Melatonin use in children with a neurodevelopmental illness

Melatonin has been studied in various populations including children, adults, and the elderly.  It has also been studied among individuals with mood disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s dementia, and in children with neurodevelopmental problems. Melatonin has few side effects and is secreted in breast milk. It is not addictive and there is no rebound insomnia associated with it, so it is a good alternative for those suffering from insomnia.

Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin and is produced in the pineal gland, the retina, and the intestinal tract. It is widely used to promote sleep and to regulate circadian rhythms. It is rapidly absorbed and peaks in about 20 to 30 minutes with a half-life of about 40 to 60 minutes, so there is usually no morning grogginess associated with its use. The only major side effect that patients may experience is a headache.

The use of melatonin in children has been debated by medical professionals. It is often used by parents who are frustrated with children who do not want to go to sleep. However, there are children who benefit from taking the supplement including those with ADHD and neurodevelopmental illnesses.

Sleep disorders in children are particularly difficult because both the child and the parent are affected, and neither get the sleep that they need. A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine notes the recent findings of a parents’ perspective study. Interviews were conducted with parents of children with a neurodevelopmental illness. Parents were particularly happy with the ‘naturalness’ of melatonin vs a prescribed sleep aid. Parents did express a desire for practitioners to have a greater knowledge of how to use melatonin in a pediatric population. In Australia, where this study was conducted, parents were concerned about the price and availability of melatonin, as it is a prescription treatment and can be costly. For Americans, it is an over-the-counter supplement found readily in most grocery and vitamin stores.

In school-aged children, sleep disorders affect about 10% of the population. In children with neurodevelopmental disorders that number rises to about 80%. The children in this study ranged from 5 to 13 years of age and suffered from autism, Tourette syndrome, ADHD, or developmental delays. Parents were asked to describe their lives before melatonin use, with melatonin use, and what they felt their future of melatonin use would be. All of the parents had tried other alternatives and all felt they were unable to handle their situation any longer. Many of the parents said their children had experienced sleep difficulties since birth.

Most of the parents did not think that the melatonin was going to work given their history of trying other treatments that had proved to be ineffective. Later, on nights when they either ran out of the medication or when parents wanted to see how the children slept without the melatonin, parents in all cases said their children did not sleep as well. When asked at the end of the study if they would continue melatonin use, the opinions varied. Some were concerned about keeping their children on melatonin indefinitely while others were happy to continue long term.

The greater the children’s sleep issues, the higher the probability was that the parents would continue long-term use of melatonin. Parents did note that they wished their family doctors would be more knowledgeable about melatonin and would be more sensitive to the impact of poor sleep on the child and the family. Most children in this study had autism and the parents noted that when the children slept better, their autism symptoms also improved.

We continue to learn more about exogenous melatonin and its use in promoting sleep. It appears to be safe in children, but caution should always be advised. Dosing is also a concern as there are no clear cut parameters on strength, but the lowest possible dose is always advised. Most dosing schedules range from 0.3 mg to 5.0 mg. In the United Sates, caution is particularly advised as melatonin is not a prescription and supplements are not FDA regulated. Therefore, what is advertised on the bottle may not always be what is inside the bottle.

Taken from clinicaladvisor

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There are no tests to prove ADHD diagnosis

It’s the time of year when children might demonstrate a difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities. They might lose things, they might be easily distracted, they might have difficulty playing quietly or they might talk excessively.

This may sound like normal childhood behaviour that goes hand-in-hand with the excitement and anticipation of the festive season. To a psychiatrist however, it’s part of the list of criteria used to label children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Normal childhood behaviour has been redefined by the psychiatric profession to the point where dangerous chemical restraints are used to suppress behaviour. Psychiatric drugs, however, are not the answer, and psychiatrists know that.

Couple this with the fact there are no physical or biological tests to support diagnosis, and it becomes clear parents are left with little option but to believe what psychiatrists say. Real medical doctors can carry out tests that can be observed and that are scientific. This is not the case with psychiatry. Labelling such difficulties as a mental illness is fraudulent.

