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ADD... Meds, or other treatments

answered 08:29 AM EST, Thu April 25, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
I have ADD. I am 16. I was tested by a psychiatrist last year. I have a prescription for ritalin and I am supposed to take it before breakfast and lunch. I have been using it for almost a year. I don’t think it helps me at all. Does this mean I don’t have ADD? Does taking this medicine harm my brain if I don’t have ADD? My parents say I should take it but I am not sure.

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

Great question... just because Ritalin doesn't work for you, it doesn't mean you don't have ADD... There are many facets to ADD and therefore many ways to address the symptoms.  If you find that Ritalin isn't working for you, there are other options as far as medications go that can be helpful.  Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right medication for you based on how your body responds.

Alternatively, you can explore other treatment modalities that are helpful, beneficial and effective in treating ADD

1. Neurofeedback: shown to be very helpful in increasing focus, attention span, reducing agitation, etc.

2. Meditation: Increases your abilities to be relaxed, calm, centered, focused and relaxed.

3. Biofeedback... teaches you internal control strategies and helps you to learn how to monitor your own reactions and responses to situations that trigger certain ADD behaviors. 

4. Nutritional counseling Often many symptoms of ADD have roots in nutrition and food choices.  Definitely worth looking into to see how you may be reacting/allergic to certain foods that can trigger ADD symptoms and behaviors.

5. Organization and time management strategies... it's always beneficial to change certain behaviors that keep you stuck in sabotaging behaviors so that you can confidently move forward... these are new coping skills so that your ADD doesn't control your life.

The advantage of neurofeedback over the other modalities is that you show up for sessions and do not have to "practice" anything in between sessions.  Since both meditation and biofeedback require ongoing practice (and they are definitely worthwhile practices) and it may not be something you are ready for, neurofeedback provides an internal shift during the sessions that are cumulative.  You simply need to show up regularly for your appointments. Additionally, while organizational counseling with someone who specializes in working with people with ADD  and nutrition counseling(with a nutritionist or naturopath who is experienced in dealing with ADD) is also truly worthwhile you and your parents need to choose what you are willing to participate in that will move you forward in a positive way in your life. 

Please contact me if you have any additional questions.  I can make referrals for professionals in the above areas if you are in NJ, but google, and recommendations from your dr. chiropractor, school counselor will also be helpful resources.  All the best, Loren

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Page last updated Apr 25, 2013

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