Treating ADHD – Get Hold Of A Veritable Minefield Of Information And Suggestions

Treating ADHD involves more than simply relying on what the healthcare professional tells you. Most children are diagnosed with this disorder by the time they have reached the age of six or seven years. Unfortunately many children are misdiagnosed because the symptoms of ADHD can be misconstrued as another disorder. There are also children who have been diagnosed with the disorder but who do not have it. Roughly five million children in the United States have ADHD and more than three million are on stimulant medications prescribed by doctors to treat the symptoms of the disorder. Usually ADHD is treated using drugs like Ritalin, behavioral therapy, and certain lifestyle adjustments.

Unfortunately many of the drugs used to treat the disorder are controversial in and of themselves because of the fact that they are such powerful stimulant medications with alarming side-effects. Many children do not respond well to these drugs and others have to be tried. Each child is treated individually and this results in combinations of drugs being administered and dosages experimented with in a bid to find the right concoction and dosage. All the while the child might have to put up with some disturbing side-effects that include the following:

* Tremors
* Tics
* Insomnia
* Depression
* Anxiety
* Paranoia
* Heart complications
* Stomach pains
* Headaches
* Mood swings
* Suicidal thoughts and even suicidal tendencies

Have children died while taking drugs prescribed for ADHD? The answer is ‘yes’ although those that promote stimulant medications in treating ADHD will point out the need to keep the number of children who have died as a result of these drugs in perspective. Of course there is something to be said for keeping things in perspective but for the parent who has lost a child numbers really do not amount to much.

It is because of the medications used in treating the disorder as well as the fact that the causes continue to remain a mystery to a large extent that many people consider ADHD a very controversial disorder. The most that science has been able to suggest when it comes to the causes is that there is a genetic component involved. It has also been suggested that children exposed to smoking and alcohol while still in the womb, and those that have sustained a head injury or trauma or been exposed to lead, might develop the disorder. Considering that this is the most thoroughly researched and studied mental disorder that affects children it is disconcerting that more answers have not been forthcoming.

In treating ADHD, one needs to understand that as far as can be determined this is a genuine psychiatric disorder with recognizable symptoms. The symptoms the child exhibits will determine which of the subtypes of ADHD they have. For example the child that displays some inattentive behavior but mostly hyperactive and impulsive behavior is likely to be diagnosed with ADHD hyperactive/impulsive type. There is also the predominantly inattentive category and the combined category which is what most children are classified as.

When it comes to the different means of treating this common disorder there are other options besides the stimulant drugs so easily and routinely prescribed. For instance changing the child’s diet can have great benefit for the child because certain foods and ingredients in foods are known to exacerbate the symptoms associated with the disorder. Homeopathic remedies are gaining in popularity because many studies that have been conducted have proven to be beneficial. Placebo treatments are considered by most to be less effective than homeopathic treatments although these too have produced some positive results.

Before you agree to allow your child to be medicated with ADHD drugs discuss the alternative treatments that are available with your healthcare professional. Be prepared for scepticism in many instances however it is important that you are not pushed into making a decision you will later regret. Research the alternatives yourself and decide whether to let your child try these methods before you try the medications. Despite the fact that many of the drugs can produce alarming side effects it must be pointed out that there are a great many children on ADHD medications or are reacting and responding favorably to the treatment.

The Causes and Treatment of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is the fear of being in public places. The root of the word, “agora” is Greek and means “gathering” especially in public places. Phobia, of course, is fear. Agoraphobia can manifest itself as a mild anxiety when one is anywhere others gather to a debilitating inability to leave the home. Agoraphobia, like any phobia or fear, is based in a perception of being unsafe, threatened or in danger. Of course, much more often than not, these perceptions are faulty.

Agoraphobia can easily develop from any number of childhood experiences in which some form of perceived threat while in public is internalized. Even vicarious experiences, i.e., experiences that a child witnesses or observes, but is not a direct experience, can form into a phobia. For example, if a child, while in public, witnesses violence and is somewhat traumatized by that, the child could then become frightened of being in public. From then on, the thought of going out into public triggers that memory, the child become frightened, anxious and may even experience a full-blown panic attack. The anxiety and panic is actually a way the mind has of protecting the person. It inhibits going towards danger. And, in fact, some anxiety can be quite healthy in that regard. But, is there really danger? In some cases, there may be. In most cases, there is no real danger. Granted, there is always risk in going out the front door. For some, those who live in abusive household, there is risk and danger inside the front door. And we all have varying degrees of injuries and traumas from childhood. But, as our rational mind develops, we are increasingly able to recognize what happened then is not what happens now. What may have been a dangerous situation as a child, is now perceived as an adult as no longer a threat.

Those who, as an adult, suffer with agoraphobia, whether mild or extreme, can take steps to significantly reduce the symptoms, and perhaps even transform the causative perception to shift thereby completely eradicating the source of the fear, through a variety of treatments:

1) Psychoeducation. Understand agoraphobia. Research agoraphobia. Read as much as you can online about the causes, symptoms and treatment. The more you know about agoraphobia, the better equipped you are to deal with it.

2) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach, which examines, challenges and restructures the internal dialogue and subconscious mental pictures that generate anxiety and panic. There are many good articles and books on CBT. It is an effective intervention which one can begin on their own through self-study. Working with a professional who is versed in CBT is one of the more effective treatments.

