Martial Arts: Great Activity for ADD Children

5 reasons martial arts might just be a great activity for your ADD child:

  1. Exercise.  Though there are many mysteries surrounding attention challenges, one constant that almost all experts agree on is that physical activity helps.  Not only does it allow a child to burn off excess energy, it improves their overall health and well-being.  Children who exercise are shown to be happier in general, are more adapt at concentrating, and often sleep better.
  2. Camaraderie.  While the martial arts are generally not team sports like baseball or soccer, there is a substantial amount of social interaction.  Often students pair up to practice their techniques, and this shared experience often builds bonds of friendship.  On a larger scale, the class as a whole is collectively engaged in an endeavor that every member can identify with, allowing a child who might otherwise have difficulty socially, to “fit in.”
  3. Discipline.  One characteristic that is prevalent in almost every traditional martial arts school is discipline.  It is engrained in the culture of styles like Tae Kwon Do Karate and Kung Fu, with an emphasis on self-discipline above all else.  Being able to master one’s mind and body is paramount to learning the numerous punches, kicks and katas common in most schools.
  4. Confidence.  The martial arts often put a child in situations where they are challenged to excel, and success in such venues breeds confidence.  While this is true of many endeavors, the martial arts are unique in that an individual is taught to defend themselves if need be, and this often translates into a greater amount of confidence in situations that have nothing to do with self-defense.
  5. Patience.  Many children with attention challenges have a tendency towards impulsivity, but most martial arts schools adhere to a very structured training regiment, thus curbing impulsivity out of sheer necessity.  Also, since martial arts training is often done in a group setting, an attention challenged child is among others who also must be patient to succeed.

 

Michael Smith

 

More Women Diagnosed with ADHD Now

More Women Diagnosed with ADHD Now
Is it life, work, or something else entirely?

Read More: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/girls-adhd.aspx

You can’t keep track of the kids and your spouse. Your house is in total disarray. Your mind can’t stay focused on anything for more than a few seconds. If this is your life, don’t feel alone; more women are being diagnosed with ADHD than ever before.

Women who are diagnosed later in life often think their messiness, lack of focus, and poor organization are just habits they learned over the years, but it could be much more serious than that.

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday.” (Source Newsday).

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Boys are diagnosed far more often than girls.In some areas of the country boys are diagnosed 5:1 over girls. Many experts attribute this to boys being more boisterous; they express frustration and act out far more than girls. Of course, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so more boys are diagnosed than girls. Additionally, the majority of tests for ADHD were developed for hyperactive white males, so girls were by standard, omitted from that group.

Girls are often told they just aren’t performing up to par. They hear remarks from teachers like, “Stop daydreaming,” or “Get organized.” But many times it’s not just a matter of organization or daydreaming. Their ADHD just doesn’t get diagnosed until they are older. By then, their world may seem like it’s falling apart.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Young women diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls, particularly the type with early signs of impulsivity, were three to four times more likely to attempt suicide and two to three times more likely to report injuring themselves than comparable young women in a control group, according to the findings, published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology®.”

“ADHD can signal future psychological problems for girls as they are entering adulthood,” said the study’s lead author, Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Our findings reinforce the idea that ADHD in girls is particularly severe and can have serious public health implications.”

Recent research has also shown that menopause can produce ADHD like symptoms due to hormonal changes.

The more you understand your life, the better you can manage it, but it won’t happen without you becoming your own best advocate. Don’t wait until depression sets in. Don’t wait until you feel like your life is out of control or falling apart.

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD
What’s behind this?

From Newsday: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/surge-in-women-taking-drugs-for-adhd-1.7372481

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday. Boys 12 to 18 years old are the most heavily prescribed, with about 9.3 percent on ADHD drugs in 2012.

Almost 4.8 million privately insured people were on ADHD medicines in 2012, the report said. Those with the disorder have problems paying attention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.”

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Your opinions are welcome.

Introducing Dear Sheer Genius

Dear Sheer Genius,

We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius. This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius. You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!

Sheer Genius is here to help!

Who is Sheer Genius?

Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way!

How do I submit a question?

To submit your question please click here or email sheergenius@playattention.net. If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page. We will only use your first name if you provide it.

Sheer Genius looks forward to hearing from you!

Photo: Introducing Dear Sheer Genius,
We are pleased to introduce our new advice column, Dear Sheer Genius.  This advice column will be sent out every week and we invite all of you to write to our very own attention specialist, Sheer Genius.  You may write Sheer Genius and ask questions about Play Attention, attention problems, education, behavior shaping, parenting concerns, peer relationships etc.!
Sheer Genius is here to help!
Who is Sheer Genius?
Sheer Genius is the virtual member of the Play Attention family. His outstanding knowledge and experience is incorporated into Play Attention to help guide you through our program every step of the way!
How do I submit a question?
To submit your question please click here or email sheergenius@playattention.net.  If your question is selected you will receive a personal email from Sheer Genius and your question/answer will be posted on our website as well as our Facebook page.  We will only use your first name if you provide it.
Sheer Genius looks forward to hearing from you!

