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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Causes, Symptoms, Natural Remedies

What is attention deficit disorder (ADD)?

Attention deficit disorder is characterized by difficulty in paying attention or focussing. ADD is recognized as one of the most common childhood developmental problems which affects almost 20% of schoolchildren. Boys are more susceptible than girls and symptoms may persist into adulthood.

Since there are so many symptoms of development issues, ADD may often be misdiagnosed. Some symptoms may be normal at one age and not at another. A child can show symptoms of attention deficit disorder in early childhood including infancy. These may be undiagnosed until schoolwork makes it apparent.

What are the different forms of attention deficit disorder (ADD)?

Almost all attention deficit disorder children have normal or high intelligence. Their activity levels can be normal, lower than normal (hypoactivity) or higher than normal (hyperactivity). Hyperactive ADD is referred to as ADHD or attention deficity hyperactivity disorder.

It is also possible for ADD children to have a learning disability that prevents them from processing information the way other children do.

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What are some symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD)?

  • Inability to pay attention
  • Excessive fidgeting and moving around
  • Distraction
  • Problems in doing schoolwork
  • Inability to understand directions
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Impulsiveness
    If you feel your child has ADD, it is a good idea to consult more than one doctor especially since ADD is sometimes misdiagnosed in children who may really not have it.

    How is ADD diagnosed and treated?

    The child's psychological and neurological abilities are tested. Tests will include a medical and social history of the the child and his family, physical exam and tests for vision, hearing, coordination and verbal skills. Quantitative tests of intelligence, personality and mental processing as well as a PET scan may be done. The child should also be tested for allergic sensitivities. Conventionally stimulants such as ritalin are prescribed for ADD. However there is a lot of controversy surrounding its use.

    What are some natural ways to treat and manage attention deficit disorder?

  • Promote the child's self-esteem by praising and rewarding good behaviour
  • Set routines for activities
  • Give simply specific instructions
  • Keep the child's room simple with toys out of sight so that there is no overstimulation or distraction
  • Encourage the child's special talents outside school activities.
  • Join a support group or organization such as the Children and Adults with Hyperactivity and Attention Disorders
  • A low-carb sugar free diet has been said to help
  • Vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B3), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamine (Vitamin B1) have been shown beneficial. 150-300mg of caffeine may also be helpful
  • Herbal remedies - Herbs such as Bacopa and herbal formulations such as Mentat are considered useful to calm and focus the mind
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