Taken from belfasttelegraph.

Know about the FDA Approved ADHD Tools/Tests which can confirm or support your ADHD diagnosis @

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ADHD Can Also Suffer From Worst Depression

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was a condition of the brain that alters emotions, behavior and ways of learning that are commonly found by children at 3 to 6 years of age.There are reports claiming that a person who has been diagnosed with ADHD was more closed of developing depression.

Children who are recognized to have this disorder will affect their behavior in school and might result in not having academic achievement as they grow older. In the latest survey conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it shows almost 11% of children at the age of 4-17 years old that is rated for 6.4 million kids in 2011 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

According to Health Line, the researchers from the University of Chicago have discovered an uneven number of children and adults who have undergone with depression. The result of their study appeared to be that a person with ADHD is 10 times to develop the depression compared to those who didn’t have the disorder.

Meanwhile, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America stated that there is 50 percent of children with ADHD have similar conditions like adults in the U.S. They may also meet another type of mental illness like depression.

A person who will have depression will affects their thinking, actions and feelings, such as sadness, loneliness and became uninterested in life. According to Medical News Today, there is 7 percent of American adults had experience depressive episode in 2015 base on the estimated rate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

However, there is study indicates the result of 70 percent of women is greater than men experiencing depression. People who aged 18 to 25 years old are 60 percent more who encounter depression than those who aged 50 years and above.

Children with ADHD are facing the symptoms of depression, such as feeling very low, changes in sleep and eating patterns, having failing grades or not doing their homework and attending school. While adults are having the problem of concentrating and staying focused, they became disorganized and forgetfulness, facing emotional difficulties and impulsivity.

Taken from latinoshealth

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Poison Control Center

Many aspects of Newark, New Jersey make it a unique city. One of the lesser known – but extremely critical – ones is the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, or “NJPIES” for short. NJPIES, also commonly known as the Poison Center, is located in University Hospital and is the only poison center in the state. It has many services to offer, especially for college students. According to NJPIES’ Director of Public Education Alicia Gambino, a “poison” is any substance that poses harm to a person who consumes it. With finals around the corner, many students consider taking “study drugs,” which, if abused, can become a “poison.”

What exactly are “study drugs”? I interviewed Dr. Bruce Ruck, who has been the Director of Drug Information Services & Professional Education at NJPIES since 2002. He says that this phrase is actually a misnomer. He believes calling these amphetamine derivatives “study drugs is a disservice.” These drugs – such as Adderall and Ritalin – are intended for use by individuals with ADHD, as they are capable of increasing concentration and overall academic performance. They work by raising levels of certain brain chemicals, like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, to bring about increased alertness and energy. However, their efficacy is dependent on whether one is supposed to be taking them – on whether they have been prescribed by a healthcare professional. While stimulants may help children who have ADHD or other concentration problems, they can cause serious damage for people abusing them.

Some of the side-effects of stimulants are physiological, including loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and tremors. These are serious issues, and even more alarming are increased heart rate and blood pressure. Long term, this is very detrimental to cardiac health, as the heart will be doing much more work. An NJIT student I spoke to regularly takes one of these drugs for his ADHD, and he described his heart palpitations – which can come at any random time of day – as very scary. The effects don’t stop at the physical level; stimulants affect the psyche as well. Nervousness, anxiety, agitation, and even hallucinations are just a few of the extreme examples. Side effects like these are extremely dangerous over long periods of time, but they become a reality for those who use highly addictive study drugs.

According to Dr. Ruck, it is the responsibility of the Poison Center to educate the general population, including students, about the dangers of various poisonous substances. Aside from the many programs and initiatives that have taken place, the center has a 24/7 hotline (800-222-1222) that people can call to report a poisoning incident or just to ask a question. The center also does outreach through press releases and social media. NJPIES plays a very important role in the state of New Jersey, as well as in Newark specifically. Students should know that there is someone they can turn to if they have a question about a substance or are experiencing unusual symptoms. Dr. Ruck described several of the calls the center recently received from students: “I’m supposed to take one pill but I took two so I could study better” and “My friend sold me this drug, I took it, and now I don’t feel well.” These are just a few examples, but for every call, there are certainly many questions that go unanswered and concerns that go unnoticed.

