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Wed Jun 1, 2016, 06:54 AM

Lifestyle may be key to improving ADHD in kids...

I think much of what is in this article applies to all kids and possibly all adults.


Lifestyle may be key to improving ADHD in kids

MONDAY, May 30, 2016 -- Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often treated with medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin. But a new study suggests that parents can also help their kids by promoting healthy lifestyle habits.

For the study, researchers looked at 184 children with ADHD and 104 without the disorder. The investigators found that those with ADHD were less likely to adhere to healthy behaviors recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Sleep Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Those guidelines include no more than one to two hours of total screen time a day (TV, computers, video games); at least one hour of physical activity a day; limited intake of sugar-sweetened beverages; getting nine to 11 hours of sleep a night; and drinking seven to 10 cups of water daily, depending on age. The kids in the study were aged 7 to 11.

The findings, published online recently in the Journal of Attention Disorders, suggest that following more of these healthy habits could benefit children with ADHD.

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Reply Lifestyle may be key to improving ADHD in kids... (Original post)
Phentex Jun 2016 OP
Stonepounder Jun 2016 #1
Phentex Jun 2016 #2
zalinda Jun 2016 #3
Phentex Jun 2016 #4

Response to Phentex (Original post)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 08:59 AM

1. I'm reminded of the old question, 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'

I'm sure that the guidelines above are well intentioned and would be helpful. However, trying to enforce them would quite possibly lead to the parents being institutionalized. {snark}

If you tried to tell my 7 yo grandson to turn off his 'screen' after 1-2 hours, the rest of the day would be spent in a screaming meltdown. We can't even get him to come to the table for meals. He would rather raid the kitchen for whatever strikes him at the moment, and woe unto us if we don't happen to have the 'whatever' available. I clearly remember an evening a few weeks ago when he decided he wanted some grapes. We didn't have any. Battle royal between father and son, with son demanding that father go to the store (RIGHT NOW) and get some grapes. Or the screaming, door slamming, shoe throwing episode when the cable went out for a couple of hours and he couldn't play his game on-line.

I know that our son loves our grandson and tries very, very hard to be a good father. He has the patience of a saint, works with the doctors and the school to try and provide the best atmosphere for his son. But trying to adhere to the above guidelines would give us all a nervous breakdown, no matter how 'good' the recommendations are.

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Response to Stonepounder (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 09:48 AM

2. Had we had video games back in the day, I am sure I'd have been addicted...

as it was, I loved arcade games and as soon as friends got an Atari, it's all I wanted to do. My own kids started with Nintendo type handheld things and only one of my boys was very interested. We got a Wii a few years after they were out and that was more his style because of the sports games. Even then, both of them were able to separate and do other things.

I had a nephew completely addicted to the point of real tantrums and tears. It was scary. But he eventually grew up and went to college.

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Response to Phentex (Original post)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 11:25 AM

3. The key to the problem is rules and structure

I have ADD but have only been on meds for the last 8 years or so. There is a big difference in my life, although many would not know it. What I have found out is what triggers my specific problems, and even that took me a while.

One of the big problems is that ADD is usually inherited from one of the parents, who also face the similar problems but have been able to mask the more destructive ones. When you have ADD you have poor impulse control, I didn't realize that until a few years ago. It would have been nice to know before I ran up credit card debt. I also have poor organizational skills, it's not that I don't want to be organized, it that when I run into something that can't be put in a particular slot, I gave up. I did find however that when I found a 'home' for something, it ALWAYS got put back where it belonged. It's the finding it's home that is the problem for me, because it has to make sense.

So, here are my recommendations:

Make a rigid schedule, then there are no decisions that have to be made.
If a decision has to be made, by a child, give no more than 3 choices.
Use timers for video games, even if you have to put a timer on the device itself.
Never put up with a tantrum, the child must know what 'punishment' will be forthcoming in that event.
Let the choice of 'punishment' be up to the child, remember only 3 choices.
Make sure that you have places for things, it will encourage the child to clean up after themselves.
Never reward for acceptable behavior, only for good and beyond.
Make a list of treats for the child and only have 3 of them at any one time.

