Do you have ADHD? Some signs to watch for

By Victoria Hardina |

Trouble managing life, easily distracted, impulsive, forgetful, always late? Sounds like the perfect cocktail for college kids, right?

But according to St. Augustine Psychologist Dr. Steven Dingfelder, if you have at least six of the nine traits you might actually have Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), which affects five percent of all kids and 8 million adults in the United States.

These traits include being easily distracted, difficulty staying focused, procrastination, poor time management and impulsiveness.

When making a diagnoses, 30 to 50 percent of people have some other contributory issues such as a sleeping disorder, bipolar, learning disabilities or personality disorders, he said.

Dingfelder recently recently held a seminar at Flagler College to discuss ADHD and inform college students about what exactly it is. The first thing he went over was the frontal lobe, which is responsible for memory, impulsiveness and organization among other things. ADHD appears to involve this area of the brain.

Next Dingfelder went over how to treat ADHD. There are many medications available, including stimulants such as Ritalin, Vivance and Concerta, which help regulate impulsive behavior and regulate attention span by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain.

Then there are non stimulants such as Strattera or Intuniv. Strattera increases the amount of norpinephrine, an important brain chemical. This helps with ADHD by increasing attention span and reducing impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Studies show that it reduces distractibility and improves attention, working memory, and impulse control.

Dingfelder gave three suggestions to help with managing ADHD:

– Eat a healthy diet. When doing a study on adults who changed their diet to add more fruits, nuts and whole grain foods, he noticed that 56 percent of them had an increase in concentration due to eating healthy foods.

– Write it down. Dingfelder says that writing things down and making lists are the best way to help you stay focused and organized in your life.

– Make it a clean mess. People with ADHD tend to have more clutter in the areas where they spend most of their time. He says that you don’t necessarily have to clean up all the time, but just organize things so you have one less stressor in your life.

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