If a person is unable to focus on tasks, struggles with following directions, has a hard time controlling outbursts, and/or acts impulsively, then they may be experiencing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/Learning Disabilities. This disorder affects adults and children, and its prevalence has been on a steady rise for many years - yet, it remains one of the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and incorrectly treated disorders. Nelmar Health Centers can help you truly understand your ADHD/Learning Disability and learn how to properly manage its symptoms in order to live a happy and successful life.
Symptoms of ADHD/Learning Disabilities
In children, ADHD/Learning Disabilities can cause difficulties in concentration and inability to follow directions or behave appropriately in a school setting. This often results in poor grades, discipline issues, and negatively impacts social interactions with other children. In adults, ADHD/Learning Disabilities may result in a shortened attention span for everyday tasks such as chores, distractibility, procrastination, organization problems, problems with follow-through, and/or impulse control issues.
Diagnosing of ADHD/Learning Disabilities
At present, many children have been wrongfully diagnosed with ADHD. According to new research by Michigan State University, nearly one million children potentially are misdiagnosed with ADHD. This fact is quite unacceptable, especially considering that many of these children take some form of medication. Unfortunately, ADHD became the disorder that many professionals assigned to children and teenagers without performing any form of diagnostic evaluation. Others administer an evaluation without proper tests or appropriate training to assess this diagnosis. If a child is not paying attention, it does not necessarily mean that they have ADHD, a neurological disorder. Inattentiveness may have many other causes. The same is happening with learning disabilities. Some children never receive the necessary and appropriate testing that would show the exact problem of their learning difficulties.
At Nelmar Centers, we approach the diagnostic process with extreme dedication and determination. No improvement of symptoms and conditions may be achieved without establishing the root causes of the issues. Diagnosing ADHD/Learning Disabilities involves a combination of various assessments and observations and a collection of information from multiple sources, such as schools, parents, partners, coworkers, etc. A thorough neuropsychological assessment can help us correctly identify and understand the various factors behind the clinical and behavioral presentations. We also use a qEEG brain scan as a supplemental measure to examine the areas of the brain that are functionally out of balance. Understanding the underlying physiology helps us establish the factors contributing to the clinical and behavioral problems and design the most appropriate treatment.
Because ADHD/Learning Disabilities can affect each person differently, the brain scan allows us to understand each person’s presentation fully. In addition, we conduct a whole-body diagnostic assessment that looks at a client’s nutrition and lifestyle habits, medications they are taking, as well as a thorough review of family and medical history.
Treatment of ADHD/Learning Disabilities
For many years, the go-to treatment for ADHD/Learning Disabilities in children and adults has been prescribing medication. This normalization of the overuse of psychotropic drugs has resulted in people being subjected to stimulants for significant periods of their lives. Ultimately, the long-term effects of stimulants on children at this early developmental stage are unknown. "It is unclear whether treatment of ADHD with amphetamine-like stimulant medications for extended periods during child development can carry negative consequences, as manifested by an increase in the use of illicit drugs, higher incidence of mania, psychosis, or other manifestations of psychopathology" (Vitello, 2010). In fact, recently, some of the long-term effects on these medications were reported, including heart disease, high blood pressure, seizure, irregular heartbeat, abuse and addiction, skin discoloration, and psychiatric problems such as aggression, hostility, and symptoms of bipolar disorder (WebMD, 2019). Some studies also indicate cases of stimulant-induced psychosis due to long-term use (Berman, Kuczenski, McCracken, 2008). Finally, in most cases, the effect of these medications dissipates after two years of use for most individuals, which is more likely related to the development tolerance to the drug. Significantly, we cannot omit to mention that it is well-known that "the pharmaceutical industry influences physician decision making by providing resources and information surrounding behavior management with stimulants," which leads to "overdiagnosis and stimulant prescription as a means to medicalizing child behavior" (Ford-Jones, 2015, p.201).
For these reasons, at Nelmar Health Centers, we are committed to holistically addressing ADHD/Learning disabilities without using medications. Treatment plans include sessions with our licensed mental health counselors. They use various treatment modalities to increase psychoeducation and develop skills and behavioral strategies to enhance children's and adolescents' abilities to navigate their environment and school and work responsibility with ease and self-satisfaction. Family counseling plays a significant part in this process. A very important modality of the treatment plan is neurofeedback. We work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing and foster new neuro connections. In addition, our holistic health practitioner will educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased symptoms and make recommendations for dietary and lifestyle changes to complete the body and mind cycle, and support your efforts toward achieving your goals.
Moreover, our ADHD/Learning Disability informed yoga and meditation experts will help children and adolescents get in touch with their bodies and the inner world to foster physical fitness, self-confidence, and self-awareness. In addition, practicing yoga and meditation in a group format along with group therapy increases children's ability to socialize more efficiently, accept their weaknesses, recognize their strengths, and find friends who understand their struggles and appreciate their progress.
In addition, consultation and follow-up sessions with our holistic health practitioner and exercise expert are an integral part of the treatment. Changes in food and lifestyle and introduction to herbal supplements can make a huge difference in reducing inflammatory processes in the brain and the body and help improve the overall well-being and quality of life.
Finally, at Nelmar Health Centers, while undergoing treatment, each client receives continued qEEg and cognitive testing to monitor progress and provide psychoeducation to ensure that they understand where they are in their healing at every step of the treatment process.
For children and adolescents that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).