19 February 2009

Eczema Sufferers More Likely to Have ADHD

This news release really caught my attention. Here's a synopis:

The children in a German study of almost 2900 children and teenager founds that across the board, 5.2 percent of eczema patients had ADHD while only 3.4 percent of eczema-free youngsters did. A research letter will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Young people with atopic eczema were found to be 54 percent more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis than those without it. About 20 percent of children in Western nations are found to have atopic eczema by age 6.

"Atopic eczema is highly prevalent in children and it is known to gravely affect the quality of life," Schmitt and Romanos wrote in an email. "Therefore the assumption that it might be related to or influence the presence of psychiatric problems is not far-fetched."

Before the finding can be official, the link needs to be confirmed by more research. There also exists that eczema-related itching or sleep disturbances may exacerbate ADHD symptoms in some children. It's also possible that atopic eczema and ADHD could share an underlying cause.

Special diets have been proposed for treating ADHD, but the role of diet and food sensitivity in the condition has been highly controversial. Some research has linked ADHD to allergic conditions such as hay fever. Jan Buitelaar, M.D., Ph.D., of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands has coauthored a 2008 paper suggesting that ADHD may be an allergic condition in some patients.

"There is data that allergic mechanisms could alter brain neurotransmission and brain functioning," Buitelaar said. He also pointed out that children could develop "disruptive and restless behavior" as a result of the itchiness and pain caused by the skin condition.

Treatment for ADHD should be a combination of medication for ADHD and environmental changes that promote positive behavioral changes.

Two out of five studies (unnamed in the original article) have found some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit ADHD patients.

Very interesting. Can't wait for some follow up studies.

12 February 2009

My Mind on Drugs - an ADHD essay by Dr. Jay S. Winston

The excerpt below is from the blog article, "My Mind on Drugs," by guest author Dr. Jay. At the end of this article you will find his biography and a link to his own blog, "Yoga for Cynics." Some of you might know him as DrJay1966 on Blog Catalog.

"My Mind on Drugs"


Dr. Jay S. Winston

"In an earlier post I went on a bit of a rant about the tendency to prescribe drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to what would appear to be the growing legion of kids affected by ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). In the past, I’ve been called on this kind of remark, and told about people who were unable to read a page or sit down for half an hour before they were put on these drugs, and now they can.

"Am I saying they should be denied the medication that’s improved their lives? No, I’m not. I am, however, suggesting that such cases are a small subsection of the rapidly exploding total, and that, in many cases, the problem might be the educational system, not the kids.

"Allow me to provide a bit of autobiography. They tried to get me on Ritalin twice when I was growing up, as a way of dealing with my apparent inability to pay attention in math class (or for that matter, any class that failed to grab my interest, i.e. almost all of them). I refused and, fortunately, my parents didn’t push the matter. Was my poor attention span a problem? Yes. In fact, my grades were lousy throughout grade school, and I probably would've been held back more than once except that the teachers seemed to agree that I could’ve passed if I’d tried, and that forcing me to repeat would only make things worse for everybody involved.

"In the later years of high school, I did a bit better and, having taken a year off and written a personal essay describing my trials and tribulations and heroic overcoming of the same, I made it to college. It wasn’t until graduate school, though, that I really began to excel. I won’t say that I floated through two Master’s degrees and a PhD without a care, but I didn’t seem to have any more trouble than anybody else.

"Lectures rarely held my attention and, as always, I had to have music playing to study but, as courses were all discussion based, and the vast majority of work was self-directed, that wasn’t much of a problem. All in all, it was a whole hell of a lot easier than grade school.

"Do I sound like a learning-disabled person? Or might it be that I was struggling with an educational system which itself has a severe disability in terms of understanding that some minds work differently than others and allowing those minds room to flower? Alas, from what I hear, things have only gotten worse since I left high school, and any hope for change has been positively knee-capped by “No Child Left Behind.” Can there be any doubt that, as reliance on standardized testing continues to grow, the attention deficit epidemic and resulting drugging of America's youth will as well?"

Dr. Winston describes himself as "the kind of doctor who, in case of emergency, can explain Faulkner while you die."

Dr. Winston's blog: YOGA FOR CYNICS - "...thoughts on yoga, cynicism, things to do while drinking coffee, the great outdoors, writing, the great indoors, art, the not-so-great outdoors and indoors, drugs, music, politics, and biking, or not."

Visit Dr. Jay a.k.a. Drjay1966 on Blog Catalog.


05 February 2009

ADHD Myths and Other Nonsense

Here is a list of myths, lies and untruths about ADHD:

There is no such thing as ADD or ADHD. It is a fabricated plot by the drug companies to get our money.

ADHD is a term invented to describe children whose incompetent parents don't want to admit they are raising brats.

There is no such thing as a mental disorder. Psychiatry and psychology are pseudo sciences based on lies.

It is the teacher's fault for presenting information in a boring fashion. The teacher doesn't want to admit this and instead suggests that the child might have ADHD.

Children who are able to concentrate on things that they enjoy and are passionate about cannot possibly have ADHD.

ADHD medication is mind-control that turns children into zombies and drug addicts.

Medication is the only treatment options that works. There is nothing else you can do besides using drugs.

The only nation in the world that uses medication for ADHD is the USA.


