ADHD

Another Reason to Ditch the Soda!
Is your teenager out of control? Has your child been labeled as having oppositional defiant disorder or attention deficit disorder? From seeming out of nowhere is your child throwing tantrums? There can be many causes for these problems, so here at Brownback, Mason and Associates, we do a comprehensive evaluation within a holistic framework, rather than just automatically recommend medication. We offer many alternative therapies, and sometimes, the solution is as simple as looking at your teen’s/child’s nutrition.

For example, did you know that soft drinks can trigger anger, aggression, oppositional behavior and attentional problems? A study of 1,800 students showed that high school kids who drink more than 5 cans of soft drinks per week are 15% more likely to act violently when compared to their non-soda drinking counterparts. Heavy consumers of nondiet soft drinks—students who had drunk five or more cans in the week preceding the survey—were more likely to
have behaved violently toward peers (57 percent, versus 39 percent of respondents who drank less soda);
to have behaved violently toward another child in their own families (42 percent, versus 27 percent);
to have behaved violently in a dating relationship (26 percent, versus 16 percent); and
to have carried a gun or a knife during the past year (40 percent, versus 27 percent).
The strength of the effect was on par with the correlation (well known among researchers) between these behaviors and alcohol and tobacco use; in some cases, the correlation with soda was stronger. (David Hemenway, director of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center, October 2011)

A 2006 Norwegian study has shown that teens who drink the largest quantities of sugary soft drinks also have more mental health problems, including hyperactivity and distress. More than 5,000 Norwegian 15- and 16-year-olds were surveyed regarding their soft drink habits, and then given a standard mental health questionnaire. There was a clear association between soft drinks and hyperactivity, and additional links to other mental disorders.

Most of the teens drank between one and six soft drinks each week. Teens who skipped breakfast and lunch tended to consume more soft drinks than others. The worst mental health problems were seen in the 10 percent of boys and 2 percent of girls who drank four or more soft drinks a day. (American Journal of Public Health, October 2006)

Also, a cohort study of almost 3000 5-year-olds showed that those who drank 1 to 4 servings of soda per day had significantly higher aggressive measurement scores than their peers who drank no soda. In addition, those who consumed 2 or more servings had higher withdrawn behavior scores, and those who consumed 4 or more servings had higher attention problem scores.

According to the lead author, Shakira Suglia, ScD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, of the study that was published in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics: “We were seeing a dose-response effect. So with every increase in soda consumption, the association and the scores basically increased.”

“This held up even after we adjusted for candy or fruit juice consumption and for a variety of social factors, especially for aggression with the highest level of soda consumption,” she added.

Because almost every soft drink has high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a key ingredient, soda has also been implicated in the obesity and diabetes epidemic. So, drinking soda may not only be involved with behavioral problems, it is also likely to cause weight gain. HFCS is not absorbed by the body in the same way as plain white sugar: rats that free-fed on HFCS showed a “48% greater weight gain, higher abdominal fat deposition and higher triglycerides than rats that free-fed on plain sugar water.”

There are many good reasons to not drink soda, yet it is difficult for many people to stop doing so. The counselors and psychologists at Brownback, Mason and Associates understand that decreasing the use of soda may be difficult, so we offer coaching and behavioral techniques to help.

Posted in ADHD, Parenting
Medication and Behavioral Techniques to Treat ADHD
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged that behavioral therapy always be used alongside medication for all ages, less than a third of children receive both medication and behavioral therapy in combination for the treatment of ADHD, according to a study in The Journal of Pediatrics (March 2015).

“It’s not at all surprising that medication is the most common treatment,” says Heidi Feldman, a professor of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine who served on the AAP clinical practice guidelines committee. “It works very effectively to reduce the core symptoms of the condition,” …The limitation of stimulant medications for ADHD is that studies do not show a long-term functional benefit from medication use.”

“Medicine is important to address the biological component of the disorder but it doesn’t teach a person how to manage their own symptoms and behavior”, says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. It is widely recognized that those with ADHD often face long-term difficulties, struggling to achieve success in employment and education, experiencing increased divorce and severe car accident rates and greater involvement with the criminal justice system.

“It is that lack of self-management that leads to these really poor outcomes as adults,” Spinks-Franklin says. “Pills don’t teach you social skills, coping strategies and self-control. Behavior therapy does.”

At Brownback, Mason and Associates we use a wide variety of behavioral techniques to manage the challenges associated with ADHD. Whether or not a person chooses to medicate, heart rate variability is an effective tool for increasing the capacity for attention, both by itself or as a facilitator to meditation practices, which itself can increase attention. Neurotherapy is another important treatment method for training the brain to normalize its function and can even eliminate the need for medication. Whatever treatment you choose, our holistic approach will always encourage healthy behaviors to optimize the functioning of the whole person. In addition, our staff members act as coaches for people with ADD, teaching them numerous skills to help in overcoming the day to day problems associated with Attention Deficit disorder (ADHD).

