ADHD & MAM, Part 1

Adderral is habit forming, as physical and psychological dependence may occur. Side effects include diarrhea, constipation, appetite loss, dry mouth, unpleasant taste in mouth, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting, fast heart rate, exaggerated sense of well-being (euphoria), over-stimulation, weakness, drowsiness between doses or after stopping medicine, weight loss, and stunting of growth in children (long-term use).

Another drug on the market is Stratterra. Treatment may not be indicated for all patients with this disorder. Strattera comes in capsules of 10 mg, 18 mg, 25 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg. This drug works in the central nervous system to improve behavior, concentration and mood.

Of course, as with all of these medications, counseling for behavior and socialization is highly recommended. Side effects of Strattera can include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, mood swings, weight loss, constipation, upset stomach and dizziness.

One of the newer medications on the market, Concerta, must be prescribed with caution to emotionally unstable patients who may increase the dosage on their own. Concerta comes in cylindrical tablets of 18 mg or 36 mg and last for up to 12 hours.

Chronic abuse may lead to increased tolerance and psychological dependence accompanied by abnormal behaviors and severe mood swings. If a dose is missed, it must be given as soon as possible. However, if several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to “catch up” (unless told to do so by the doctor). If more than one dose is missed or it is necessary to establish a new dosage schedule, a physician must be contacted.

Lab tests are required during therapy. Tests include blood counts, platelet counts, and blood pressure measurements. The side effects include all those previously mentioned.

Necessity or Abuse?

While the idea of medicating children to change or control their actions and behavior is a fundamentally uncomfortable thought, we recognize that ADHD is a frustrating problem.

A number of alternative remedies have become popular, which include herbs and natural supplements, chiropractic manipulation, and dietary changes.

Some suggestions include, but are not limited to a healthy and assorted diet, with plenty of fiber and other basic nutrients including fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water throughout the day, which is the diet that would be best for most children. Adequate sleep has been proven to help ADHD symptoms.

Children with ADHD need to be identified prior to the opening of camp sessions. Lines of communication must be open and the entire camp staff must be aware of all the defining characteristics of this disorder, and alert the medical staff when any symptoms of overload are noted, or of adverse medication effects.

Each child is different and we must do what is best for that specific child. Fostering self esteem and independence is a goal all summer camps mutually share, which is why it is imperative that camp directors, medical staff and camp staff are goal-oriented when it comes to this population of children.

Although, there are many specialty camps for behavioral and emotional disorders, there is no reason why we cannot integrate children with ADHD into mainstream summer camps, so long as the communication is open and continuously flowing, and consistent evaluation of child’s tolerance to activities and socialization is occurring. We are there for the children; we want their experiences at summer camp to be memorable and fun!

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

HELEN KELLER (1880-1968)

Elizabeth A. Levine is a pediatric case management coordinator at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and a doctoral student at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla.

Sources & Resources

Anderson, K. N., Anderson, L. E. & Glanze, W. D. (1998). Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary, 5th Edition. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, Inc.

Baer, C. L., & Williams, B. R. (1996). Clinical Pharmacology and Nursing. Pennsylvania: Springhouse Corporation. Health Square. Com (May 27, 2004).

Wong, D. L. (1993).Essential of Pediatric Nursing, 4th Ed. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, Inc.

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Related posts:

  1. ADHD & MAM, Part II
  2. ADHD At Camp
  3. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 1
  4. Access to Adventure
  5. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 2

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