How can students make a difference? It’s important to be educated about stimulants and the dangers associated with their abuse. Students can encourage the conversation about them, whether with peers or with faculty. On your own, school can be hard, and it may be tempting to resort to “study drugs,” whether they are OTC (like caffeine pills) or illegally obtained prescription medicines. However, you should remember that you have a support network of friends, as well as the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (C-CAPS). In addition, students should avoid sharing any medications, as it is illegal to share, sell, or otherwise distribute some prescription drugs. Instead of relying on stimulants to assist with studying for exams, develop a good study plan and prepare ahead of time. Best of luck with your exams, NJIT students. Take care of yourselves!

Taken from njitvector

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ADHD and Out of Sync

A lot of the problems that come with ADHD have to do with time. People with ADHD often struggle with time management and regularly find themselves running late.

So are people with ADHD just generally out of sync?

According to one paper published recently in Medical Anthropology, the answer is yes. The paper’s author conducted a series of interviews with people who had ADHD and concluded that many of them experienced ADHD as “a state of desynchronization and arrhythmia.”

The paper pointed out three themes that commonly showed up in the interviews:

1) an inner restlessness and bodily arrhythmia; 2) an intersubjective desynchronization between the individual and its surroundings; and 3) a feeling of lagging behind socially due to difficulties in social skills.

This idea that being “out of sync” with the world around you is a big part of the ADHD experience certainly rings true with me. When I saw this paper, a number of other ways in which having ADHD can mean operating on a different “rhythm” came to mind:

  • Being impatient and always wanting to move on to the next thing
  • Having trouble estimating how long tasks will take
  • Being stuck in the present and not planning for the future
  • Being motivated by short-term rewards and not being good at delaying gratification
  • Often running late
  • Maintaining an atypical sleep-wake schedule

Of course, it’s hard to say what the cause-and-effect is here, a point the paper I linked to above acknowledges. For example, do people with ADHD have trouble delaying gratification because they perceive time differently or do they perceive time differently because they’re wired to prioritize short-term rewards? Or both, or neither?

In any case, though, it does seem like there’s something to the idea that people with ADHD are out of sync with society. Sometimes we get impatient and do things too fast, other times we lose track of time and do things late. Too fast or too slow, the result is similar: struggling to “find the beat” and get back in rhythm with the world around us.

Taken from psychcentral

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Kids with ADHD need more time on playground

School psychologists and drug company salesmen maintain that Ritalin, Adderall, and other stimulants help children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) become “manageable,” meaning they no longer cause trouble, thanks to the effects of these drugs.

The school nurse medicates the child in the morning — and at lunchtime too — and he sits in his seat holding onto his desk all day, no longer “disruptive” as school authorities say. But is he teachable?

Not if being teachable means he can learn things he can put to good use in his life, such as how to write a readable sentence or how to solve a complicated math problem. (Mostly, boys are diagnosed with ADHD probably because girls tend to be smarter than boys about hiding their audacity.)

Stimulants won’t put a child in a frame of mind so he can gather firewood in the woods, say, and start a fire with it. Nor will the drugs let his brain calm down so he can discover how to keep the fire going safely so he can cook over it. Children learn skills such as this in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and maybe even at a good school — whether they have ADHD or not — but not if they’re drugged.

In the 1980s I knew a young teenager who could take apart a gasoline engine and put it back together so that it ran better than it did before he worked on it. Yet this boy was diagnosed with ADHD at his school because he was bored in class and wouldn’t learn what his teachers wanted him to learn. Fortunately for him, his parents refused to let him become medicated.

