First: Are US Kids Worse Off?
11% of US children have an ADHD diagnosis. In France, the prevalence of an ADHD diagnosis is 0.5%. Part of this spread has to do with the US health care system's practice of readily pathologizing children's behaviors. Many behaviors may just be normal developmental variations or reflect behaviors brought on by stress, trauma, learning style issues, chaotic family situations, inadequate educational environments, or suboptimal lifestyle practices.
Kids Are Not to Blame
There are many reasons for the difference in ADHD rates between kids in the US and France. One key reason has to do with the US mental health care system.
Over the past few decades, psychiatry has become more biologically-based causing pharmaceutical companies and the field of psychiatry to focus almost exclusively on the "neurotransmitter deficiency model" of mental illness. For example, biologically based studies on ADHD...
Many families are looking for more natural options to manage ADHD and attention issues (e.g., distractibility, impulsive behavior, disruptive behavior, restlessness, and hyperactivity). ATTEND is a pneumonic device to remember the six key strategies to consider.
Some studies suggest that ADHD symptoms may represent a dysregulation of the internal 24-hour clock (aka circadian rhythm), which controls the balance of alertness and drowsiness of our brain throughout the day and night. Over 55% of people with ADHD have sleep disturbances. Sleep is foundational for good attention and emotional regulation. Be sure to receive the appropriate amount of sleep each night. For example, kids and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
Mind-body skills can be very...
Just like adults, children and teenagers benefit from being informed and empowered so that they can participate in important decisions regarding their health and wellness. The team here at Natural Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing “health literacy” for our readers, by providing up-to-date information that supports the development of self-care and self-regulation skills for all ages.
Health literacy is set of skills people use to realize their potential in health situations. They apply these skills either to make sense of health information and services or provide health information and services to others. Anyone who needs health information and services also needs health literacy skills.
One way in which children and teenagers can enrich their health literacy is to read age-appropriate books that are both...
By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.
Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.
I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...
The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...
By Anastasia Sullwold Ristau, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Clinical Supervisor of all youth Intensive Outpatient Programs within PrairieCare Medical Group
This time of year is one transition after another. Changing from summer to school schedules requires big transitions with sleep, meals, and even how we organize our days or brains. Transitions are change, and more often than not, change is HARD.
And change is inevitable and unavoidable.
I’m challenging myself and all of you, dear readers, to face these times of change like a boss. That means a mental framework that allows us to keep our eyes on the bigger picture; to embrace all that comes with both the knowns and unknowns rampant in times of transition. Let's trust that internally we have more mastery and ownership over this parenting thing than we might believe in the moment.
We’ve got this!
To help us move more smoothly from summer to school, we can use the 5 Square Prepare ...
I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies.
A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:
Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.
No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits.
Some of the...
Many of the same brain regions that regulate sleep and arousal also control attention. You've likely felt that firsthand when trying to focus on a task after a rough night of [no] sleep. It's a losing battle.
The relationship between ADHD and sleep is becoming more clear as new research has identified that:
Though not always done in usual care, it's vital that sleep issues are explored in any child, teen, or adult with complaints of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. If you're a patient or parent who can relate, don't be shy to bring up the topic of sleep with your...
Did your parents used to tell you, “Do as I say, not as I do”?
That wasn’t a very effective strategy then, and it still isn’t. Like it or not, kids are far more likely to do as we do.
So, if you bemoan how kids seem to have a phone or other device as one of their appendages, look in the mirror before threatening dire consequences if they don’t “put that thing down right now!”
Disclaimer: I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m pointing a finger at you. Truth is, when I point at you, my other fingers point back at me! I’m a grandma of five kids, ages 10 – 14, with whom I spend a lot of time. I also have a pretty close relationship with my electronic devices. I’ve had to work at this technology balance too!
There are two important questions to ask yourself while looking in the mirror:
Erin is a nurse practitioner dual certified in family practice and women’s health and currently sees patients at Minnesota Personalized Medicine. She is also Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Mom Enough®, an evidence-based parenting blog.
If you can relate, know that you're not alone. Also know that in spite of what might feel like a futile effort, the time spent on meals is well worth it.
Before I dive into the strategies of making family meals happen, I’d like to invite you to join my family for dinner. The five of us sit on little stools, squished around a too-small table in a too-small kitchen not made for “eating in.”
My oldest son stands over his food, adding...
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