ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is poorly named. This condition is not a “deficit of attention”. It is actually a problem of attention regulation: putting the attention where it needs to be for as long as it needs to be. In general these kids have completely normal attention when the child is interested in something. However it is more challenging for them to attend to school subjects they may find boring or difficult. Most pediatric patients improve as they approach adulthood, however there are many adults and college aged students that find they still have challenges with this condition.
There are different categories to describe ADHD. I like to divide this medical condition into two basic types which describe what the patient is doing when they are not paying attention:
- Hyperactive ADHD: these are what I call the “wigglers”. When they are not paying attention, they are moving. These children are often quickly flagged by teachers and parents since their actions are often disruptive in class as well as within the family. I always focus on sleep with this type of ADHD, since a sleepy child often appears hyperactive.
- Inattentive ADHD: these patients are the daydreamers and tend to quietly be in their own world. These are harder to detect since these children are not disruptive in class.
There are many ways to help patients with ADHD. Of course medication that specifically helps with focus can be used. However at FoxCare Integrative Health, we feel that there are additional treatment approaches that deserve investigation. These areas include sleep (quality and quantity), nutritional status and other lifestyle interventions that can assist in a patient’s ability to focus.