The ADHD link to social dynamics

If I told you that women who received only basic education were 130 % more likely to have a child on ADHD medication than women with university degrees, you’d see a link, wouldn’t you? 

Well, that’s what a  study published this month in Acta Paediatrica found.  That implies that nearly half of the serious cases of ADHD  in children are closely tied to social factors. The study reveals that factors like single parenting and poor maternal education were directly tied to ADHD medication use.

While we know that a genetic propensity likely exists, the human brain develops based on a complex interplay between nature and nurture; between genetic endowment (nature) and environment/social factors (nurture). Epigenetic theory tries to explain this relationship.

Curiously, few large-scale studies have tried to determine the impact of social and family influences on ADHD. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden assessed data on 1.16 million school children and examined the health histories of nearly 8,000 Swedish-born kids, aged six to 19, who had taken ADHD medication.

"We tracked their record through other registers … to determine a number of other factors," said lead author Anders Hjern.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • Living in a single parent family increased the chances of being on ADHD medication by more than 50 percent.
  • A family on welfare upped the odds of medication use by 135%.
  • Boys were three times more likely to be on medication than girls.
  • Social dynamics affected both sexes equally.

"Almost half of the cases could be explained by the socioeconomic factors included in our analysis, clearly demonstrating that these are potent predictors of ADHD-medication in Swedish school children," Hjern said.

It’s clear that this study found a link between socioeconomic factors and ADHD medication use/diagnosis. Other US studies have found that minority children and children of low socioeconomic status were more likely to receive ADHD medication.

Factors like low income and diminished quality time are more common in single-parent families. These typically lead to stressors like family conflict and a lack of social support, Hjern said.

While more research must be done, one has to ask, is medication the answer to social stressors like lack of time and money? Sounds too silly to ask, but it seems that our answer, ridiculously, is a resounding, YES!

We are the masters of our lives. We can make significant personal changes, but we must have the tools to do so. That’s why I began Play Attention (support.playattention.net) years ago.

ADHD & Fetal Development

 

Obviously, being pregnant can be stressful in itself, but current research shows that stress can affect fetal development which may lead to long-term problems including ADHD.

Dr. Vivette Glover of Imperial College London, surveyed pregnant women at her hospital. Of these, nearly one quarter felt anxious and depressed due to stressors including work, money, arguing with spouse, and moving to accommodate a larger family. When compared to their non-stressed counterparts in this research, the babies of the stressed mother had lower birth weight, lower IQ, slower cognitive development, and more anxiety. Lower birth weight has been an indicator for coronary heart disease in later life.

In 2007, research in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicated that being stressed during pregnancy is as detrimental for the baby’s development as smoking or being obese. Glover’s research reveals why and how this happens: stress produces the hormone cortisol. An abundance of stress can actually diminish the barrier enzyme that inhibits cortisol from reaching the fetus. Costisol impacts fetal brain development.

According to Glover, “People used to think that if something was congenital, apparent at birth, it had to be genetic. In fact it can be an in-vitro reaction of genes and environment.”

Glover also contends that her research shows stress greatly increases the likelihood of a child having ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), cognitive delay, autism , anxiety and depression. 

Glover’s research reinforces previous data from the UK where stress was shown to increase the risk for development of ADHD. In that research, the women who experienced the most stress doubled the chances of developing ADHD.

“The organs are forming during the first trimester of pregnancy, but the brain is developing all the way through,” Glover explains. “The organs are sensitive while they are forming and, once formed, they are harder to change.”

“In evolutionary terms, stress perhaps prepares the child for survival in a stressful environment. If a child is anxious and has attention deficiency, it will be very alert to danger. This may once have been adaptive, beneficial for the child, but it isn’t any more,” Glover says.

Significantly, Glover’s research implies that the changes may be on a genetic level so that it may be passed on generation to generation.

Therefore, it’s important to realize that taking care oshutterstock_3753070f ourselves during pregnancy is more important now than ever. Small efforts like seeking health services early, meditating, eating a balanced diet, taking pre-natal vitamins, and laughing are good practices.

Minimizing stress by maintaining a consistent schedule both at work and at home is a good idea.

 

Women with ADHD affected more?

In most clinical settings, boys are treated for ADHD at least 4 to 1 over girls. Boys, it is thought, tend to present symptoms outwardly more than girls resulting in physical behaviors that are easily noticeable (hyperactivity).

In an article reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, February 2008, author of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and his colleagues find that the roles are reversed in adults; females seem to be more impacted than men.

“We found that adult women with ADHD frequently have high levels of emotional symptoms as well as the cognitive problems found in ADHD,” Dr. Frederick W. Reimherr told Reuters Health.

Reimherr’s conclusions were drawn from analysis of data from two clinical trials of Strattera. Strattera is a non-stimulant medication for ADHD produced by Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical giant.

