ADHD and Me (Pt. 1)


By Kevin Stoda

I was not one of those American boys who was properly diagnosed with ADD. You see I grew up in the 60s and 70s when little was known of it—and long before the substantial Post-WWII changes in the American diet had led to changes in children’s physical and mental make-ups (which in turn lead to many more obvious cases of ADD). Naturally, genetics has likely had more influence on ADHD development in the USA population than any other known contributor. This is likely because the kind of peoples who arrived here from around the world over the centuries were more impulsive and had demonstrated hyperactivity or imbalances in their own selves with their prior society—which lead them to be more likely to move to a new setting and start over.
Now, 3 to 5 percent of children in school in the USA are identified as ADD or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002518/
Teachers back-then did not even consider a child like me to be too much out of the ordinary—in terms of having classroom distractions and hyperactivity back in those days—i.e. as long as we didn’t get into a lot of fights and act out in front of others too often. In all of my school report cards, I recall only that my fifth grade English and Science instructor noted that my “being distracted” was affecting my performance and participation in class. (Interestingly, the 5th grade was when I actually got the best grades of my entire elementary school years. Therefore, part of my distraction in English class likely involved me reading social study books or novels in class.)
“ADHD always begins in childhood. For some people [like most of those in my generation], though, ADHD is not diagnosed until adulthood. That means adults who are newly diagnosed have actually had ADHD for years, and have had to endure symptoms as they’ve matured. In addition, research shows that between 30% and 70% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms of the disorder when they become adults.”
http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/default.htm
According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “ADHD has been called attention-deficit disorder (ADD) in the past. But, ADHD is now the preferred term because it describes both primary aspects of the condition: inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. While many children who have ADHD tend more toward one category than the other, most children have some combination of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. ADHD symptoms become more apparent during activities that require focused mental effort.”
I really never noticed that I was hyperactive until I became an adult. It was during the last year at college that I noted that I could no longer sit down with people and chat for long periods of time. By the time of my graduation, I was so out of sorts that I nearly failed my communication class and had trouble putting together my dissertation. Others had already noted my distractedness and apparent inattention years earlier but I was seldom one to get into fights or to take to alcoholism or take to using drugs as is common among those who have never been treated for their ADD or ADHD. (In short, a lot of self-medication has been an option for ADHD sufferers for generations.) Instead, I traveled and went to new places as often as I could. Eventually, I traveled to 102 different countries by the time I was 45 years of ages.


Looking back on my travels, one episode stands out, whereby a medical professional took notice of my somewhat disguised hyperactivity. That was in Munich, Germany in the summer of 1991. I was teaching German by this time and had been invited to a two-week workshop for German instructors from around the world at the Goethe Institute. On my last free evening, I went out for a stroll near one of the ancient royal parks and gardens planted around the city. On this evening, there was a black man in his early 40s playing a guitar. He was playing a lot of tunes I liked. So, I came nearer. There were some children dancing around the man as I approached his bench. I clapped along and stomped my feet nervously up-and-down with the rhythm.
I discovered from the man’s accent that he was originally from Jamaica, but he worked in England as a pediatrician. He was in Munich visiting his daughter and grandchildren that week. That day was one of the longest days of early summer and the man played and chatted with me over the next hour. He was not a street musician as I thought—but simply a music-loving-Jamaican-M.D.
The man and I talked about children and how they loved to dance. He finally observed that my own feet had been happily tapping away—almost uncontrollably as I listened or sang along. The pediatrician observed, “Only in little children have I observed such happy dancing feet before.” In short, my almost spastic happy feet were showing a hyperactivity and joy of life that only young children’s feet generally exhibit.

(to be continued at: https://eslkevin.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/adhd-and-me-pt-2-distracted-ness-leads-to-hyperfoci-on-a-variety-of-skills/)

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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29 Responses to ADHD and Me (Pt. 1)

  1. eslkevin says:

    Here are some more helps or discussions for families on this.

    http://www.familyandhome.org/difficult_child.html

  2. eslkevin says:

    Here is a list of diagnosis criteria for adults.

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/1101/p2077.html

  3. eslkevin says:

    http://web4health.info/en/answers/adhd-adult-treat-opt.htm

    I am 25 and have lived with Add and never been on medication, as I am getting older I am seeing more and more reason why I should be. It is effecting my relationship, my job, and my overall quality of life. Would it be recommended to use medication for adult ADHD, and what are the alternatives for treatment of adult ADHD?

    Answer:
    To consider different treatment options for adults with ADHD needs an individual diagnostic process evaluating the personal resources and deficits of the person. ADHD should cause severe impairments in different areas of life and has to be present since early childhood. But many adults have developed functional or dysfunctional ways to cope with the everyday problems of this disorder.
    Treatment options for adults with ADHD include psycho-education about symptoms and consequences of this disorder. Sometimes this is already the most important part of therapy, because the client can now accept some common problems of life and already uses appropriate ways to handle these problems.

