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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 10:23
How to cope

Sandra is a successful, capable and well-adjusted individual, except for one fact: she is 35 and living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.
Considered one of the most common childhood neurological disorders, ADHD is no longer seen as an affliction of the young alone. It is classified as a heterogeneous behavioural disorder of an uncertain cause that becomes evident before the age of seven, typically persisting through adolescence, and for some, into adulthood. Unfortunately, as chil;dhood ADD and ADHD have only become fully recognised over the last 10 to 15 years, even less is currently known (or accepted) about adult ADHD.
According to adultadhd.net, close to 60% of children will carry their ADHD characteristics into adulthood, where they now need to adapt to a different set of pressures and responsibilities. The symptoms change according to the lifestyle and preferences that come with adult living. Relationships, employment, everyday tasks and even spending time with friends can be affected in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.
Carina van Vuuren, educational psychologist at ADHASA (The ADHD Association of South Africa), explains that it affects between 4% and 7% of adults globally. Some experts believe that as many as one in 10 adults living in South Africa display ADHD tendencies, which is on a par with the global trend. However, the symptoms in adults differ from those of children. Adults are less likely to experience hyperactivity. Instead they are more likely to feel restless, be constantly fidgeting and have difficulty in switching off their minds or relaxing completely. This difference in symptoms is one of the reasons why adult ADHD has only recently been recognised as a condition.
More often than not, adults who are displaying symptoms now, went undiagnosed as children. "Those with undiagnosed ADHD may suffer from self-esteem issues. They are at more risk for drug abuse, job and relationship failure and may be huge risk-takers or adrenalin seekers," adds Van Vuuren.
But there are many positives as well, such as those with ADD or ADHD being highly creative individuals. Once they find their creative outlet they can become highly successful. According to Jacqueline Sinfield, author of ‘Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with Attention Deficit Disorder’, healthy eating is a great way to minimise the negative effects of ADHD. "It has been proven that there is a direct link between the food you consume and the effectiveness of how your brain operates. As ADHD is neurological in nature, if your brain receives all the nutrients it requires, it repays you by functioning at its peak," adds Sinfield.
Fedhealth experts reveal that those who battle with concentration and may have ADHD tendencies will benefit from a daily diet that is: rich in high quality protein; contains a healthy amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat; includes complex carbohydrates; is low in saturated and trans fats; and contains lots of fresh water.
Notes Peter Jordan, Principal Officer at Fedhealth, “Those with ADHD should make it their goal to give their brain a constant supply of protein and reduce artificial ingredients. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an important supplement to consider adding to their diet, because they increase neurotransmitters. One of the key neurotransmitters for an adult with ADHD is dopamine. When dopamine levels are reduced so is the attention span. By increasing the Omega-3 intake, those with ADHD can increase their attention capacity.”
For support groups in your area, or to find out more about adult ADHD, visit www.adhasa.co.za or email info@ADHASA.co.za.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:26.5 1st May, 2013
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