I hope you see a pattern. The schedule is so that they know exactly what's coming and what to expect, they don't have to wander around in their head, or race around depending on how they experience their form of ADD. The 3 choices is so they feel like they have SOME control in their lives. Taking an ADD kid to a Baskin Robbins is torture for the ADD kid and the parent. You can even let them pick what the family will have for supper one day a week, again only 3 choices. For some kids, 3 choices may even be too much and you may have to limit it to 2 choices, but they DO need to be able to make choices. Making choices will let the child feel that they have some control and when they are out of parental control they will have to make choices in life.

People with ADD have thoughts traveling through their minds at unbelievable speed. This is why video games can affect them so much. For all the action that is going on, video games have rules, and once those rules are found out, the game goes much smoother. My son used to cry and get so angry at a game that I couldn't understand why he would want to play it. It turns out he was looking for the rules, and when he couldn't find them, he would get frustrated. Of course, if didn't help that he had physical problems that prevented him from always following the rules, but his eyesight and co-ordination got better through the playing of these games.

I didn't understand it at the time, but we all look to find the rules in life. The problem is that with ADD it takes much longer to find them, if we can identify them. Having a life coach for me would probably help me tremendously, but it may be too late for that. For a child, it's the parents job to be the life coach.

For a child that has been out of control, you can't just slam on the brakes and change EVERYTHING in their lives right now. Start slowly and keep adding things. Let's take video games, you could say that they have 1 hour to play their game and set a timer, now let them make the decision, that when the timer goes off, what should happen, should they turn off the game, should the parent turn off the game or should the game be turned off by itself. If they pick themselves, as a parent walk in the room and see what they do, if they don't turn it off, the parent can. The child has already agreed to the rule and if gets angry they should be reminded that they agreed. If it turns out that the video game can't be controlled by a human, put it on a timer so that it will turn off automatically. But, by all means, give the child a chance to follow the rules before you bypass them. Don't overwhelm them with rule changes too fast, they are learning new things just like a baby. Use your judgement on how fast or slow to take it, if the video game rule (or any other rule) sits well with them, go on to the next rule. You are preparing them for living life with a society that does not understand or condone bad behavior.

Oh, and ADD people usually don't like surprises, they like to know what is coming at them so they can figure out how to deal with it. So if you are going to change a rule or schedule, even if it a good thing, let them know as soon as possible so you don't get a bad reaction.

I would never want my ADD to be cured. It really is a gift when controlled. I can think of how to do something in so many different ways, some really wild. I am always ready to take on new things, change doesn't bother me.


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Response to zalinda (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 05:41 PM

4. I relate to much of this...

personally, not with my kids. I don't have poor impulse control when it comes to shopping (because I hate shopping) but I do when it comes to getting all of those racing thoughts out of my head. I tend to interrupt people and I hate it! I have worked hard on that over the years.

As for organization, I HAVE to have a place for things or I'd never find them. I still struggle with organization but once I get in the habit of putting things in a certain spot, I'm okay. I'd be lying if I sad I don't still "misplace" stuff. Worse when I'm on a deadline. I can lose something in the same room in minutes!

As for choices, I have found that I don't care enough to be overwhelmed by choices. People will say "Where do you want to go?" and I can easily suggest something. But if people give me too many choices, I just say anywhere. Because I really mean it. I know some people who will say "Oh, I don't feel like pizza, how about bbq?" and I'll say OK. Then they say "Or we could go to that new cafe on 4th?" OK. I'm thinking JUST PICK SOMETHING because it does not matter to me.

I have lost much of the hyperactivity as I've gotten older but I cannot say I wouldn't want to be cured. A peaceful mind/body all of the time would be heavenly to me.

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