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MEDICATION NO PANACEA FOR CHILDREN WITH ADD AND ADHD
More Drugs are Used - But No Desired Effects
Do you know:
1. prescription of psychotropic drugs (Ritalin, Dexadrene, Prozac, etc.) for children increased 100% in the 10 years from 1987 to 1996?
2. twice as many boys as girls are given drugs?
3. to combat side effects such as insomnia or loss of appetite, many children are also given secondary drugs like Remorin or Clonidine? And
4. as a result, sales of these drugs have also augmented tremendously? At 10.6 million prescriptions a year, the ADHD drug Vyvanse was the 5th largest selling drug from July 2014 through June of this year. Wow!
Should We Medicate?
When we recognize many ADD/ADHD symptoms are the by-product of technological comfort and life style, and/or resulted from the increasing demands of intellectual seat-work, the question then becomes: Should we help ADD/ADHD children to cope by medication? Or by teaching them the skills and by realigning the environment?
The answer is obvious: Just like nobody would even think of using drugs to increase a child’s musical interests and stamina to practice, we should improve in intellectual pursuit and academic achievement through training and realignment of life structure.
First, one has to perform a label-free, skill-based evaluation of factors affecting the poor school grades -- ‘forgetfulness’ (especially of homework, test dates), the losing of things, the poor frustration tolerance, the oppositional behavior, the lack of independent study/work habit, the IEP objectives, etc., keeping in mind that motivation, discipline, life style and previous learning history have a lot to do with the problems associated with ADHD.
Once the factors are isolated and defined, there is only one kind of treatment worth undertaking - that it work on the deficits and produce measurable improvement. In treatment, the key is to have a thorough, logical analysis of the problem, the settings and the consequences and to develop personalized, child-specific training on motivation, study habit, time management, as well as training on processing and focusing skills.
Often times though, drugs give a false sense of relief of the symptoms. For example, the child is ‘calmer’ and thus ‘appears less absent minded’. Under medication, he can sit longer for a task. However, the drug merely serves to ‘tone down’ the overall motility level rather than improve cognitive focusing and learning. The true test of drug effectiveness should be measured by actual improvement on things ADHD is supposed to ruin - school grades, memory and focusing of relevant
details. I have yet to see such effects on many children under medication.
In addition to lack of clear and sustained effectiveness, a second argument against psychotropic medication is its tremendous expenses and the sense of despair and stigma about the ‘disease’ under the medical model. The problem is exacerbated by the negative side effects - loss of appetite, insomnia, or even a general slow down in thinking.
Thus, until the day a drug is invented that can actually improve focusing and learning of academic concepts, the most appropriate treatment for ADD/ADHD remains to be behavioral and skill-based.
Effective Treatment of ADD/ADHD
A whole host of expensive treatments exists, among them sophisticated apparatuses to activate the left brain and drugs to "tone down" the child. Tremendous anxiety and energy are expended by parents and often, sadly, to no result.
Our Label-free, No-nonsense Evaluation of ADD/ADHD
Although the terms ADD and ADHD are dispensed to children almost too readily, in our analysis, children who might be afflicted with the disorder exhibit some of the following symptoms:
We believe that these symptoms are mostly caused by some of the following factors:
- - poor school grades and academic performance,
- - frequent ‘forgetfulness’ (of homework, test dates, for example),
- - losing things or homework or school books,
- - excessive physical movement and fidgetness,
- - distractibility, does not (note: I did not say cannot) focus and work unless being prompted or 'nagged',
- - impulsiveness, and disruptiveness.
- - The child is usually not interested in school and any desk work, but can be very intense and enthralled on things he likes to do (e.g., videogames, the TV).
- - inapporiate school curriculum, teaching level and/or materials.
- - the classroom structure, the number of students in the class, seating arrangement, etc,
- - inadequate achievement level, especially in math, writing and comprehension skills,
- - the child's unique learning style, study habit, life style, energy level, interest, social activities,
- - the presence of specific learning disability, dyslexia, processing problems, intellectual deficits, focusing problem, etc., and
- - the family condition and dynamics.
In our evaluation, we analyze each of the above factors. The session consists of one intake session, plus psychological, school achievement, and personality testing, and a conference. During intake (approximately one hour), we define the referred problem, analyze the student's lifestyle and study habits, review records and the IEP (if there is one), and discuss goals and concerns with the student and family.
The testing may last between 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 hours. It consists of an IQ test, academic achievement tests, and personality tests.
Within two weeks, we will have a conference to discuss findings, the specific deficeincies and/or goals, and treatments methods.
How Our Non-drug Treatment Works
There is only one kind of treatment worth undertaking - that it work on the deficits and produce measurable improvement of the symptoms, without regard to the dogma and stigma of the term.
We maintain that motivation, discipline, life style and the child's learning history have a lot to do with the problems of ADHD.
In treatment, the key is to have a thorough, logical analysis of the problem, the settings and the consequences. This can be best achieved through professional training on motivation/study habits/time management and in more severe cases augmented with supervised study sessions and/or structured, one-to-one tutoring.
Call for more information at 310-435-1129 or 949-833-9444, or e-mail to: AGSserv@gmail.com