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  Home > ADHD Articles 2000 > January 2000 ADHD Newsletter
Well, we're 15 days into the new millennium….. How are your New Years resolutions going? <grin>

Lots of new and informative things coming our way this year. I am hoping to add a noted author and Dr. in the field of ADHD and ADDults to ADDed Attractions. I will keep you posted on how this is going. Also in the works will be a new mental health community called Here you will find a collection of some of the best sites on the net dealing with many areas of mental health.

I have created a new site on ADHD for this communtiy and you will also find other familiar and respected names in the ADHD community working to provide more information and tools for readers. Ask a Doc, Bulletin Boards, Newsletters, chat, counseling etc, will be available. will be up and running on February 7, 2000. If you would like to be contacted when goes on line, send an email message to .

SHARING: It has always been my belief that one of the best tools we have for learning is sharing. When we share our experiences, our feelings, our victories, our hardships etc, others realize that that they are not alone and it helps to encourage them to keep going. Also, it allows other readers to learn and grow and how to cope and make things better in their own lives. is looking for readers who would like to keep an online journal. Here is some more information and feel free to contact Susan if you are interested! Hello, I'm Susan with, a new community providing mental health information and support which will be coming online in early February.

We are looking for journalists, people who would keep an online diary on our website. We are looking for people who want to share their experiences and knowledge in order to help others and give others an insight into what they are dealing with. We are searching for good writers who are able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly. We are asking that you put your picture up on your journal. And you must be committed to updating your journal at least 3-times a week. This is a very special project and if you are interested I hope you'll send me your name, email address and a brief description of who you are, so we can talk further.

Thank you, Susan

Yet another look into the world of Attention Deficit Disorder
By: Michelle Davis Author "Correcting Learning/Behavioral Disorders Naturally!"

Recently, my mother sent me a variety of articles on children and I was aggravated at the lack of information available to the public about natural alternatives. I'm sure that my mother knew this would inspire yet another article from me to the public to share what I feel desperately needs to be voiced. I, too, am a parent of a child diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Compulsive Behavior, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

From my son's birth I realized within a short amount of time that my child had different needs and fortunately I have a mother who has knowledge beyond her calling. We began to document what foods caused a reaction and also to monitor what dyes did the same. His behaviors were increasingly becoming more extreme and action needed to be taken. Initially, I began with the Time Out and reward/discipline approach but to my dismay the result was virtually the same regardless of action. Fortunately, I realized it was not my poor parental skills but a doctor was needed to verify and consult for further actions to be taken.

My son was diagnosed with the above and started on Ritalin and then progressed to add the Clonidine to help him sleep at night. Jon was on 40 mg of Ritalin and .01 mg of Clonidine. Approximately a year later, another physician recommended that Jon be put up to 70 mg of Ritalin along with the Clonidine. My son was just under fifty pounds and I knew an adult on Ritalin who had the same dosage and was over 200 pounds. My mother had shown me an article of a child seven years of age who was given three different prescriptions and ended up dying from an overdose. This sent a shock through me and from then on I began my search for natural alternatives.

I made several contacts by making myself available to advocate for my son at meetings and by being a speaker on " parent/teacher strategies with a child with disorders" at a high school conference. One contact was a fourth grade teacher who had an Attention Deficit adult son and had been having some success by using herbal drops. Instantly, I felt a bond with her and after speaking with her at length I knew she had credibility.

She was a distributor for a product called E'ola and I purchased the two drops I needed from her plus started on a few vitamins she recommended. It took some time but soon I was seeing results with my son. The only problem was when he went through a growth spurt more of his behaviors came back. I knew that I needed to research more into the herbs listed on the bottles and check out some anti spasmodic herbs for Jon's more aggressive behaviors.

Also, I noticed that on the Pynogemin bottle there were certain vitamins added. Pynogemin I found out was a high potency Vitamin C. I increased the Vitamin C and noticed that I was not getting the same results as with the Pynogemin with the added vitamins. This resulted in additional research into those vitamins and later all vitamins were looked into broken apart and then put back together. Soon I had a credible library about herbs, vitamins, and an abundance of file cabinets loaded with information I sent for or took off the Internet.

