Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental problem characterized by consistent and abnormal hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive behaviors among children and adults. Less than 20 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD outgrow this condition, but for many it stays. Therefore, interventions for ADHD are extremely important because if left untreated it may lead to learning disabilities in school, difficulty in keeping a job, substance and alcohol abuse and problems with the law later in life.

It is possible for children who have this condition to live normally functioning and happy lives. In fact, some notable people in history have this condition and to name a few they are Mozart, Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. It is normal for many parents to feel distracted that their child has ADHD. The good news is among the long list of mental health disorders, ADHD is the most manageable and treatable disease.

ADHD Background

ADHD is a conditionrought about by the mutation of the genes assigned to control the neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that people with the condition have higher levels of neurotransmitters compared to those who are not suffering with ADHD.

This condition affects a person's major executive functions such as planning, organization, memory, regulating speech, flexibility and separating reason from emotion.

Some of the common symptoms are excessive running and climbing even inappropriate situations; going in and out the classroom, even when the teachers expect the whole class to remain imprisoned, carelessness in answering tests, not listening when spoken to and difficulty in sustaining activities.

Studies have shown that the condition is worsened by family problems, abuse and neglect and deaths or separation in the family. Foods with colorings and additives can also worsen the problem; that is why as part of the interventions for ADHD is providing natural and well-balanced meals.

ADHD Treatment / Management

There are four major approaches used as interventions for ADHD today. They are home interventions, medical, psychotherapy and life style changes.

Under home interventions parents implement structured activities at home, reduce distractions such as computer games and TV viewing, positive reinforcement of good behavior and looking for activities that the child is good at.

For the medical approach, doctors would prescribe psycho stimulants. The medicine works by stimulating and increasing activity in the brain where there is a neurotransmitter imbalance. Drugs that are considered as psycho stimulants are dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate. These drugs can cost from $ 50 to $ 200 per month depending on the dosage and brand. However, there are negative side-effects observed when taking the drugs: low appetite, sleep disturbances, lethargy and anxiety are just some of them. Many children adjust and build tolerance to the drugs within few days. Those who are suffering with depression and who also have bipolar disorder are highly vulnerable to the side-effects. Studies have shown that those who are taking the drugs are more functional and are living a better quality of life compared to those who do not.

Taking supplements will also fall under the medical interventions for ADHD, but it will fall under the “natural medicine” category. Studies have shown that fish oil and zinc will greatly improve the symptoms of ADHD among children.

Psychotherapy is one of the most common interventions for ADHD, and it includes ADHD coaching, group support, counseling and family therapy. This type of intervention will help enhance focus, and assist a person with ADHD to cope and function socially.

Lastly, a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise) can greatly improve the quality of life and functioning of people with ADHD. Studies have linked ADHD to diet. Hyperactive children are sensitive to sugar and caffeine. Cutting out sugar, chocolate and fried foods, avoiding food colorings and MSG and any kind of processed meat will greatly improve a child's ADHD symptoms. A daily vigilous one hour play outside will also improve a child's mood, concentration and attention level.