Source: Scientific American Meds Trump Therapy Recommendation for Treating ADHD By Tara Haelle | April 20, 2015

Posted in ADHD
In-School Neurofeedback Helps Kids with ADHD
A report in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (2014), demonstrated that children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) who received in-school neurofeedback, made greater improvements than children receiving in-school computer based cognitive training (CT) or no intervention.

The study involved 104 students in second or fourth grades, diagnosed with ADHD who were attending public schools in the Greater Boston area. Forty sessions of in-school computer attention training intervention using neurofeedback or cognitive training (CT) were administered. All three groups were evaluated, using a variety of validated and standardized measures, by parents, teachers, and blinded observers, pre- and post-intervention.

After completing training, children in the neurofeedback group exhibited significant improvement in attention and executive functioning compared both to children in the cognitive training group and to those in the control group.

Furthermore, in a 6 month followup study published in Pediatrics (March 2014), gains for neurofeedback participants in the areas of inattention, executive functioning, and hyperactivity/impulsivity remained significantly greater than gains found among children in CT and control conditions.

In addition, neurofeedback participants who were medicated at the start of intervention, maintained the same stimulant medication dosage, whereas medicated participants in both CT and control conditions showed statistically and clinically significant increases in dosage.

At Brownback, Mason & Associates, we have more than 20 years experience in treating ADHD with neurotherapy. Our approach customizes the therapy to the client, beginning with a comprehensive symptom questionnaire and clinical intake to target symptoms and proceeding with a Quantitative Electroencephalogram and psychoeducational test battery to pinpoint dysregulation in specific brain regions correlating with symptoms. Protocols are then designed to address these dysregulations and neurotherapy begins. At the same time, the client receives instruction in heart rate variability biofeedback and holistic healthy behaviors to facilitate the optimization of neurotherapy.

Sources:

Steiner N.J., Frenette, E.C., Rene, K.M.,et al. Neurofeedback and Cognitive Attention Training for Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Schools Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics January 2014: 35(1):18-27.

Steiner N.J., Frenette, E.C., Rene, K.M.,et al. In-School Neurofeedback Training for ADHD: Sustained Improvements From a Randomized Control Trial PEDIATRICS March 2014: 133(3): 483-492.

Posted in ADHD
Mindfulness Meditation for Attention Deficit Disorder
What if a single mental ability could predict success both in school and in work life? Researchers have found that cognitive control, the capacity to maintain focus on an important choice while ignoring other impulses, has such potential.

Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all point to lapses in this ability. They also describe symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder.

Then what if, instead of medication, the current first-line of treatment for attention deficit disorder, there were exercises that could strengthen this ability?

According to James M. Swanson, an author in a large study published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “There are no long-term, lasting benefits from taking A.D.H.D. medications.” He goes on to say that exercises in mindfulness seem to be training the areas of the brain that have reduced activity in Attention Deficit Disorder—getting to the cause.

Research is being conducted to test mindfulness as a way of strengthening the ability to suppress distractions. Mindfulness seems to strengthen brain circuitry for sustaining attention, an indicator of cognitive control.

Meditation is a cognitive control exercise that enhances “the ability to self-regulate your internal distractions,” said Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. In mindfulness meditation, people learn to monitor their thoughts, to notice that their attention has wandered, and without judging or reacting, to renew their concentration.

In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researchers used functional MRI imaging to view the brains of meditators while they went through four basic mental movements: choosing a target and focusing on it, recognizing that their minds had wandered, refocusing on the target, and maintaining their focus on the target. The movements appeared to strengthen the neural circuitry for keeping attention on a chosen target of focus.

According to a 2014 article in Clinical Neurophysiology, adults with A.D.D. showed improvements in mental performance as good as those shown by subjects taking medications, through mindfulness training combined with cognitive therapy. Both the impulsive errors and self-judgment about making mistakes and being distracted decreased through this combination of therapies.

Here at Brownback, Mason & Associates, we teach mindfulness techniques and have many tools to aid with training. One major tool that we use in our practice to enhance meditation and to increase attention and focus is heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback. Our clients use Em-wave and Inner Balance technology to measure beat to beat changes in heart rate and to learn to recognize when the heart and brain are coherent. By increasing this coherence between emotions and heart rhythm, the alignment of emotions, mind, body and spirit is heightened. This makes it easier to focus and block out the busyness and stress in the world and is a great facilitator to meditation practices.