I found that the herbal drops were essential to my son's success along with adding a multi vitamin, B complex, Calcium/Magnesium, Gabba, and Vitamin C. Also, in the early stages we included Valerian Root, Kava Kava, and St. John's Wort. My son's sleep disorder was dealt with Melatonin in drops and sometimes a Valerian Root was added till his sleep pattern was broken to develop into a normal sleep time period each evening. Upon achieving a normal sleep pattern it was eventually stopped and only used rarely.

Within three and a half years my son I had re diagnosed and he was delabeled of Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Compulsive Disorder, and showed no Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His Attention Deficit Disorder was greatly improved with showing some attention span problem and some hyperactivity. I was ecstatic to say the least. Now that I've told my condensed version of my story I would like to address the reason of writing this article.

I found much credibility in all the articles that I read even the one's that were pro Ritalin but we need to look into all facets of the options available since each individual is different. For instance, there was in an article a suggestion of misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder and in my book I acknowledge that there are a multitude of reasons for symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. A five year old was found to be hypoglycemic but had similar symptoms until looked into "closer."

Also, there are varying degrees of Attention Deficit Disorder and with some a mild dosage of Ritalin may well probably work but it wouldn't hurt to add a few vitamins into the diet or alter the diet to help further. There is a child that I recently helped that was aggressive at school, stealing, problems at home, and had to be placed into another school. His mother found a hunting knife used to skin animals in one of his pockets that he had stolen from a family member.

I worked with her on his diet, the herbal drop dosages, and she already had a good vitamin regimen that was implemented into the daily routine. She and her son are a success story since his behavior has been modified dramatically by parental interaction, Attention Deficit Coaching from me, her own research, and by committing to helping her son despite interference from those critical of natural alternatives. It is a matrix of alternatives whether natural or through a physician's care that can bring about productive change but it is ultimately the commitment to do all that is in one's power to achieve the success desired.

I have raised my son alone for nine and a half years and everything I've done I would do again to have the wonderful child that I have. Any parent that strives to help their child should be commended but let us all look into "all" the options available and by being open minded to more than one view point without being totally critical. I have much admiration for doctors, nurses, naturalists, and all forms of therapy that can work for an individual. I respect all titles, credentials, and authorities; especially when each is trying to work together.

What has worked for me may or may not work for you but at least look into every facet available to you before closing any doors. I was only able to get the drops through a distributor an not at a natural foods store. Sometimes we need to knock on more than one door. I write an article on Brandi Valentines web site each month and I speak to parents around the world who are all seeking answers and solutions. Let me close with the a wonderful quote from my parents, " Don't ever claim to be a know it all and always take steps to solve any problem." Michelle Davis

The Parent Coach: The Column For Proactive Parents

Dr. Steven Richfield 1/15/00

A parent writes: "The holiday season is a gift bonanza for kids, including mine. But it seems like we have more trouble with behavior problems during this time of the year. Selfishness, lack of appreciation, and jealousy get in the way of good times. What's happening and what should we do?" With all the hype that characterizes the gift giving season, children tend to become narrowly focused upon what they will receive from parents. This building anticipation can lead to an emotional upsurge as "gift lottery" day approaches.

Feelings of disappointment, entitlement, and territoriality, among others, are fueled by the inevitable comparisons and family dynamics between siblings. Once the suspense is lifted, some children become more acutely aware of what possession is missing and may display attitudes that conflict with parents' expectations of appreciation and sharing. Parents are caught off guard by such reactions at this supposedly happy time. After much energy and expense has been invested in the holiday, it is hard to understand and display patience with an unhappy child.

In order to protect the positive spirit and social values surrounding gifts, I suggest that parents make one more holiday investment: coaching emotional and social skills. Here are some ways to start: Prepare your child in advance. Some children enter the holiday season with unrealistic expectations that set them up for disappointment. While parents may want to preserve the sense of surprise inherent in the season, consider how far a fall it is for those kids who develop high hopes of receiving the gift that's not coming. Advance discussion of what items are on the "out-of-reach" gift list coaches children in how to develop realistic parameters for their wishes.

