Answers to Mothers’ Questions about ADHD
As a psychologist specializing in treating ADHD for over 19 years, I’ve heard many questions regarding this disorder. here are some of the most frequent and important ones answered:
1. “My child doesn’t have the hyperactivity part; do you have to be hyper to have ADHD?”
No, there are actually three distinct forms of the disorder: Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Form (a combination of the first two forms). Hyperactivity is a symptom of the second and third types, but certainly not necessary for the disorder to be present. The inattentive-only form of the disorder is quite prevalent.
2. “I thought medication was the only way to effectively treat this problem. Is that true?”
Unfortunately, that is a common misunderstanding. The serious side effects and rigors of medication cause many parents to deny even the possibility of the disorder’s presence in their children. As a result, proper testing and, in most cases, relatively easy treatment of the disorder does not take place, causing the child to struggle unnecessarily and often fail both academically and socially. There is, however, a highly successful, side effect-free alternative to medication discussed below.
3. “How do you get ADHD? What causes it?”
ADHD is caused by any of four different circumstances: oxygen deprivation at birth (difficult delivery, premature birth, etc.), head trauma, drugs or alcohol in the prenatal environment (womb), or genetics. (Approximately 80-85% of this disorder is based on inherited genes. However, the inherited genes do not always manifest in the disorder. Therefore, the genetic connection may not always be apparent.)
4. “Isn’t it just laziness or lack of discipline?”
Most of us have the capacity for “laziness” in one degree or another, and I don’t dismiss this at all. However, this should not be confused with ADHD. When someone has ADHD, the amount of effort it takes to focus is exhausting, and chores (like homework) can require so much internal effort that you will see some real resistance to it. But it’s the disorder, not laziness, that’s the problem. Some parents (often fathers) erroneously think that more discipline or punishment is the solution. All this does is create justified anger (punishment for something they are unable to do correctly) and do further damage to self-esteem. What needs to be done is proper testing and treating of the disorder, if it is present.
As mentioned above, there is alternative to medication. Neurofeedback is a highly successful drug- and side effect-free procedure in which the individual learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.