Guest Expert

Brain Health and ADHD

According to Dr. Mark Bertin, author of "The Family ADHD Solution," when treating ADHD it's important to take care of our brains just like it's important to take care of our bodies. "The broadest view on brain health and ADHD is recognizing that anything you can do to manage ADHD is in essence impacting the brain."

Take a Brain-based View

For example, Bertin explains that a child with ADHD may be three or four years behind in their capacity to do things like self-starting and planning and prioritizing. Taking a brain-based view of creating a homework plan would mean that you might create structures and tie them to rewards, responding directly to how your child's brain is wired.

"In addition to managerial level stuff of how you manage ADHD," Bertin explains that we must "recognize that it’s often going to fall on parents to do a lot of that -- just because that’s the skillset in their child that’s behind."

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Support for the Whole Family

According to Bertin, "that means you have to help support parents, too, because it’s exhausting for the parents." He argues for "a family-based support," support that goes beyond the child.

In addition to focusing on parent support, and using structures that take into the consideration the way the brain is wired, Bertin explains that "mindfulness has been shown to directly affect the brain on a neurological level… The research shows that the practice of mindfulness causes growth in different parts of the brain."

On the flip side, Bertin explains that, "in spite of all the misinformation out there, the recommendation to consider medication for ADHD is based on the fact that it’s a brain-based disorder." ADHD, just like high blood pressure and asthma, is a medical condition that is based in the brain; it's treatment should be brain based, as well.

When considering treatment options, brain health and ADHD should go hand in hand.

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