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  • Dr. Brandy Ross

Individualizing treatment of ADHD

Three children playing tug of war

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects 8-10% of school aged children and 40-60% of those cases continue into adulthood. The conventional medical community’s answer is a symptom-based approach, usually with medication. Many children do very well on these medications and it can make an enormous difference in their lives. But there is another approach. One that aims to understand each child’s individual biochemistry, genetics, and epigenetics (how behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work).

In ADHD the brain reward circuits are sluggish leading to boredom, impatience, and restlessness. Symptoms usually occur once the demand or ask is greater than what the brain neurochemistry can keep up with. This can result in avoidance (in extreme cases Pathological Demand Avoidance or PDA), spaciness, fidgeting…you get the idea. Untreated ADHD can be debilitating and negatively impact academic achievement, self esteem, relationships, occupational status and job performance, eating habits, and driving skill. Adolescents with untreated ADHD have 3-4 times the rate of substance use disorder vs. medicated adolescents and are 2-4 times more likely to get into a motor vehicle crash.

Non-medication treatment strategies abound on the internet: eliminating food dyes, dairy, or gluten, giving fish oil or other supplements. The problem with this approach is that there is not one approach for all ADHD. Everyone has different genetics and environmental factors that come into play. Treatment needs to be individualized in order to be the most effective. With some initial testing to see how your child’s body is reacting to their environment, we can tailor their treatment plan based on what your child actually needs.

ADHD is a complex condition with various contributing factors. While medication is a common and effective treatment for many individuals with ADHD, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.It's important for you to work closely with your healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your child. This may involve a combination of behavioral interventions, nutritional support, and, in some cases, medication. The goal is to address the unique challenges and strengths of each individual with ADHD.

If you have specific questions or concerns about ADHD or its treatment, schedule with Dr. Brandy who can provide personalized guidance based on a thorough assessment of your child’s needs.

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