat ADD/ADHD but there is debate about overdiagnosis and overtreatment with stimulants. Although they can be help some people concentrate and stay focused they are not without risk and many people demonstrate serious side effects. The frequency that such medications are prescribed is controversial as there seems to be a tendency to use them as drugs of control and many parents are reluctant to adopt this approach.
For many, an alternative and effective way to deal with the underlying causes of AD(H)D, without medication, is to assess how well the sensory systems function, especially the auditory and visual, and help them integrate more effectively through sound, light and developmental therapies.
Contact Us for a free telephone consultation and further information on how we might help.