ADDitude's top ADD/ADHD experts answer readers' questions about parenting children with, and about adults living with, ADD/ADHD.

posted: Tuesday June 17th - 9:23am

Does CBT Help Kids?

Does cognitive behavior therapy help kids and adults manage ADHD symptoms? I've been thinking of starting CBT for my 12-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with the condition.

There is little evidence that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is helpful for young children with ADHD, but it may be effective for adolescents. CBT works best for ADHD adults; in some cases, it is as effective as medication. CBT works especially well in tamping down anxiety. If your daughter seems anxious, as do many children with ADHD, this would be an additional reason to consider CBT. In...
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posted: Wednesday June 11th - 2:42pm

Does Homeopathy Help With ADHD Symptoms?

Several parents I know are using homeopathy to manage their child's ADHD symptoms. What is it and does it work?

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that uses very high dilutions of common substances to cure disease. There have been three randomized studies on the effects of homeopathy on ADHD. Of those, one didn't include enough subjects. Of the other two studies, one seemed to show that homeopathy was effective for ADHD, while the other did not. At this point, there isn't good evidence that homeopathy is...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 1:28am

Generic Concerta Is Not Created Equal

I've been taking a generic form of Concerta, and it isn't working as well as the brand-name formulation. What should I do?

Many patients and physicians have noticed that the new generic formulations of Concerta are not working as well, or as long as, the original brand-name Concerta. It turns out that the FDA allows any generic methylphenidate extended-release medication that comes in the same dose sizes as brand-name Concerta to be dispensed like the brand-name medication. There are four generics that fall into this category, all of...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 1:20am

Should I Try Smart Pills for My ADHD?

Nootropics are substances that enhance cognition and memory, and facilitate learning. They are also known as “smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers.” These can take the form of pharmaceutical medications, nutritional supplements, or herbs. Psychostimulants, like Ritalin, are nootropics that help with ADHD symptoms. The effects of other nootropics are much less predictable. The web advertises smart supplements that claim to be...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 12:49am

Am I Protected on the Job If I Tell My Boss?

I am an adult who has trouble finishing assignments at work. I have thought about asking for accommodations to help me do a better job, but I don't want to reveal that I have ADHD. Does the law protect me from discrimination if I tell my boss I have the condition?

Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal civil rights law, prohibits discrimination against individuals with "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." Included in "major life activities" are "concentrating, thinking ... and working." Your employer is required to provide you with "reasonable accommodations" to enable you to do your job despite your ADHD, but there are several caveats: You...
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posted: Thursday June 5th - 12:29am

ADHD or ADD — Which Is It?

Some of my friends in a local support group say that they have been diagnosed with ADD, not ADHD. Is there a difference?

No. ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — applies to both the syndrome of disruptive or hyperactive behavior, as well as the syndrome that does not include hyperactivity. The latter is characterized by wandering attention, with no hyperactivity whatsoever. The first is called ADHD, combined subtype (inattention combined with disruptive behavior), and the second is called ADHD, primarily inattentive (daydreamy but not hyperactive). The term ADHD itself...
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posted: Thursday May 8th - 2:05pm

My Husband's Symptoms Have Changed

My husband, 41, has ADD. His short-term memory problems are getting to me. I will tell him what happened at work, and later he will ask me, "How was work?" I tell him calmly that I already mentioned that, but he gets agitated with me. He has also developed severe mood swings and has become quite selfish, neither of which he exhibited before.

Short-term memory problems are common with ADHD, but if they suddenly worsen, it would be prudent to have them checked out. If the memory problems have been the same all along, it's important to understand that it's not his fault. There are ways to deal with it. When you talk with him, make sure you have his full attention. Many times, poor short-term memory is due...
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posted: Thursday May 8th - 1:33pm

Embarrassed by the Teacher

My daughter's teacher embarrasses her when she is slow in answering a question or when she gets something wrong. Can I prevent this from happening by putting my objection to it into her IEP? Or is an IEP just for academic challenges?

An IEP is not just for academic challenges. It can address emotional or social issues, as well. A teacher should never embarrass a child. Before bringing this matter up to the IEP team, speak to the teacher and explain your concerns. If you have already done so, or you believe the teacher may retaliate by making things more difficult for your child, raise the problem with...
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posted: Monday May 5th - 2:29pm

Testing for Iron and Zinc

How do I go about getting my son's zinc and iron levels tested?

Checking your child's levels of zinc and iron is easy. Ask your doctor to order a zinc level and a serum ferritin (iron) test. Several research studies have shown that correcting an iron or a zinc deficiency can improve ADHD symptoms. I usually recommend using supplements, but you can also increase his consumption of iron- and zinc-rich foods. Foods high in iron include chicken, beef, fish,...
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posted: Monday April 14th - 10:18am

Multiple Medications for Your Child: What You Need to Know

Know when you should be concerned about the care your child is getting.

Making decisions about medication for a child with emotional or behavioral problems can be daunting and fraught with worry, especially when more than one medication is involved. Studies show that the number of children taking several psychoactive medications is soaring. Here are some guidelines to help you understand why your doctor might recommend multiple medications for your child, and whether you should have concerns about this...
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