Source: Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficits posted by Daniel Goleman on May 12, 2014

Posted in ADHD
6 Ways to Address ADHD Naturally
U.S. News and World Report described some ways to treat Attention Deficit Disorder, (ADD) naturally in “Natural Ways to Overcome ADHD and ADD” (December 2010). Here at Brownback, Mason and Associates we strongly advocate a holistic approach to treatment and incorporate a number of the suggested practices into our work with ADD, both in counseling and in neurotherapy.

Exercise: Evidence is increasing that exercise is good for the brain as well as for the heart. Research has linked aerobic exercise to kids’ math and reading achievement.
Positive Parenting: Positive relationships are absolutely essential, in treating ADD, according to Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of “Superparenting for ADD”. Our office provides parenting skills training that can help parents manage kids’ behavioral problems.
Neurofeedback: EEG biofeedback has been shown in numerous studies to be an effective method of training children to regulate the brainwaves associated with focus and attention. The added advantage to neurofeedback as compared to medication is that results continue after training is complete.
Natural Environment: Various studies show that ADHD children show symptom improvement from playing outside in a natural environment with greenery.
Better sleep: Children with ADHD sleep for less time on average than those without the disorder, according to a study appearing in the journal Sleep. The study’s author Dr. Judith Wei also reports that research shows that as many as 1 in 4 children who have been diagnosed with ADHD actually may not have ADHD, but instead may have undiagnosed and untreated sleep disordered breathing problems, especially if snoring occurs regularly.
Diet: Food additives, dyes, sugar, and recently gluten have been identified as worsening Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms in some children. If you suspect that one or more of these substances may be causing an effect in your child, eliminate the suspected food from your child’s diet for 2 weeks and observe his/her behavior. Omega-3 supplements are also recommended if there are not enough of these fatty acids in the child’s diet. Omega-3s may improve focus and brain function.
Posted in ADHD
5 Reasons Not to use Medication to Treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent childhood mental health diagnoses. Between 50% and 80% of diagnosed children will continue to meet diagnostic criteria through adolescence and adulthood. Considering that 25-35% of children do not respond to stimulant medication and that ADHD is often a lifetime condition, viable treatment alternatives to medication should be considered.

Of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, 2.5 million (56%) take medication for symptom management. The prevalence of medication treatment is greatest among children aged 9-12. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/ dextroamphetamine combinations are the most commonly prescribed stimulant medications for treatment of ADHD symptoms and are generally administered from one to three times daily. Stimulants work to reduce core symptoms of ADHD by inhibiting the neuronal dopamine transporter and norepinephrine.

While many families choose medication management to treat their child’s ADHD symptoms, here are 5 reasons to consider alternative treatments.

Research suggests that 25-35% do not respond to stimulant treatment. Children exhibiting inattentive symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, which are associated with slower processing speeds and cortical slowing, typically do not respond to stimulant treatment.
As children enter adolescence, many refuse to take their medications multiple times per day because of the stigma associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
On the other hand, stimulants are often misused by teens both with and without ADHD.
Medications have side effects. In a national study of over 600 children, researchers reported growth suppression of 23% for height gain and 47% for weight gain for children receiving medication compared to those with no medication. No evidence was found for growth rebound once medications were stopped.
Studies demonstrate that medication improves behavior and not necessarily performance. A study of boys with ADHD found that medication improved attention during a baseball game, but not performance. In the academic setting, children with ADHD on medication have been shown to have normalized classroom behaviors but have failed to demonstrate improved scholastic function.
Posted in ADHD
ADD & ADHD symptoms does not always mean a Person has ADD/ADHD
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Daniel Amen, M.D. of Amen Clinics has noted that “Outside of genetic predisposition, poor diet, and lack of exercise, there are a variety of reasons why ADD symptoms may arise in children, adults, and even the elderly.” He reports on his blog (March 6, 2014) that the five most common factors that are often overlooked as being the cause of Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity.

Symptoms are:

Head Injury
Lack of Oxygen or Toxic Exposure
Medical Problems & Medications 
Depression & Anxiety
Hormonal Factors.
 

Because the symptoms can be the result of a problem other than the presence of the genetically-based Attention Deficit Disorder, it is very important to have a comprehensive evaluation, which is why we have developed a four step neurodiagnostic process that precedes a client beginning neurofeedback (NFB). The QEEG or brainmap is at the heart of our neurodiagnostic evaluation.

The second step is the completion of our Comprehensive Neurodiagnostic Checklist (CNC-1020), which is an online, 300-item, questionnaire that is completed by the client (if age-appropriate) and any support persons—parents, spouse, siblings, etc., who would have relevant information regarding the client’s behavior. Third is an intake session to gather additional information, such as family history, medical history, etc.