    To get professional help to cope with organization and other aspects of daily functioning a coaching approach can be very useful. A coach helps to set priorities and to define realistic plans to change certain areas of life which caused problems.

    There is only very little research about appropriate psychotherapeutic ways to treat ADHD. I would recommend a cognitive-behavioural therapy (self-management approach), but sometimes other methods are also very useful (to cope with low self-esteem or other problems secondary to ADHD).

    Medication can be the essential part of a good therapy, but it is not always necessary to take pills. There are (at least) two possible approaches to use medication for adults with ADHD. The most effective treatment choice is to use stimulants like methylphenidate or amphetamines. Very often adults need a lower dose than children, but they have a longer day so they need additional daily doses or longer acting stimulants (e.g. Concerta, Ritalin LA or Adderall XR). Psychostimulants are not approved for the treatment of adult ADHD, but they have been used for a long time with excellent results. (Actually, the amphetamine Adderall XR is going to get FDA approval very soon.)

    Atomexetine (Strattera) is an antidepressant but has also a positive effect for ADHD. There is a lot of advertisement in America for this kind of medication. It is approved for adult ADHD, but there is only limited experience on the effects for adults compared to psychostimulants. It has an effect for 12 to 24 hours, but it takes a couple of weeks until you have the full effects of this drug.

    Best effects have been reported for patients with inattentive ADHD. I think atomoxetine is second choice compared to psychostimulants, because the correct doses and possible side effects are relevant.

    So there are different possible treatment choices. To find the best treatment for you needs a good clinical diagnosis and consultation of a doctor with special experience in this area. I would recommend joining a self-help group to get further information and support.

    Alternative therapies have not shown a benefit for adult ADHD. You might consider complementary methods to lower your stress and subjective impairments with a positive influence on your well-being. But this usually does not influence the basic attentional and executive dysfunctions of ADHD.

    • eslkevin says:

      http://web4health.info/en/answers/adhd-adult-attention.htm

      Are there any special exercises for adults with adhd (inattentive type). I am an adult now; are there any special treatment to improve attention and distractibility in adults due to adhd?

      Answer:
      I don´t think that it makes much sense to try any special exercises to try to improve attentional functions. Most of the advertisements which offer better concentration or attentional function are not worth a try. One possibility might be the use of EEG-biofeedback. This method uses a visible and /or auditory signal to influence the EEG-brain waves. This can alter the attentional functions at least for a restricted period and may offer improved attentional functions. However, little knowledge is available about the long-term success rate and it takes a rather long time to learn this together with a specialized therapist.
      Treatment of adhd for children, adolescents or adults is based on a multimodal treatment approach. The most effective therapy is a combination of psychopharmacotherapy (usually psychostimulant medication) and psychotherapy.

      You should learn to adapt to the special impairments of adhd (executive dysfunction with problems of self-organization, low frustration tolerance, affective instability) and try to develop good coping skills. One way to handle these problems would be a coach and / or a cognitive-behavioral therapy with self-management skills.

      It is important to get sufficient information about the everyday symptoms of this syndrome, and to learn to adapt to the benefits and problems due to the deficits of executive functions. I would recommend keeping symptom diary to monitor typical problems of attention, distractibility or organization skills. With a psychotherapist or coach you can learn to develop appropriate ways to handle these problems and focus on your interests and strengths to develop personal resources.

  4. eslkevin says:

    When I was a teenager my parents took
    My brother Jeremy to the Doctor after his teachers
    had repeatedly complained about his inability
    to focus in the classroom.

    On this fateful day, the Doctor did a very basic
    assessment and declared that my brother had
    “ADHD” (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

    His remedy was to prescribe the amphetemine
    drug, Ritalin.

    Overnight Jeremy changed from a fun-loving
    exuberant kid, to a zombie.

    His personality totally changed.

    He may have been more manageable in the
    classroom, but it certainly did not “help” Jeremy.

    He did not sleep well.

    Feeling he was “damaged goods” his confidence
    went into the toilet.

    He became increasingly rebellious.

    Being labeled and “ADHD” kid granted him access
    to the “bad” crowd… who wanted to buy his extra
    pills from him.

    Over the next few years Jeremy drifted from school
    to school without ever being able to conform.

    I tell you this story because this was a very dark
    time for my family…

    especially my heart-broken parents.

    Seeing first hand the destruction that a so-called
    “ADD ADHD” diagnosis can have on a family is
    THE driving motivational force behind my work for
    the past 10 years.

    My goal for you is that you clearly understand…

    YOU HAVE OPTIONS

    and not just wimpy, tree-hugging pie-in-the-sky
    options.

    Real, scientifically proven, healthy, natural options.

    If you opt for the medication route and you feel it
    is best for your family…

    more power to you. (I would suggest clicking the
    unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email)

    If you want to learn how to eliminate your
    ADD ADHD naturally,

    You have stumbled upon the world’s #1 natural
    ADD ADHD system…

    “3 Steps To Conquering ADD”

  5. cialis says:

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

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