If the school authorities — principals, teachers, counselors and school psychologists — can label a child as “wild” or “rambunctious,” and cite specific incidents where the child has exhibited such behavior to back up their claims, they will concentrate on “getting him straightened out for his own good.” (“Intervention” is the “clinical” word they use for this. It sounds cleaner, more “professional.”)

With the full force and authority of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), they will get an MD to diagnose him with ADHD and, with the permission of the child’s parents, drug him.

Weren’t we all wild when we were children? But isn’t it the duty of the school, along with parents, to help children become responsible human beings? How can that happen if a child is drugged up all the time?

On occasion children will get into arguments with other children, sometimes turning into fights, sneak comic books into school, chew gum in class, and instigate or take part in food fights in the school cafeteria with gusto, notably on days when the food is worse than usual. Children also love to doodle in their notebooks during class, especially with colored pencils. All of this is normal.

Still, there are children who need special attention and help so they can learn to become valuable citizens for society and especially for themselves. But this help will not come from a stimulant or any other drug.

The best way to “cure” so-called ADHD and other conditions such as being “learning disabled” is to get the students outside on the playground early in the day and let them run around for a couple of hours. Let them play basketball and softball, soccer, volleyball and tetherball, help them plant and tend gardens on the school grounds, even let them rake leaves, shovel snow or help the janitor cut the grass and pull weeds — anything to get them moving vigorously.

Back in the classroom, let them take a nap for half-an-hour. For the rest of the day, the students are relaxed, alert and ready to learn.

In any school, the teachers who are genuinely concerned with helping children have fun and learn are easy to find. They aren’t making spectacles of themselves and politicking at the school board, but are working their hearts out in their classrooms and on the playground helping children learn what they need to know so they can live good lives. These teachers work with all the children whether they are diagnosed with ADHD or not.

Ask the recent graduates of any school, or the students at the school now, who these teachers are. They’ll tell you because students always revere teachers like these. That’s all the evaluation you need, and the best you’ll ever get.

McLallen spent more than a decade sitting in classrooms at the University of Memphis State in the company of many decent and learned professors. Some of their wisdom even rubbed off on him despite suspicions of him being ADHD. For years he worked as a college teacher and now works as a copy editor at The Korea Times.

Taken from koreatimes

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How much money is spent on health care for kids, where does it go?

Health care spending on children grew 56 percent between 1996 and 2013, with the most money spent in 2013 on inpatient well-newborn care, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and well-dental care, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Joseph L. Dieleman, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and coauthors used the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Disease Expenditure 2013 project database to estimate health care spending. Annual estimates were done for each year from 1996 through 2013 and estimates were reported using inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars.

Authors report:

Spending on children’s health care increased from $149.6 billion in 1996 to $233.5 billion in 2013, driven by growth in ambulatory and inpatient spending and growth in well-newborn and ADHD care spending.
In 2013, the three conditions with the most health care spending were inpatient well-newborn care ($27.9 billion), ADHD ($20.6 billion) and well-dental care ($18.2 billion). Asthma had the fourth largest level of spending at $9 billion.
Over time, health care spending per child has increased from $1,915 in 1996 to $2,777 in 2013.
The study has some limitations, including that it reflects only direct health care spending and does not account for indirect costs such as child care costs and parents’ lost wages.

“The next step should be analyzing the factors driving increased health care spending and determining whether changes in particular subcategories of spending have been associated with improvements in processes or outcomes. It is crucial to understand whether spending increases have been appropriate or misguided and how we might target spending increases and reductions now and in the future,” the article concludes.

Taken from sciencedaily

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You May Need to Rethink Medication for ADHD

An article @ psychcentral throws light on some of the questions each parents might be having while medicating their  children with ADHD…

Why should I consider medication?

