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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, neurological disorder. ADHD is characterized by three main symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further describes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as an inability to control impulsive behaviors, difficulty focusing and/ or paying attention, and/ or being overly active. The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology published findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health that estimated 6.1 million children between the ages of 2 to 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD in America.

Strategies For Supporting Children In Therapy

Although the work that is required by a young person to effectively navigate the treatment process from ADHD is largely shouldered by the child, there are simple strategies that you can encourage to support the recovery process, such as: 

  • Urge your child to take care of his or her body: Engaging in healthful habits and physically taking care of one’s body can improve mental health. To help get them started offer suggestions like:
    • Eat nutritiously: Studies show that what, and when, you eat makes a difference when it comes to managing ADHD, so it can be helpful for your child to:
  • Have set eating times: Schedule regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart.
  • Maintain a varied and balanced diet: Proper nutrition includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water: Water is essential for survival, particularly because it makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. Water lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy. Experts recommend drinking a minimum of 64 oz of water, daily.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is a fundamental necessity of life, and ample sleep can lead to vast improvement in the symptoms of ADHD. Help your child promote positive sleeping habits by:
    • Sticking to a regular schedule: Develop consistent sleep patterns by having a set bedtime and following it every day.
    • Creating a peaceful sleeping environment: Research has found that the body naturally produces certain chemicals to help increase feelings of calmness and relaxation. When serotonin, known as the “feel-good” hormone, is released in a comfortable and/ or dark environment it is converted into melatonin. 
  • Keep physically active: Exercising can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain, boosting one’s mood. A major study found that physical activity spurs the release of proteins that cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections, which improves brain function and subsequently enhances mental health.
  • Explore different de-stressing techniques with your child: Try different relaxation exercises to quiet your mind, like yoga or meditation. Research has found that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve insomnia, and more, all of which can be helpful in minimizing ADHD symptoms.
  • Provide positive feedback and encouragement: Praise specific positive behaviors, and offer rewards for good behavior, especially for younger children. 

There are many treatment options, both formal and informal, available that can help young people learn applicable strategies, techniques, and tools to effectively cope with and navigate the symptoms of ADHD.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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