This helps them to flexibly adjust to any circumstance that deviates from their wishes. Expand their perspective of events. Many children are so emotionally pumped up by finally receiving their gifts that they cast aside standard priorities, such as appropriate behavior with family members and friends. I refer to this as "one way relating" or "living in a tunnel of stuff." Parents can point out how children's narrow enjoyment of their new "stuff" can lead them to hurt others with selfish words or rejecting behaviors.

One way to coach the capacity to see the bigger picture is to praise your child when you observe them sharing their new gifts, and also to emphasize how considering others is another way of enjoying their stuff. Coach appreciation. Some parents think of appreciation as a given, not something that a child has to be coached. But in today's conspicuous consumerism, this belief doesn't stand a chance with many children. Many children have become accustomed to receiving the latest symbol of a predatory marketplace, only to be replaced by the next wave that is thrust upon them.

This mania breeds feelings of entitlement, a sense that every other kid's ownership of the latest gadget or collection grants them a license to expect the same. Unfortunately, we parents may fuel this craze without foreseeing the costs. The value of appreciating gifts is one of them. By it's very nature, a gift is often not exactly what a child wants, unlike the experience of receiving something highly desirable.

Parents can coach how sometimes kids get what they want and sometimes they get something else. Either way, somebody is taking the time to do something for them. Children can be encouraged to remember that the other person wasn't trying to disappoint them, but to do something nice. Furthermore, parents can explain that one important part of growing up is showing that they appreciate the efforts that people put into trying to make them happy. (c) Dr. Steven Richfield

Dr. Dave's ADDvice

In my column this month I would like to talk about depression, a type of mood disorders that some times develops in children with ADHD. Before I do, however, I want to invite you to request a useful tool I have developed called the ADHD Monitoring System. This is a program that makes it easy for parents to carefully track how their child is doing at school and to determine when changes to their child's treatment may be necessary. It works especially well with elementary school children.

To request this system, just click on this email link and hit send: If the email link does not work, just send a blank message to There is no charge for this and you will really find it to be useful.

Now, for the information on depression. Several well conducted have shown that children with ADHD are more likely than others to become depressed at some time during their development. In fact, their risk for developing depression is as much as 3 times greater than for other children. Symptoms of Depression Lets begin by reviewing what mental health professionals mean when they talk about depression.

The important point to emphasize is that the clinical diagnosis of depression requires the presence of a collection of different symptoms - just because one is feeling down or depressed does not necessarily mean that the diagnosis of major depression would be appropriate. According to DSM-IV, the publication of the American Psychiatric Association that lists the official diagnostic criteria for all psychiatric disorders, the symptoms of major depression are as follows:

* depressed mood most of the day nearly every day (in children and teens this can be irritable mood rather than depressed);

* loss of interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities;

* significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or a decrease or increase in appetite

* insomnia or hypersomnia (i.e. sleeping too much) nearly every day;

* extreme restlessness or lethargy

* fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day;

* feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt;

* diminished ability to think or concentrate nearly every day;

* recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicidal thoughts;

For the diagnosis of depression to apply, 5 or more of the symptoms listed above need to be present during the same 2 week period (i.e. the symptoms must have persisted for at least 2 weeks), and at least one of the symptoms must be either

1) depressed mood (irritable mood in children can qualify) or

2) loss of interest or pleasure.

In addition, it must be determined that the symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment, are not due to the direct physiological effects of a medication or general medical condition, and are not better accounted for by Bereavement (i.e. loss of a loved one.) As you can see, the important point is that true clinical depression is indicated by a collection of symptoms that persist for a sustained time period, and is clearly more involved that feeling "sad" or "blue" by itself.

