Over the decade, coaching has become a popular therapy in the treatment of ADHD. More and people are becoming professional coaches while a number of ADHD coaching schools are opening their doors. But what exactly is ADHD coaching and how does it differ from more traditional therapies?
Based on the coaching model in executive coaching and athletics, ADHD coaching is a present-focused form of ADHD treatment therapy designed to help individuals deal with aspects of their disability that interfere with daily and/or academic or work performance. Unlike psychotherapy, coaching is not intended to help clients work though painful feelings, negative self-talk or self-defeating behaviors. Rather, change is brought about through the coach-like practices of questioning, problem solving, modeling and practicing.1
Behavior treatment has been shown to reduce the symptoms of individuals with ADHD. In a 1998 study of psychosocial treatments for ADHD, researchers showed that behavioral parent training and behavioral interventions in the classroom meet the criteria for well-established treatments.2 A second study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in 1999 further supported the efficacy of behavioral treatments in reducing the symptoms of ADHD.3 Finally, in a review of the evidence of different treatment options, a third study showed that combined with stimulation mediation, behavioral treatments may help individuals with ADHD to function better to the point of lessening their reliance on stimulation medication.4
The efficacy of behavioral treatment relies on the emotional development of both the patient and their caretaker to implement change. Parents who themselves are ADHD may be less successful at administering behavioral treatment than their non-ADHD counterparts. In addition, not all kids respond well to behavioral treatment due to the severity of their problems. In some cases behavioral treatment can be modified although it may have to be abandoned altogether in the case of a child struggling with an associated condition such as autism or bipolar disorder.
Behavioral treatment is the second-most effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Studies show that whereas medication is more effective than therapy in reducing the symptoms of ADHD in children, the two combined are more effective than either one alone in obtaining an optimal response. 1
What is it? Behavioral treatment is a type of psychotherapy based on the concept of replacing undesirable behaviors with desirable ones through positive and/or negative reinforcement.
As stated, movement Movement has been shown to promote calmness and attentiveness in those with seeking ADHD treatment. Mind-body therapies, like yoga, especially seem to be helpful for treating Attention Deficit Disorder. On a purely physical level, the stretching and aerobic aspects of yoga can work and ultimately calm the muscles, while the meditative component can help to quite the mind.
According to acupuncture, life force circulates in the body along 12 major energy pathways called meridians. There are over 1000 acupuncture points within the meridian system that can be stimulated to optimize the flow of the life force or qi.
An trained practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or acupuncturist will typically diagnose the patient by studying a patient's pulse and using other diagnostic tools. Using the meridian system, acupuncture uses special needles placed into acupoints to rebalance the energy on specific meridian pathways. The intended effect is to correct the flow of energy, and restore health and function. Some practitioners use acupuncture for ADHD treatment.
The Hospital for Sick Children in London conducted a study and it was published in Lancet, a leading British journal. The study demonstrated that most children with severe ADHD were salicylate sensitive, but that 90 percent of these children have additional food intolerances. So while many may benefit from the Feingold diet, the majority of children with ADHD they have more than this one food sensitivity and may need to eliminate other food substances as well. The British researchers performed exhaustive dietary trials, closely supervised by hospital dietitians. After determining that 80 percent of the children had apparent food sensitivities that were causing their hyperactivity, they then performed double blind, placebo controlled challenges with the offending foods. Using this most rigorous clinical research method, the investigators confirmed the presence of food intolerance in the majority of children with ADHD.
The foods to which children with ADHD most commonly had allergic reactions were cow's milk (which included milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream), corn (an additive in many prepared foods), wheat, soy and eggs. Altogether, 48 different foods were incriminated as triggers for hyperactivity.
The Feingold Diet, created in the 1960s, came about after a pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, discovered that many of his patients with ADHD exhibited more symptoms after ingesting foods containing high concentrations of salicylates (a food preservative used in toothpaste, among other things).
Twenty-five years ago the National Institute of Mental Health convened a consensus panel which concluded that 8 to 10 percent of children with ADHD are sensitive to salicylates and benefit from the Feingold diet.
Homeopathy is among the most promising therapies in this category. A number of studies suggest that homeopathic remedies are an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Additional therapies include:
Once considered a primary agent in the treatment of depression, tricyclics antidepressants (TCAs) have been found to reduce the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in individuals with ADHD. However, use of TCAs can be risky and should only be used under the strict supervision of a qualified physician.
Types Imipramine and nortriptline are the two type of TCAs most commonly prescribed for ADHD. Imipramine is distributed under the brand name Tofranil whereas nortriptline is distributed under under the brand names Pamelor and Aventil. Desipramine—a third type of TCA distributed under the brand name Norpramin—should only be used as a last resort as its been linked to sudden death syndrome in children.1
Stimulants enhance the speed and fluidity by which messages are passed through the brain’s neural network. They do this by either increasing the release or slowing the reuptake of the brain chemicals used in neurotransmission. The resulting neurotransmitter boost improves a variety of cognitive functions, including the ability to process information, slow down, focus, remember, self-monitor and self-motivate. Stimulants, however, by no means cure ADHD; they only work for as long as they remain in a person’s system. Although stimulant use does not increase intelligence, it can dramatically improve an individual’s academic performance. Stimulants facilitate the communication systems needed for an individual to access their intelligence. This is why so many ADHD dropouts are able to resume their studies once they begin stimulation medication.
One of the benefits of stimulants medication is the speed at which it begins working—immediately. Stimulants are also highly effective. Research shows that stimulants work in 80 percent of individuals with ADHD. Many researchers argue that the benefit of keeping ADHD symptoms at bay outweigh the drawback of possible side effects. Indeed, some researchers believe the “side effects” of untreated ADHD in the form of academic failure, low self-esteem, loneliness, social isolation and depression far outweigh the side effects of stimulant medication. Some kids with ADHD have even been known to be suicidal. “Untreated or inadequately treated ADD syndrome often severely impairs learning, family life, education, work life, social interactions, and driving safely. Most of those with ADD who receive adequate treatment however, function quite well.”4
Stimulants are considered a first-line therapy for ADHD. In 1999, the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study that showed that stimulation medication is the most effective means of reducing the symptoms of ADHD.1
The study is among 200 additional well-controlled studies confirming that stimulation medication as the fastest and most effective treatment against ADHD symptoms.2 That said some studies and anecdotal evidence have questioned its safety and long-term efficacy.
Types of Stimulants
Generally speaking there are two different types of stimulants: methylphenidate and amphetamines. A third type of stimulant—magnesium pemoline (Cylert)—lost its FDA approval due to its high risk of causing individuals to experience liver failure. A list of specific stimulants and their brand names is as follows:
Short- Versus Long-Acting Formulas
Stimulation comes in short-, medium- and long-acting formulas. However, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) recommends starting with the shorter-acting formulas before trying a longer-acting formula. There are several advantages to long-acting formulas:
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