Thursday, May 30, 2013


I recently posted a guest post on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) & ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Upon posting the article I decided to share my own struggles with ADHD in my household. I have two children with moderate and severe ADHD. My oldest was diagnosed in Kindergarten and my youngest will be going through the evaluation in August but I already know what is going to be determined because I've already been through it.

I knew when my daughter was 3 that there was something very off with her behavior. I know, every child goes through the "terrible twos" but this was different. From birth she was a very hyper stimulated child and had severe colic when she was an infant. The tantrums continued into toddler years and progressively got worse, horrific and constant. They often ended with both of us in tears and me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. When she was 3 I reached out to the local Area Education Agency to have her evaluated and they deemed her "spirited" and handed me a book about time outs. Really?! You don't think I tried that? It wasn't until she was 5 and in Kindergarten causing major problems in the classroom that they were finally saying what I knew all along- she had ADHD and needed medication.

A lot of people knock the ADHD diagnosis and parents who medicate. They're usually the people whose children don't have ADHD. They don't realize that it doesn't just affect the child who has it, but it affects the entire family, and it affects other people's children in the classroom. When a child with ADHD is present everything tends to be very chaotic and disruptive and usually the teacher has to spend a great deal of time trying to wrangle that one child under control every day, all day.

Medicating my daughter was a tough decision but one I don't regret at all. She's now 13 and flourishing in school, she was on A/B honor roll the last two years! The medication works so well that I can tell within 5 minutes of being around her whether she has taken her pill or not. It's like night and day difference.

My youngest's story is very similar but his is more severe than my daughter's was. We knew about the age of 18 months that there was a problem. We actually had him evaluated for Autism and other spectrum disorders because of his behavior. While we don't have a definite diagnosis yet, I know that it will be ADHD.

Being a mom to two children with ADHD isn't easy and there are a lot of stigmas that you have to fight between the schools, other parents, and usually anyone with an opinion. The key to keeping your sanity and helping your child is finding a really good doctor and being open and honest with teachers and other parents. People seem to be less cruel and more understanding when you tell them what the issues are and that you want to be informed of any concerns immediately.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Post: The Difference between ADD and ADHD by Valerie Johnston

The Difference between ADD and ADHD

Years ago, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were lumped together into one condition. More recently, society has begun to recognize clear distinctions between the conditions, and, in fact, there are scientific bases for the differences between ADD and ADHD in individuals’ minds. Both can be extremely challenging for both the individual struggling with it and caretakers, teachers, coworkers, and friends, but the conditions come with distinct implications that separate
them from each other.

What Is ADD?

ADD used to be the term that was used to describe all individuals with inattentive behavior. Today, the term is more limited in its implications. Individuals with ADD struggle to pay attention to one thing for a long period of time. ADD can manifest itself in a number of forms, including fear, anxiety, procrastination, mental confusion, and the appearance of daydreaming. ADD occurs because of excessive levels of activity in certain parts of the brain. Individuals with this condition tend to focus on everything around them, making it very difficult for them to focus on one thing, specifically.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD involves a similar level of distraction, but the manifestation of this condition is slightly different in that the individual tends to be constantly on the move. Individuals with ADHD are more impulsive, tending to speak and act before they think. ADHD (like ADD) varies in the extent of its effects, but in general, people with ADHD tend to fidget and move constantly, in addition to talking excessively. In addition, because there is little self-talk, those with ADHD have difficulty regulating themselves and wind up acting inappropriately or out of turn.

Scientific Basis for ADD and ADHD

Rather than being a scientific way to describe a certain brand of “kids being kids,” ADD and ADHD actually develop from very real neurological conditions. To understand the science behind these conditions, it is first important to understand the role that each part of the brain plays. The parietal part of the brain is in charge of
processing information collected by the senses. The frontal lobe of the brain, meanwhile helps to organize information that comes in. These are the areas that are affected in cases of ADD and ADHD. (Two other sections—the occipital and temporal parts—are unaffected by these conditions.)In cases of ADD, the parietal part of the brain is the only section of the brain that contains abnormal amounts of activity. That means that while the frontal lobe functions normally (thereby integrating information effectively), the individual struggles in processing information that comes into the brain. In other words, they are able to put information to use, but they have difficulty sorting and processing it. Those with ADHD tend to have abnormal activity in both the parietal and frontal areas of the brain. This results in issues with both information collection and integration of material into everyday activity. The deficiency of activity that exists in the frontal lobe is directly related to low levels of two important neurotransmitters—dopamine and norepinephrine. The deficiencies, combined with low levels of serotonin, result in problems with arousal, alertness, and impulsive behavior.

Differences in Behavior

Because the conditions are chemically different, they manifest in a variety of different ways. Still, there also appear to be some similarities in the ultimate appearance of these conditions. On a basic level, easy distraction is the main problem for those with ADD. For those with ADHD, hyperactivity and difficulty in processing information are both major issues. The two conditions appear to intersect when it comes to the appearance of restlessness, but this comes about as the result of very different reasons: For those with ADD,
restlessness comes from anxiety, whereas those with ADHD are restless because of excessive motor activity.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on ll of the latest health and fitness news.