Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus and control their behavior. It’s usually diagnosed in childhood, as a child grows up but doesn’t grow out of behaviors that may be seen as immature. Common symptoms include an inability to concentrate on tasks, forgetting things, and being impulsive, among other issues that can cause problems at home, in school, or in the workplace. Some people may also have learning disabilities or can be prone to depression or anxiety.
Once diagnosed, there are different treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD. Many children and adults benefit from a combination of therapy and medication.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from parents after their child has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the potential side effects of the medication. At the same time, leaving children untreated is associated with poor outcomes.
Side effects of ADHD medication
In children, some of the most concerning side effects are delayed or reduced growth. Researchers are unsure why stimulant medication may delay a child’s growth, but some think it may be a result of reduced appetite. If a child is not eating normally, they are not getting the calories or nutrition their bodies need to grow at a normal rate. Some argue the effects are not permanent; however, studies have found that children who went off their medication during summer holidays gained about twice as much weight compared to children who consumed their medication all year round.
Adults are at an added risk for addiction to ADHD stimulant drugs if taken in high doses. The bigger the spike in dopamine, the greater the risk for addiction. Adults should be aware of this risk and be sure to take the medication in appropriate doses only.
Many teenagers and adults consider alternatives to ADHD medication. One of the common reasons for going off ADHD medication for teenagers is that they are simply “tired of it,” likely due to the physical side effects of taking the drugs. Many also want to see how they can do without the medication, hoping they can find their own improvements without relying on a drug for the rest of their life.
If you are struggling with the side effects of medication for ADHD, Jennifer can work with you and your physician to come up with a comprehensive plan that combines therapy and medication to help alleviate your symptoms.
Neurofeedback, an Alternative Therapy for ADHD
Neurofeedback is a method of treatment that is growing in popularity due to the short- and long-term improvements for ADHD. Neurofeedback teaches the brain, and as a result, causes the brain to change. Almost like exercising a muscle, the brain learns how to increase attention span and focus without the use of medication. You can read more about it by clicking here.
One of the most encouraging outcomes of neurofeedback is the lasting effects of treatment. A review of 10 studies investigating the effects of neurofeedback on ADHD found neurofeedback had sustained treatment effects for at least six months after therapy. Improvements were found in attention, hyperactivity, and impulse control.
If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback therapy for ADHD, you are welcome to call and schedule your first appointment or fill out the contact form and click Send.