The A.D.D. Nutrition Solution: Book Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the book: The A.D.D. Nutrition Solution: A Drug-Free 30-Day Plan by Marcia Zimmerman, C.N.
Published by Owl Books/Henry Holt and Co.; 0-8050-6128-2; $15.00US; Jun. 99
Available for purchase online at

Chapter 1: Do I or My Child Have An Attention Deficit Disorder

What are attention deficits exactly and how do you know if you are suffering from them? These are the first questions we must address before discussing treatment of ADD. To do so, let's take a quick look at the history of this condition and the evolution of its definition and diagnosis.

Attention deficits have evolved over the years in the terminology used and the classification of the symptoms. The latest revisions to the disorders are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, or DSM IV. Currently all attention deficits are grouped under the designation AD/HD or attention deficit/hyperactive disorder. Two main categories of AD/HD are defined, AD/HD predominantly inattentive and AD/HD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. A third category is considered, AD/HD-combined, that is, a combination of inattentive and hyperactive or impulsive types. For all three types, the condition must have persisted for at least six months, and have occurred before the age of seven, in order to be identified as a true attention deficit disorder. The adult condition is diagnosed by examining childhood history, interviewing parents and others who knew the individual as a child, plus evaluating the adult symptoms.



AD/HD-inattentive describes the child or adult who has trouble paying attention, completing assignments, frequently daydreams, and is easily distracted. This classification has replaced the older term "ADD," although most professionals still call the condition ADD.

Many AD/HD-inattentive children are quick learners and are easily bored. They need fast-paced activities to keep them engaged. Others with attention problems respond well to a structured environment both at home and at school. We can assist these children with learning by providing more structure so they are comfortable and know what to expect.

AD/HD Behaviors
Difficulty Organizing Tasks--Can't Get Started Talks Too Much
Mental Restlessness--Constant Brain Chatter Difficulty Doing Tasks Alone
Easily Distracted--Attention Easily Diverted Physical Restlessness--Finger Tapping, Leg Restlessness
Difficulty Completing Tasks Engages in Physically Daring Activities
Shifts from One Task to Another Always on the Go, As If Driven by a Motor
Difficulty Sustaining Attention--Can't Focus Impulsive
Doesn't Appear to Listen to Others Often Interrupts Others
Constantly Loses Possessions Impatient
Forgets Easily--Can't Remember "To Do's" Unpredictable Behavior
Trouble Keeping Track of Events--Sequence Hot and Explosive Temper
(adapted from DSM IV criteria)

Adults with the inattentive type of AD/HD function best when they resist the tendency to procrastinate, which is one of their worst problems. Being extremely forgetful, absentminded, and unorganized are other characteristics of the adult disorder. Many adults have learned to overcome these problems by instituting structured procedures into everything they do. They often find they accomplish most when they work from detailed to-do lists, and counteract forgetfulness with procedures such as designating a specific place to store keys when not in use. They often choose professions that require quick decision making and physical activity over those that require intense concentration for long periods of time. Others develop a technique known as "hyperfocus" that allows them to shut out all distractions around them in order to accomplish tasks.

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