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Medication Myths and ADD
When I was growing up, the term Attention Deficit Disorder was not known. People with ADD, who had trouble with concentration and sustaining effort, were called lazy and unmotivated. It was widely believed that they could definitely do better, if only they cared enough to try.
Research into the causes, prevalence, and ways to relieve the symptoms of ADD/ADHD is happening all over the world. A study in Colombia found a higher prevalence of ADD/ADHD than is usually reported. It was correlated with low socio-economic status. A study in India found a 29% incidence of Attention Deficits, with four times as many boys as girls being identified. An older study in Sweden compared the effect of stimulant medication versus a placebo. The study found a significant improvement in symptoms with the medication. Times have changed and ADD/ADHD is now acknowledged as a biological disorder, rather than a moral failing. There are still a lot of myths about ADD/ADHD. Many of the myths involve the medications for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Here are a few of the myths about medications. Some myths are contradictory. The information supplied here is provided for educational purposes only, and it is not meant to be a substitute for information from a medical professional. Finding a doctor with experience in the area of ADD/ADHD is an important step in managing the negative symptoms that can cause problems for people with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Myth:Medications work for everybody.
Facts:Some people are not helped by medication. Others just show a mild positive effect from medication. For some people the effect of taking medication is dramatic in reducing symptoms. A child who is being helped with medication will often show a huge immediate improvement in their handwriting.
Myth: Medication for ADD turns kids into ďzombies.Ē
Facts:Prescribing medication for ADD is a science and an art. The science comes from knowing about the different types of medications and their various positive and negative attributes. The art comes from prescribing the right medication and the correct dose for each child. A childís body chemistry is different for each child. What would be a small dose for one might be a whopper for another. The doctor must work collaboratively with the child and his family to get the right dose. Children who are taking the right medication in the correct dose do not look like zombies. If your child seems out of it when they are on medication, run, donít walk, back to the doctor and have the medication adjusted. If your doctor is reluctant to do this, find another doctor who has a different attitude toward medication.
Myth:ADD medications are overprescribed.
Facts:In some areas of the country, this may be true. In other areas, getting medication for your child might be a six-month odyssey.
Myth:Medications are the only way to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.
Facts:Exercise releases brain chemicals that help ADD. Mindfulness Training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy also help with the negative symptoms of ADD. Many people are helped by practicing meditation. All of these therapies work better when they are done in conjunction with medication, if the person is one of the lucky ones who is helped by meds.
Myth:Medication is not necessary; the person just has to work more on concentrating.
Facts:If a doctor tells you this, find another doctor who has experience with ADD. There are structural differences in the personís brain who has Attention Deficit Disorder. Differences in brain chemistry exist, also. The latest research is starting to bring these facts to light. Just willing yourself to concentrate doesnít work over an extended period, although some may achieve the effect for a short period of time. Medication and therapeutic techniques help with concentration. Over time, many people with ADD, since they have great powers of creativity, find ways to work around problems with concentration.
All around the world, there are competent people living well with Attention Deficit Disorder. They are not lazy, unmotivated, or choosing not to concentrate. Most of these people have found creative ways to deal with their negative symptoms of ADD/ADHD. They understand that the differences in their brain architecture and the brain's chemical signalling can make what is easy for many people be very difficult for people with ADD/ADHD. With the correct medication and other interventions, these people are able to free their inner, creative problem solver and live well with Attention Deficit Disorder.
This website contains a lot of useful information about Attention Deficit Disorder. Learn the facts and donít be confused by the myths. Links are listed below to find accurate information about this brain difference.
Here is a book with adult Attention Deficit Disorder as its focus. This was one of the first books that I read about ADD. It gave me so many "aha, that's me" moments and helped me to see my ADD in a more positive light. I recommend it highly.
You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
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