Finally, a psychoeducational test battery is also administered to identify any additional possible brain disorders to be treated. We have found that these four steps allow us to match problematic cognitions, emotions and behaviors with dysregulations in brain function, which lets a person understand what the cause is of their ADD symptoms. And, this process allows us to create a very fine-tuned, highly personalized neurotherapeutic intervention for those who want to use neurofeedback to become free of their symptoms, whether the cause is ADD, head injury, depression or more.

Posted in ADHD
10 Nutritional Recommendations to Reduce Symptoms of ADHD
The food you eat plays in important role in the management of the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The following is a list of recommendations you can do to help reduce your ADHD symptoms.

Eat lots of vitamin C by consuming foods rich in vitamin C
Take a multivitamin daily that includes:
vitamin B-12
folic acid
vitamin E
selenium
zinc
magnesium
Eat blueberries and/or take grape-seed extract
Drink lots of water—8 glasses for most people
Take omega-3: for a child, 2.5 grams per day; for an adult, 5 grams/day
Eat protein at every meal, especially breakfast
Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less starch and flour-based foods
Avoid junk foods
Try to eat fresh foods, rather than processed
Avoid foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, those long words that usually end in ite or ate.
Avoid foods that contain trans-fatty acids.
Avoid foods, such as potato chips, that contain “partially hydrogenated” ingredients.
Don’t self-medicate with food—using sugar or junk to elevate your mood.
Not only will the above recommendations help to reduce your symptoms of ADHD, but they contribute to your overall good health.

Source: Delivered from Distraction by Edward Hallowell, M.D. and John Ratey, M.D.

Posted in ADHD, Eating Disorders, Parenting
Neurofeedback Treatment in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Neurofeedback treatment in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be traced back to 1976.  Since that time, research studies have begun to investigate the effects of neurofeedback on different symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.  The clinical effects of neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD can be considered clinically meaningful.  Researchers have concluded that neurofeedback treatment for ADHD can be considered “Efficacious and Specific” with a large effect for inattention and impulsivity and a medium effect for hyperactivity.

The majority of research on biofeedback treatment for ADHD has looked at electroencephalography (EEG).  EEG is a form of biofeedback that measures aspects of electrical brain functioning and processing.  Research on children diagnosed with ADHD who have undergone EEG neurofeedback has reported: 

·         Eighty percent of children receiving EEG training were able to reduce daily stimulant doses by at least 50%. 

·         In children ages 8-12, researchers found that EEG was comparable to stimulant medication in the reduction of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

·         In children ages 6-19 who received medication management in conjunction with EEG, once medication was removed, children who had received EEG training demonstrated better behavioral ratings then children with no biofeedback training.   Additionally, decreased behavioral symptoms were seen at three years post treatment of those who received EEG training.

Source: Arns M, de Ridder S, Strehl U, Breteler M, Coenen A. (2009).  Efficacy of neurofeedback treatment in ADHD: the effects on inattention ,impulsivity and hyperactivity: a meta-analysis. Clinical EEG Neuroscience, 40(3), 180-9.

Posted in ADHD
4 Reasons Not to use Medication to Treat ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AHDH) is one of the most prevalent childhood mental health diagnoses.  Between 50% and 80% of diagnosed children will continue to meet diagnostic criteria through adolescence and adulthood.  Considering that 25-35% of children do not respond to stimulant medication and that ADHD is often a lifetime condition, viable treatment alternatives to medication should be considered.

Of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, 2.5 million (56%) take medication for  symptom management.  The prevalence of medication treatment is greatest among children aged 9-12.  Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine/ dextroamphetamine combinations are the most commonly prescribed stimulant medications for treatment of ADHD symptoms and are generally administered from one to three times daily. Stimulants work to reduce core symptoms of ADHD by inhibiting the neuronal dopamine transporter and norepinephrine.

While many families choose medication management to treat their child’s ADHD symptoms, here are 4 reasons to consider alternative treatments.

Research suggests that 25-35% do not respond to stimulant treatment.  Children exhibiting inattentive symptoms of ADHD, which are associated with slower processing speeds and cortical slowing, typically do not respond to stimulant treatment.
As children enter adolescence, many refuse to take their medications multiple times per day because of the stigma associated with ADHD.
Medications have side effects.  In a national study of over 600 children, researchers reported growth suppression of 23% for height gain and 47% for weight gain for children receiving medication compared to those with no medication.  No evidence was found for growth rebound once medications were stopped.
Studies demonstrate that medication improves behavior and not necessarily performance. A study of boys with ADHD found that medication improved attention during a baseball game, but not performance. In the academic setting, children with ADHD on medication have been to have normalized classroom behaviors but have failed to demonstrate improved scholastic function.
 

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