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ADD / ADHD

Definition

Symptoms & Characteristics

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a “disruptive behavior disorder” characterized by inattention, hyperactivity or their combination. In those with ADD, the frontal cortex (surface) of the brain has more difficulty using glucose and less blood flow than in people without ADD. The frontal cortex inhibits impulses, initiates behavior, and controls working memory.

Diagnosing

A professional cognitive skills test can pinpoint
the exact cause of learning problems. In people
with ADD/ADHD, the weakest cognitive skills are
attention (divided, sustained and/or selective),
although other areas may suffer as well.  

At IQRx, while we do not provide diagnoses, the fact is that many of our students come to us with previous diagnoses, including ADHD.  We help children and adults with ADD, ADHD, and attention issues because we address the cognitive deficits that are commonly linked to this problem. In fact, our brain training programs strengthen three kinds of attention, which is why children and adults with ADD / ADHD who go through our program experience such significant improvements in school, work, and life.  Our training also strengths working memory and processing speed which often also tend to be weak in students diagnosed with ADD / ADHD.

At IQRx, in addition to cognitive skills assessment for Brain Training, psychometric evaluations by our Certified School Physcologist partner can also be obtained.  

Boy Checking his Phone

Hyperactivity includes:

  • Overactivity

  • Fidgeting most of the time

  • Squirming in their seat

  • Purposeless or non-goal directed activity

  • Goes from one activity to another without completing activities

Distractibility includes:

  • Very distractible

  • Does not complete tasks

  • Lacks selective attention

  • Unable to concentrate (unless fascinated by a subject)

  • Tendency to daydream

Impulsivity includes:

  • Demands must be met immediately

  • Needs immediate reward for achievement

  • Poor planners

  • Lack of organizational skills

  • Lack of self-control

  • Does things without thinking of consequences

Comorbidity

According to ADDitude magazine, roughly 80% of those with ADD / ADHD are diagnosed with at least one other pyschiatric disorder sometime in their life.    The most common ADHD comorbidities are learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, sensory processing disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. 

  • 70% of adults with ADHD will be treated for depression

  • about 50% of adults with ADHD live with alcoholism or substance abuse

  • up to 23% will develop Bipolar disorder

  • Tourette's, dyslexia, dyscalculia, ODD, and other disorders are more common in people with ADHD than among the general population

 

About 50% of children with ADHD also have some type of learning disability such as dyslexia or auditory processing disorder.  About 11% of ADD /ADHD patients have comorbidity with dyscalculia.  About 50% of those diagnosed with ADHD will also have regulatory problems or difficulty regulating their emotions which include anxiety, panic attacks or other disorders like a mood disorder.  They may have difficulty regulating thoughts and behaviors which can results in obsessive compulsive disorder or controlling motor behavior.   Others can have behavioral problems such as oppositional defiant disorder where they externalize their problems and pain, blame others and take no responsibility in their behaviors.

Treatment

Medication: Stimulant medications can treat the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.  Consult your doctor for proper medication.
 

Focusing on strengths: helps compensate for weak skills.
 

Tutoring: a short-term fix that can help students catch up (such as after an extended absence due to illness, injury or a family move) or when instruction is not the best.  Nevertheless, if used regularly (not only for catching up due to special circumstances), the need for tutoring will continue since it is not targeting the root cause.

Accommodation: students and teachers adapt to, and work around, limitations.  Some accommodations include: extra time, allowing use of calculators, adjusting difficulty of tasks, separating complicated problems into smaller steps, using visual aids to remind basic concepts, allowing the child to test alone in a private room, additional time, breaking the test in sections, simplifying instructions, seating in the front row among others, can sometimes help the student focus and prevent class disruptions.
 

