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Lynda Gantt: What is Attention Deficit Disorder? | Health, Medicine and Fitness

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There is a positive correlation between adverse experiences such as poverty, neglect, being institutionalized, or having abusive parenting and having a poor outcome in life. Children’s brains change when exposed to trauma. Recent research identified factors that influence the development of ADHD. These include maternal pre-pregnancy obesity, being overweight, having preeclampsia, acetaminophen exposure, and smoking during pregnancy.

To improve the quality of life for a child, a number of approaches need to take place. These should include a collaborative approach involving the medical doctor (for medication), teachers, school counselors and school psychologists, and any other caretakers. For adults, behavioral interventions and medication appear to work best, especially when anxiety is present. Overall, medication and behavioral interventions seem to help the most.

For anyone with ADHD, focusing on the whole person to identify and develop more self-knowledge, self-determination and self-choice are optimal goals for treatment. A stimulant medication can decrease hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Additionally, there is increased mental alertness, wakefulness and increased concentration and a decrease in aggressive behavior.

Both children and adults also benefit from an improved sense of self-esteem when treated with appropriate medication and behavioral interventions. Initially, stimulants are prescribed at low doses then titrated up. These medications zero in on the neurotransmitter dopamine which is associated with attention, pleasure and movement. Stimulants block the reuptake of dopamine and noradrenaline so that the amount of dopamine at the neural synapse is increased. This is where dopamine can be most utilized.

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