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ADHD FAQ’s from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common childhood illness. People who are affected can have trouble with paying attention, sitting still and controlling their impulses. There are three types of ADHD. The most common type of ADHD is when people have difficulties with both attention and hyperactivity. This is called ADHD combined type. Some people only have difficulty with attention and organization. This is ADHD inattentive subtype or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Other people have only the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. This is ADHD hyperactive subtype.

It is a health condition involving biologically active substances in the brain. Studies show that ADHD may affect certain areas of the brain that allow us to solve problems, plan ahead, understand others’ actions, and control our impulses.

Many children and adults are easily distracted at times or have trouble finishing tasks. If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it is important to have your child evaluated by his or her doctor. In order for your child’s doctor to diagnose your child with ADHD, the behaviors must appear before age 12 and continue for at least six months. The symptoms must also create impairment in at least two areas of the child’s life-in the classroom, on the playground, at home, in the community, or in social settings. Many children have difficulties with their attention but attention problems are not always cue to ADHD. For example, stressful life events and other childhood conditions such as problems with schoolwork caused by a learning disability or anxiety and depression can interfere with attention.

Full list of FAQ’s available at AACAP.org

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Signs & Symptoms of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often a long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions), and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:

  • Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
  • Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds.

Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.

If you think you have OCD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.

Originally written by and more information at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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National Suicide Prevention Week

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK

THE POWER OF CONNECTION

September 9 – 15, 2018

From the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention:

Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another. We can all play a role through the power of connection by having real conversations about mental health with people in everyday moments – whether it’s with those closest to us, or the coffee barista, parking lot attendant, or the grocery store clerk.

It’s also about the connection we each have to the cause, whether you’re a teacher, a physician, a mother, a neighbor, a veteran, or a suicide loss survivor or attempt survivor. We don’t always know who is struggling, but we do know that one conversation could save a life.

More info and Sept events available at ASFP.ORG

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Back to school anxiety / School refusal

While most kids can’t wait to show off their new wardrobe and school supplies, the thought of actually going back to school— or starting school for the first time— can cause some children to feel anxious to the point of refusing to go to school.

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