Attention disorders such as ADD and ADHD may be treated by medications such as Vyvanse and Ritalin. There are also alternative treatments, such as chiropractic care.
What are Attention Disorders?
Inattentive ADHD (formerly Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affect children, and they can even persist for some adults. Combined ADHD is the most common form, and it includes hyperactivity and impulsivity with inattentiveness. Inattentive ADHD has features of impaired concentration and attention. There is a third subtype, hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, which demonstrates hyperactivity, but without the inattentiveness. In order to be diagnosed, symptoms must have an onset before age seven, they must appear in multiple settings (such as work, school, and home), and they need to cause impairment. Some of the inattention symptoms include difficulty paying attention to details, careless work, being “easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli”, difficulty finishing work, procrastination, disorganization, and not paying attention to others in social settings. The hyperactivity features may include inappropriate running, climbing, or restlessness, fidgeting, excessive talking, difficulty with quiet activity, and “always being ‘on the go’”.1
Vyvanse and Ritalin
Ritalin (hydrochloride methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a common medication prescribed for attention disorders. It is a stimulant. Some people may have serious side effects from taking Ritalin, such as bruising, uneven or pounding heartbeats, fever, headache, rash, hallucinations, tics, or restlessness.2 Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a newer stimulant medication for children, teens, and adults that is prescribed to help control symptoms. It also has potential side effects, including heart-related problems, mental health issues, and circulation difficulties.3 One of the newer problems associated with these types of prescriptions, and medications like Adderall and Concerta, is the illegal sale of the stimulants. Some people purchase these medications illegally as a study aid, for example, but they are “amphetamine-based (and) habit-forming”. They increase dopamine in the brain and “target the brain’s reward center”.4
Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment for attention disorders. Chiropractors treat patients without medications and target the problems themselves, not only the symptoms. Chiropractors and chiropractic neurologists can place patients on individualized treatment programs, with most of the therapies able to be practiced at home. Patients can be given certain activities or exercises to help them with their organization and coordination, such as “learn(ing) to clap or tap to the metronome, (or) perform spinning and balancing exercises”. Chiropractors may also encourage dietary changes, such as organic foods, removing food dyes and preservatives, avoiding medications and pesticides, and taking precautions during pregnancy, such as avoiding nicotine and alcohol.5
Find out more about ADD, ADHD, and chiropractic care.