Friday, 25 January 2013

Is ADHD A Disease? – 5 Facts You Must Know.

Is ADHD a disease, many people ask.  They want to know because they have not been able to get to the bottom of what this ADHD thing really is and they are ignorant about a lot of facts, partially fuelled by the media and the pharmaceutical lobbies.

1st Fact. Well, it is not a disease and you cannot catch it as it is not contagious! Seriously, though, it is just a mental disorder in which the brain transmitters are not firing properly. That, in reality means that signals are not getting through and the result is lack of focus when studying or driving, difficulty in concentration and a certain hyperactivity in many cases.

2nd Fact. Can you inherit ADHD?  Most experts now tell us that it is about 76% inheritable and that is a very high figure. That is why many parents discover that they have this condition when they get their kids tested,. The reason is that very many cases of ADHD are undiagnosed.  When we compare the 76% figure with other inheritable traits we find that depression is about 50% while  autism is about 90%.

3rd Fact. Medications for ADHD may help and they are very often effective. We just need to be aware of a few facts. One is that side effects may cause about 30% of children to give them up altogether and to look at alternative ways to treat ADHD.  Also, that the meds tend to be less and less effective over time so that should also be borne in mind. 

Abuse of meds by college students and others (they can study all night) has led to a dramatic increase in the number of admissions to the emergency rooms. Just think – these visits have doubled in a five year period (2005 -2010) and they are mostly students aged 18 and over.  While use of these meds is mostly safe for ADHD patients, their illegal use is anything but and is illegal and dangerous as these figures show.  These figures are from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

4th Fact.  There are alternative ways treat ADHD and these can cover anything from herbal medicine to homeopathy. The latter is highly regarded and extremely popular because there are no side effects at all and there are no health risks either.

5th Fact.  Most children with ADHD will respond to medication but it has to be accompanied by basic parenting skills, behavior therapy when necessary and also putting a structure and routine into place at home.

So, is ADHD a disease is a totally useless question. But many people are in total ignorance and one of the greatest challenges is to inform the public and educate them about what are the best ways of treating what is just a mental disorder. 

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