Let me also say a few words about depression in children. Research has shown that the core symptoms for depression in children and adolescents are the same as for adults. Certain symptoms appear to be more prominent at different ages, however. As already noted above, in children and teens the predominant mood may be extreme irritability rather than "depressed". In addition, somatic complaints and social withdrawal are especially common in children, and hypersomina (i.e sleeping too much) and psychomotor retardation (i.e. being extremely slow moving are less common).

What does depression look like in a child? What, then, would a "typical" depressed child look like? Although there of course would be wide variations from child to child, such a child might seem to be extremely irritable and/or very sad, and this would represent a distinct change from their typical state.

They might stop participating or getting excited about things they used to enjoy and display a distinct change in eating patterns. You would notice them as being less energetic, they might complain about being unable to sleep well, and they might start referring to themselves in critical and disparaging ways.

It is also quite common for school grades to suffer as their concentration is impaired, as does their energy to devoted to any task. As noted above, this pattern of behavior would persist for at least several weeks, and would appear as a real change in how the child typically is. (It is also important to note, however, that some children can experience a chronic, somewhat less intense type of mood disorder that is called dysthymic disorder.

In this disorder, there is a pervasive and ongoing pattern of depressed mood rather than a more distinct change from the child's typical way of appearing). Depression and Children with ADHD As noted above, children with ADHD appear to be at increased risk for the development of depression.

In addition, it is important to recognize that in some children, the symptoms of depression can be incorrectly diagnosed as reflecting ADHD. That is because diminished concentration, failing to complete tasks, and even agitated behavior that can resemble hyperactive symptoms can often be found in children who are depressed. It is thus quite important to be certain that depression has been ruled out as an explanation for the symptoms of ADHD a child may be displaying.

Having said this, please remember that for many children, ADHD and depression can co-occur - i.e. be present at the same time. Thus, it is not always a matter of ruling out depression to diagnose ADHD, or ruling out ADHD and diagnosing depression. This is because in some situations both diagnoses would be appropriate and is one of the reasons why a careful evaluation by a trained child mental health professional can be so important to have done.

Recent research has suggested that in children with ADHD who are depressed, the depression is not simply the result of demoralization that can result from the day to day struggles that having ADHD can cause. Instead, although such struggles may be an important risk factor that makes the development of depression in children with ADHD more likely, depression in children with ADHD is often a distinct disorder and not merely "demoralization".

The results of one recent study indicated that the strongest predictor of persistent major depression in children with ADHD was interpersonal difficulties (i.e being unable to get along well with peers). In contrast, school difficulty and severity of ADHD symptoms were not associated with persistent major depression. In addition, the marked diminishment of ADHD symptoms did not necessarily predict a corresponding remission of depressive symptoms.

In other words, the course of ADHD symptoms and the course of depressive symptoms in this sample of children appeared to be relatively distinct. Implications Depression in children can be effectively treated with psychological intervention. In fact, the evidence to support the efficacy of psychological interventions for depression in children and adolescents is currently more compelling than the evidence supporting the use of medication.

The important point that can be taken from this study, I think, is that parents need to be sensitive to recognizing the symptoms of depression in their child, and not to simply assume that it is just another facet of their child's ADHD. In addition, if a child with ADHD does develop depression as well, treatments that target the depressive symptoms specifically need to be implemented.

As this study shows, one should not assume that just addressing the difficulties caused by the ADHD symptoms will also alleviate a child's depression. If you have concerns about depression in your child, a thorough evaluation by an experienced child mental health professional is strongly recommended. This can be a difficult diagnosis to correctly make in children, and you really want to be dealing with someone who has extensive experience in this area. David Rabiner, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Duke University
The ADD Clinic
Bob Seay-
ADHD Research Update by Dr. Dave Rabiner Ph.D
Parent Coaching by Dr. Steven Richfield Ph.D Cards
Reed Martin J.D Special Education Law -
Copyright 1999 Brandi Valentine. All rights reserved. This Newsletter is copyrighted by the authors and/or publisher.

ADDed Attractions may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Brandi Valentine.

Appropriate credit should be given to this resource and it's authors if It is reproduced in any form. Brandi Valentine


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