Causes of ADD / ADHD

According to the Mayo Clinic, more and more scientists are agreeing that changes in the brain may be a biggest cause of ADD / ADHD. They also agree that the environment may contribute to or worsen behavior.

Scientists have discovered some important differences in the brains of people with ADHD as compared to those without the disorder. They found that the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters don't work properly in people with ADHD. Also, there seems to be less activity in the areas of the brain that control activity and attention in people with ADHD. They also discovered that children with ADHD have up to 4 percent smaller brain volumes than do children without ADHD.

Most of us already know that ADHD tends to run in families. About 25 percent of children with ADHD have at least one relative with the disorder.

Women who smoke while pregnant have a higher risk of that particular baby having ADHD. Drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy is suspected to reduce activity of the nerve cells that make neurotransmitters. Pregnant women who are exposed to the chemical, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), is also more likely to have children with symptoms of ADHD.

Preschool children exposed to lead and PCB's are at increased risk of developmental and behavioral problems. Exposure to lead, which is found mainly in the paint and pipes of older buildings, has been linked to disruptive and even violent behavior and to a short attention span. The paint can flake and eventually become tiny pieces, mixed in with the playground soil.

03 February 2009

ADD / ADHD Support Groups

It's best to meet doctors, psychiatrists, pyschologists, other people with ADD / ADHD and/or other parents of children with ADD / ADHD in person. Here's some resources to help you find your closest support group:

US ADHD Support Groups or ADD.org

Canadian ADHD Support Group Listings by Province

Canadian Mental Health Association Branches by Province

International ADHD Support Group Links


The Positive Characteristics of ADD / ADHD

People with ADD / ADHD also have many positive traits that are directly tied to their active, impulsive minds:

Creativity – People with ADD excel at thinking outside of the box, brainstorming, and finding creative solutions to problems. Because of their flexible way of thinking about things, they tend to be more open-minded, independent, and ready to improvise.
Enthusiasm and spontaneity – People with ADD are free spirits with lively minds—qualities that makes for good company and engrossing conversation. Their enthusiasm and spontaneous approach to life can be infectious.

A quick mind - People with ADD have the ability to think on their feet, quickly absorb new information (as long as it’s interesting), and multitask with ease. Their rapid-fire minds thrive on stimulation. They adapt well to change and are great in a crisis.

High energy level – People with ADD have loads of energy. When their attention is captured by something that interests them, they can have virtually unlimited stamina and drive.

Hyperfocus - individuals often are able to “hyperfocus” for long periods of time on tasks or projects that they find interesting. This is particularly true of interactive or hands-on activities. They may even be compulsive about it, spending hours immersed in the activity without a thought to anything or anyone else. This single-minded ability to hyperfocus can lead to significant accomplishments, discoveries, and creative breakthroughs. Swimming is Olympic medalist Michael Phelp's hyperfocus!
You might find this link inspiring: Famous People with ADHD.

For a list of over 100 positive characteristics (print it out and post it on the wall) click HERE.


ADD & ADHD in Adults

Most children do not outgrow their ADD or ADHD and become disorganized, inattentive adults. Symptoms may be holding them back at work, negatively affecting their relationships, and hampering accomplishment of goals. Symptoms usually get worse as life presents more and more pressures and demands on the individual.

Untreated ADD / ADHD causes difficulty at college or at work, frustrated friends and family members who just don’t understand your lack of self control and why you can’t get your act together, poor self esteem over your lack of accomplishments in life and the stress that goes with all of these things.

The first step in overcoming adult ADD / ADHD is realizing you might have it. ADD / ADHD can have the following symptoms in an adult:


  • chronically late to work
  • miss or forget deadlines and meetings
  • have a hard time organizing projects and delegating work
  • difficulty completing projects on time
  • spend hours at work but get very little done
  • get distracted by trivial tasks, while neglecting the most important ones
  • difficulty paying attention in meetings or in conversations with your boss and colleagues

  • your partner has to take care of all the planning, organizing, cleaning, bill paying, and other household responsibilities and becomes resentful you aren't helping out more which strains the relationship
  • you may resent your partner’s constant nagging to tidy up, get organized, and take care of business which strains the relationship even more
  • Friends and family members take it personally when you tune them out, forget conversations or commitments, speak a little too bluntly, or keep them waiting

  • procrastination, disorganization, and impulsivity can interfere with good money management
  • forget to pay bills
  • run up huge balances on your credit cards due to impulsive buying
  • cannot save money
  • unable to follow through on long-term financial goals
  • shop impulsively, inability to stop yourself and say no
  • difficulty keeping financial paperwork in order
  • fail at budgeting and recordkeeping

Eating behaviors

  • many adults with the condition also suffer from overeating, obesity, or disordered eating
  • snack throughout the day, rather than eating at planned meals
  • unable to stick with a diet
  • have intense cravings for carbohydrates and caffeine
  • eat a lot of fast food and “junk food”
  • waiting until hungry and then eating whatever is fast and easy rather than planning a healthy meal in advance

If you have some of the above symptoms and agree that they are negatively impacting your life, look into getting help. Get evaluated. There are self-help resources as well as seeing a doctor. Here are some links for you to get started on conquering your ADD / ADHD:

Read Self-Help for Adult ADD

Read Treatment Options for ADD / ADHD

Read Medications for Treating ADHD

For a listing of famous people throughout history with ADD / ADHD (to make you feel less alone in this) click HERE.