ADHD symptom data were collected ADHD on 515 individuals. Approximately one third of this population were women. Seventy-five percent of the women in this population had a combined-type ADHD as opposed to only 62% of the male population represented in this study.

Women also presented more problems with sleep than did males in the study. Women had higher scores measuring both anxiety and depression than did their male counterparts.

Women presented poor temper control, mood volatility, and emotional over-reactivity than did their male counterparts (37 % in women as opposed to 29 % of males).

In an interview with Reuter’s Health correspondents, Reimherr cites that, “these symptoms – depression, temper control problems, feelings of tension, and over-reacting to life stresses – might cause a doctor to miss the diagnosis of ADHD … We feel that this will lead to problems in treatment for such women.”

Such studies are limited to the initial data collected by the original researchers at Lilly. Therefore, one is not able to draw positive conclusions regarding the origins of the differences cited by Reimherr. For example, do hormones, age differences, economic statuses, education, or marital statuses, affect the data? We cannot know due to the limitations of the data in this study.

Girls With ADHD and ADD Are Often Overlooked

Girls With ADHD Are Often Overlooked

HealthNewsDigest.com – August 29, 2005 (HealthNewsDigest.com) reports that ADHD likely affects 3% to 7% of the entire child population in the US. However, girls are frequently overlooked because they often do not display hyperactive symptoms.

When teaching at the elementary level, I found this particularly true. Girls with ADHD often were simply daydreamers with poor time management skills. While some did display the outward social and behavioral problems that their male peers did, it was not very frequent.

HealthNewsDigest.com is published by the American Psychological Association. I’ve cited bits of this report and am alarmed by its look and feel. It reads like an endorsement and advertisement for Adderall XR.

Their report, edited down:

The federal Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) recent nod to ADDERALL XR for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescents aged 13 to 17 spotlights an underidentified and under treated population with this disorder, experts tell Health NewsDigest.com.

If left untreated, the symptoms of ADHD can have a profound effect on a child’s life, both inside and outside of a classroom setting.

For Janice Lowder, a quiet, well-behaved child, learning was always stressful.

“My husband and I hired a one-on-one tutor to help Janice with her studies. We also tried to help her, and all dreaded the nightly battle of completing a homework assignment. Janice would get so frustrated with her homework and the fact that she didn’t ‘get it,’ that she would cry,” said her mother Beth Lowder.

“By the time Janice reached the seventh grade, a nurse at her school suggested we talk to a doctor. Janice was diagnosed with ADHD and was started on treatment,” Beth explained.

“I knew my daughter just needed the right help,” said Beth.

By the tenth grade, Janice had improved from a C to a B student but homework was still challenging. In addition, she had low self-esteem and was embarrassed to take her medication at school. Her psychiatrist prescribed Adderall XR®, an extended-release formulation that enabled Janice to take her medication once a day at home.

With continued tutoring and medication, her grades improved.

“She came home from school one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m smart,’” said her mother.

A recent study presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting showed that girls with ADHD demonstrated significant improvement in both behavior and attention with Adderall XR.

“The study suggests that girls with ADHD can benefit from Adderall XR and that this treatment will help them control symptoms all day while they are in the classroom, during after-school activities or doing homework with relatively few side effects,” said Joseph Biederman, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Chief of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “While ADHD in girls is becoming more recognizable it is still often overlooked, and there is a need for safe and effective treatments that will allow girls to interact more effectively with other children and adults, to concentrate in school and to focus on finishing tasks.”

I’d expect to find a more diluted version in Parents Magazine or Family Journal as an outright advertisement. Makes one wonder who wrote this? Shire Pharmaceuticals?

Grief Changes Brain Chemistry In Women

Arif Najib, MD, with the University of Tübingen Medical Center in Tübingen, Germany used MRI scans to view brain changes of women after ending a romantic relationship. Najib’s findings indicate that grief produces considerable changes in the MRIs. His study appears in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Najib thinks that depression may cause the brain to malfunction – especially the areas of normal circuitry for handling sadness, separation, and grief.

“In this current study, Najib and colleagues chose 11 female volunteers who were in the throes of grief over a recent breakup of a romantic relationship. Many were having trouble getting it out of their minds – a risk factor for major depression.

Najib’s researchers looked at brain scans while grieving women focused on sad thoughts about their romantic relationship. Then they performed brain imaging scans while women had neutral thoughts of a different person they had known for an equally long time.

During the study, the women were still having difficulty getting the loss out of their minds, but most had resolved their depressive symptoms.

Women still grieving over the romantic relationship had the greatest brain changes, he reports. Although there was increased brain activity in many regions associated with sadness, they also had much less activity in the brain region associated with emotion, motivation, and attention – the amygdala.”

This process has been viewed before in persons subjected to severe trauma. Researchers noted that the hippocampus, the center of memory, emotion, and learning, seemed to substantially decrease in these persons perhaps to avoid remembering the trauma. While we know that positive challenges shape the brain by increasing neural connections, we also know now that negative influences shape the brain negatively.