Nutrition: You might also be able to reduce the frequency or severity of the symptoms by limiting the intake of foods containing non-organic dyes, which have been linked to hyperactivity.  Controlling sugar consumption can also be helpful as well as supplementing with Omegas.  Including plenty of varied fruits and vegetables as well as non-processed foods is key to brain health.  Ensuring appropriate hydration is also essential for brain function and overall health.  IQRx works with our Juice Plus partners in improving nutrition and a healthy lifestyle (mdevarona.juiceplus.com).  IQRx counts with support of a licensed nutritionist for additional consultations when needed.

Exercise: Physical exercise is also effective to manage some ADD/ADHD symptoms and overall brain health.   Exercise has been found to reduce brain cell loss, reduce risk of depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better.  Exercising regularly increases blood flow therefore achieving better brain oxygenation.  Children should exercise 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise including bone and muscle training at least 3 days a week.  Adults should exercise at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 of vigorous exercise) and muscle strengthening twice a week.

Sleep Habits: Getting the proper amount of sleep is known to optimize mental functioning.  While sleeping, the brain is regenerating neurons and consolidating memory.  There are tables to offer guidance as to how much sleep is needed per age.  In general, preschoolers (3 - 5 years old) require 10 - 13 hours a day including naps.  Elementary students (6 - 12 years old) need 9 - 12 hours a day.  Teenagers (13 - 18) need 8 - 10 hours a day and adults (> 18 years old) require at least 7 hours a day.  There are natural ways to ensure proper sleep health such as using aromatherapy, essential oils, specific teas, white noise, ensuring no electronics are emitting light, removing mobile phones and other electronics from the room or not keeping them nearby, using melatonin.  

Protecting the Brain: Wear helmets when riding bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, horses, etc., and when playing contact sports like football or rugby.  Protect the brain from chemical contaminants in the environment as well as in food or by avoiding drugs, cigarette, and alcohol consumption.

Brain Training: Cognitive skills training attacks the root causes of ADD/ADHD by strengthening weak cognitive skills. In the case of ADD/ADHD, selective, divided, and sustained attention as well as working memory and processing speed.

Unlike tutoring, which focuses on specific academic subjects (like history), cognitive skills training treats the causes of learning struggles to help children, teens, and adults excel in school, sports, the workplace, and extracurricular activities (like sports, music, art, and dance).

IQRx Cognitive Training Programs Include:

      BrainRx

      ReadRx

      Accelerate

      Combo Programs

Targeted Tutoring after training: Once the student has improved and efficient cognitive skills, IQRx can close the gap of knowledge content through targeted tutoring.  These sessions will only be temporary until the student reaches the appropriate level of content.

Studying Techniques: IQRx can also provide studying skills necessary for success through individual sessions or group workshop of our Studying Habits and Memorization Techniques (TEM: Técnicas de Estudio y Memoria).  This program should be completed once the student has improved learning skills through brain training in order to obtain the greatest benefit and ensure that the student can in fact apply everything learned.  Once learning is maximized, IQRx can teach the student how to organize, plan, manage time, prepare for tests, take notes, prepare reviews, and different memorization techniques to support their studying process.  TEM can be acquired through individualized one on one sessions, a group workshop, or a group workshop paired with individualized coaching.

Helpful Resources

Attention Deficit Information Network
http://www.addinfonetwork.com


Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/
Hyperactivity Disorder

http://chadd.org

All Kinds of Minds
http://allkindsofminds.org

National Center for Learning Disabilities
http://www.ncld.org


Learning Disabilities Association of America
http://ldaamerica.org

LD Online

http://ldonline.org

The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

https://www.mghclaycenter.org/topic/learning-issues/

“Our son was into his teens early this year and showing all signs of being impatient, angry, restless and suffering from attention disorder. We could not make him sit in front of the books for more than 15 minutes. But ever since he joined BrainRx, we have seen a remarkable change, not only in his concentration levels but also in his attitude. He has become more independent and trusts in his own ability to learn and understand new concepts.”

 

– Mother of a BrainRx student

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Brain Training Results