3) Systematic Desensitization. Also referred to as Exposure Therapy, this is a process of very gradually confronting those situations or places that generate the anxiety and panic and learning to feel safe. This approach works exceptionally well in conjunction with CBT and is recommended to be conducted with a professional knowledgeable about these methods.

4) Meditation and Relaxation. Learning to self induce a state of calmness is not only beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety and panic, it is overall a very healthy thing to do. There is a wealth of information on the net about meditation and relaxation. A number of audio CD’s are available specifically designed to lower brain wave patterns and induce a deep state of meditative relaxation.

5) Hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can be helpful in creating a relaxed state of mind, implanting suggestions of safety and security and making subconscious associations of personal strength and capacity in those situations that have caused anxiety and panic. Hypnotherapy must be conducted with a skilled professional who is trained in therapeutic hypnosis.

6) Neurolinquistic Programming. A cognitive approach that explores the structure of perception, thought and belief with methodologies geared towards rapid emotional and behavioral changes.

7) Emotional Freedom Technique. A self induced system of tapping pressure points in conjunction with specific thought patterns to help alleviate the causes of trauma, anxiety and fears.

8) Medication. There are a number of medications that can be helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety and panic. Medication is often a recommended adjunct to psychotherapy as it can dampen anxiety responses that make it easier to engage in such interventions as CBT or Exposure. Some of the more common medications prescribed are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Another family of medications, called benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin, may also be prescribed. A prescribing physician needs to be consulted for those considering medication.

9) Alternative Medication. There are a number of natural remedies that have been shown to be helpful in reducing anxiety and increasing calmness. Some herbal teas can be quite relaxing; there is some research showing Kava as an effective anti-anxiety remedy.

Agoraphobia, like any anxiety or fear, is fundamentally a positive response to a perceived threat. The interventions above are all geared towards helping a person come to see that what has been perceived as a threat, is not and, consequently, the need for the anxiety, as protective mechanism, is, in fact, unnecessary.

What to Expect When a Partner Is Healing From Trauma or Alcoholism

There are many types of marriages. One type that I am often asked to help is the Healing Marriage. In this type of marriage the couple is involved in a relationship to help one or both heal from childhood traumas. Sometimes these couples form their relationship based on helping each other. Other times they are surprised that their relationship evolves this particular way. These couples have an ability to tolerate dysfunction, as long as they know their spouse is on a path of healing.

In Healing Marriages, the hope to provide a safe, loving place that is far different from the traumatic background one, or both, came from is very strong. It is possible they may trust each other enough to create a shared vision based on this hope. They work very hard together to prevent repeating old childhood patterns. They look toward each other for motivation and inspiration. If they have children they may work especially hard on parenting, becoming the 50% who do not repeat abusive parenting – even becoming extraordinary parents.

At difficult times the healthier spouse is able to provide an exceptional amount of love, nurturing, support, and patience. Often, greater degrees of closeness, attachment, and commitment are the rewards. Enormous growth is possible in these relationships. That growth can be further enriching for the couple. At some point in time the marriage then is able to shift focus from healing to enjoying each other and their life together.

Another type of Healing Marriage is one that is recovering from alcoholism. It is especially helpful to couples recovering from alcoholism to be informed about what to expect in the healing process. Couples healing from alcoholism, or other addictions, need to know they will be creating a new, different, and better life; not just putting their life back together. This will require reaching outside the relationship for help. A 12-step program, a therapist, and/or church can be important to help the couple tolerate the uncertainty that will come from so much change. The couple needs to know this turmoil is normal. They need to know that the psychological separation that occurs is not only normal, but also necessary. This separation allows the couple to become healthy as individuals first, so that they can become healthy together, as a couple. This process can take a long time.

At the same time, if there are children, the couple needs to both be able to attend to the children, as well as focus on self. This can be difficult to pull off. Treatment providers are beginning to realize that children can become neglected in the recovery process. Providers are beginning to consider ways to balance treatment to consider the children’s needs. One way is to ensure that the children have outside support also.

Apologies can be an important step that may be needed in healing from trauma, alcoholism, affairs, or others difficulties. Taking responsibility for one’s mistakes, making a sincere apology, and offering amends, are important abilities that measure one’s honesty, character, integrity, caring, maturity, and self-esteem. AA teaches these skills in its 12-Steps of Recovery. They are skills everyone could benefit from learning. What is not included in the 12-steps, or other self-help resources is Part Two in the process of apology. I call it the “bearing up phase”. This means, after the apology has been offered —”I did it, I was wrong, I am sorry I caused you pain” – the apologizer must fortify himself to bear up to hear the injured person’s hurt and anger. The nature of the injury will determine the intensity of the feelings that the one apologizing will have to withstand, and the time necessary to process through those feelings. Some injuries, such as those of affairs, or abuse, could take a long time. Being able to listen with patience, fortitude, care, empathy, and sorrow is important. Both parties involved with difficult injuries will likely need help to endure and stay with the process. Without help, too often the one responsible for the injury is unable to tolerate the other’s pain, and preempts the process by becoming defensive. In addition, the wronged party may need help expressing his feelings of being wronged constructively. If the process is allowed to unfold through all the feelings, then true forgiveness will be the likely outcome. Reconciliation may be possible as well. Smaller injuries, of course, are more quickly and easily laid to rest.