According to a well-known pediatrician working with ADHD over the past 20+ years says that “If I told you your child’s body is not producing the insulin it should, as we see in diabetes, I would prescribe synthetic insulin and you wouldn’t hesitate to give it to him. If I diagnose your child with ADHD and tell you his brain is not producing the chemicals it should and I prescribe a stimulant medication, you would likely balk at the notion. What’s the difference? We know that low insulin can affect and change their mood, focus, and concentration. We want them to be who they truly are, not changed by their condition.” That struck me, as I had not thought of it that way before. Which is amazing when you consider that mental health is my job. He went to say that “stimulant medication is at least 80% effective when used for ADHD, making ADHD the most treatable disease we know of.” If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, or if your child’s school is recommending a doctor’s evaluation, then the symptoms are severe enough that they are affecting your child’s performance. If this is the case then they need help.

Won’t my child become addicted to the medicine or face horrible side effects?

The definition of addiction is that the substance must cause two things: tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance means you get used to the substance and require more of it to get the same effect. Withdrawal means you experience negative symptoms (stomach ache, headache, etc.) when you do not take the substance. ADHD medication has not been shown to cause either of these. Stimulant medication is in a person’s system for a set amount of hours, depending on the medication and the dosage. It does not last 24 hours a day, which means that if there were withdrawal symptoms they would be seen daily — and they are not. The most common side effect of stimulant medication, and this is not seen in every case, is decreased appetite. The doctor I spoke with this weekend went as far as to say, “There is no other class of medications for no other ailment that has fewer potential side effects and is as effective as stimulant medication.”

If medication is so effective, why would counseling help?

One of the most exciting findings in the field of neuroscience is the discovery that the brain is plastic — meaning it can be changed and grow based on our experiences and what we focus on. What does this have to do with ADHD and counseling? Everything. Working on focus and attention can actually rewire portions of the brain and help develop better skills for the future. A counselor can help to develop a set of coping skills and strategies aimed at improving attention and focus.

Taken from psychcentral

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What It’s Like Having ADHD During Finals Week

Dealing with ADHD in academia is hard enough; dealing with it during finals can be downright traumatic.

Finals week is both frustratingly stressful and nervously exciting.

All that’s left are a few exams, maybe a paper or project, and it’s over. With no more time spent having to go to class, there’s more time allotted for each exam, and when the last test is turned in you can promptly forget everything you had crammed into your head the night before.

For someone with ADHD, it can be a terrifying nightmare.

ADHD is slightly different for everyone who has the disorder. It manifests itself in different ways between girls and boys, women and men. Some people are hyperactive, while others are extremely quick to visible bouts of stress.

The biggest struggle in describing the effects of ADHD, in general and in terms of finals, is that it all sounds like what every student goes through. The important thing to remember, however, is how students with ADHD manage their minds and how that changes the way they learn, interact and conceptualize.

The main underlying struggle for many students with ADHD is the impending lack of structure.

No More Learning Time

The week or so before finals begins the steady buildup of anxiety for folks with ADHD. The gratitude that there’s no more content to struggle with is tempered by the awareness of how much there is you still don’t get and how little time there is left to understanding it all.

ADHD makes it hard to learn, and that sentiment drills down to the fact that it often simply takes longer to learn something. The sheer effort to direct the brain to learning calculus theorems versus the entire backstory of “Lord of the Rings” is a war of attrition, an epic series of battles between the joy of fictional lore and the anxiety of not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

Finding a workflow is deviously difficult, even in the best laid out study area with all preparations made to minimize distractions and maximize efficiency.

A split end can distract a woman from going through the flashcards she did manage to make; a loose thread can cause a guy to unravel his shirt instead of the block of code that won’t compile.

Folks with ADHD are aware that they’re off course, and that can be just as distracting as the kid mumbling definitions under her breath at the next table over. What could have taken three hours will likely take closer to six, or more. It’s not a lack of time management per se; it’s trying to get the brain to cooperate during the time that’s left.

No More Class Schedule

College classes don’t hold much of a constant structure from semester to semester. It’s not like high school, where you go to the same campus Monday through Friday for eight hours a day. High school has the comforting structure of a regular, salaried office job. College does not.

