ADD and ADHD is a significant problem in our society, both for children and adults. Navigating the various treatments can be particularly frustrating for parents of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. There is legitimate concern regarding long term side effects of medications. All to often, patients are diagnosed by a physician who makes their decision primarily on checklists of symptoms filled out by the patient, family members, and teacher. Symptoms such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity can be produced by many things other than ADD/ADHD. For example, an anxious or traumatized child may have difficulty concentrating in school, going to sleep, and respecting the boundaries of peers. There is research that indicates that as many as 40% of the current ADD/ADHD diagnoses are incorrect (Snyder, Quintana, Sexson, et al., 2007).
While ADD/ADHD seems to be primarily a biological issue, it can be associated with a host of other issues. For example, teachers or adult family members frustrated with an ADHD child’s inattentiveness or hyperactivity may repeatedly criticize the child. Peers may be annoyed by impulsive or high energy children. Sadly, public schools are often ill prepared to effectively provide for the education needs of a child with ADD/ADHD. I have seen young clients repeatedly kicked out of private schools who seem more interested in getting easy tuition revenue than helping and educating their students. Left untreated, ADHD is understandably associated with low self-esteem, poorer academic performance, higher high school drop out rates, and higher levels of substance abuse and criminality.
In my approach to both children and adults who present with ADD/ADHD symptoms, I support the development of strategies to cope with inattentiveness and forgetfulness. In the case of children, I also support the family in developing an environment which encourages increased self esteem and sets reasonable and achievable expectation for both the child and caregivers.
In addition, I can provide neurofeedback for ADD/ADHD clients. While no guarantees can be made with any specific treatment, there is a body of evidence which supports neurofeedback in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Most clients that I have treated have made significant gains in increasing their ability to enter a relaxed, attentive state. Often, neurofeedback can lessen or reduce the need for medication. Of course, in any case where a client or parent is considering a medication change, a physician or other medical professional should be consulted.
Eric Leever, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC
1555 NW Saint Lucie West Blvd
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
772 284 6030