For someone with ADHD, it can take an entire semester to get the rhythm of class timing and mental fortitude synchronized at a level they know they can succeed in—if only it weren’t for their brain’s propensity to try to take in and analyze everything around them.

The structure of going to class or having homework due every week at a certain times helps someone with ADHD identify the fluctuations of extreme distractions and better mental capacity. College may not offer much of a steady, daily routine, but it still forms a reliable cycle each semester.

When finals week starts, classes are over. More often than not, finals are scheduled for a date and time that doesn’t correspond to the date and time the class was held for the entire semester. It’s a mindfuck that, to varying degrees, diminishes test-taking abilities. If you’re lucky, all your exams are later than the class would have been, so maybe you can wrangle your brain into studying enough to pass.

A New Semester Cometh

Having a couple of months off seems great, until you realize you have to come back and start the process all over again. The relief of resetting over the break is offset by the knowledge that college schedules are never quite the same between semesters; it all depends on what classes need to be taken, when they’re offered and if you got to register early enough to get the best class times for your particular ADHD brain.

It’s not just the schedule, either. Sometimes, the people in your classes make a difference too. With every semester, there’s bound to be a new mix of kids, especially if you’re not in your major classes (or there are a lot of electives for your major). Now you have to spend time understanding the dynamics of a new class cohort. Sometimes a person, through no fault of their own, can cause ADHD symptoms to flare, just by being uniquely interesting to the person with ADHD. And now you have to try and guard against that, without losing a potential friend.

It’s Just Fucking Hard

After a while, most people with ADHD can become acutely aware of when it’s affecting their daily efforts, whether it be school, work, hobbies or just plain surviving. People with ADHD are driven and excited about the possibilities of life; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t try to earn a degree, get an internship and/or work their ass off at a job.

And it sucks, because it’s in their heads and they can’t get it out to show what they’ve learned, or they just can’t get what they’re supposed to learn into their heads.

Time is hard, and periodically losing the structure of a semester to the flagellation of finals and the freedom of a break can, at times, feel like a punishment (though not during said breaks). Students with ADHD suffer in a lot of different ways in different situations, but just as often come out of finals week proving their mettle.

It’s fucking hard alright, but success is all the sweeter because people with ADHD fought their own brain all through finals week and won.

Taken from studybreaks

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Office supplies, exercise could help calm ADHD symptoms

ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, starts early in childhood, but not all children with the condition will have it into adulthood.

Experts with WEB-MD say that although ADHD in childhood does not mean you’ll have it as an adult, all grownups with ADHD had it when they were kids.

ADHD in children is often dismissed as acting up or being hyper. But when it continues into adulthood, there could be a risk for more serious car accidents. WEB-MD experts say men with ADHD are more at risk than women.

According to one study, medication can help cut the number of accidents in half. Some of the medications boost brain chemicals that help patients feel more focused, and they are the same for children and adults—the only difference is in the doses and how often the drugs are taken.

For some people with ADHD, though, medication isn’t the only option: Some patients respond well to office supplies.

Notepads for doodling, a calendar or appointment book for scheduled, and sticky notes for reminders can help when memory fails or people feel distracted.

Exercise can help work off excess energy, too. But while office supplies and movement can have a positive effect, changing your diet doesn’t provide similar results.

You should watch what you eat for your overall health, but even people without ADHD get distracted and jumpy when they skip meals or binge on sugar or caffeine.

There’s no single test for ADHD. Your doctor may use a physical exam to assess your physical and mental health. Your past grades and conduct in school may provide more insight into your childhood.

Doctors look for a pattern of signs and symptoms. It’s where finding answers for overcoming ADHD challenges begins.

Scientists have found several genetic links to ADHD that suggest the condition may run in families. The studies show 60 percent of adults with ADHD will pass it on to their children.

Knowing the possibility of passing on ADHD may help you seek early evaluation for your child when the first signs of the condition appear.

Taken from wral

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