Where to Turn for Answers After an ADHD Diagnosis

Anyone who has a kid or knows a kid can confirm that kids ask lots of question. They ask everything from why the grass is green to why the sky is blue. As a parent you probably find yourself dedicating a good portion of your day to answering questions. You probably also find yourself having lots of questions.

When a child gets diagnosed with ADHD it is natural for parents to have lots of questions. With the unknown, there is a lot of uncertainty about what’s normal. Have you wondered where you can turn to find answers? As our experience with technology has changed, so has our method for finding the answers to our most pressing questions. In the meantime, researchers from all around the world have been on the hunt to understand more about the questions guardians have and where they’re turning for more information about ADHD.

Parents in Other Countries

Researchers in Australia, Italy and Spain have all studied parents of children with ADHD.

In 2010 Australian researchers found that 86% of parents of children with ADHD were getting information from physicians. However, in recent years the Internet has become more accessible and included more content, which has changed the way people search for information.

More recently in 2013, Italian researchers expanded on the Australian study and investigated what kinds of parents were seeking health-related answers online. They found that the majority of parents that turned to Internet searches were moms who were unsatisfied with the information they had received from their child’s general practitioner.    

Meanwhile during the same year in Spain, researchers examined the quality of information available on ADHD websites. Their study focused on the 10 top ranked websites in Spain. Researchers found that the quality of information found on these websites was quite low. However, even with low quality information parents who viewed these sites were more knowledgeable about ADHD and more motivated to find treatment for their child.  

Parents in the United States
Adam Sage, PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was fascinated with the research done overseas and was curious to see how these findings applied to American parents. At the beginning of this year he published a study in Clinical Pediatrics that investigated what kind of questions American parents are asking and where they are looking for answers.

What kinds of questions are parents asking?

Sage and his team found that the most common question that parents had about their child’s ADHD revolved around ADHD medication and the long-term effects of this medication. The top asked question was “What are the long-term effects of my child taking the ADHD medicine?” Other common questions that parents had included what could be done at home to help with ADHD and if the child would ever be able to stop taking the medication.

Where are parents looking for answers?

Sage and his research team found that 87% of parents searched the Internet for ADHD information and 81% of parents searched the Internet for information about ADHD medication.

The study investigated what were the top websites parents were using to get their information. They found that 74% of parents used WebMD to get more information about their child’s ADHD, while 20% of parents used Google and 14% of parents used Message boards.

More heads are better than one
All of these studies make it apparent that parents are turning to the internet to gather additional information about their child’s ADHD. Although the information that is being gathered by parents from WebMD, Google, and other websites can vary in its validity, the internet allows parents access to a wealth of information. The internet offers parents information about treatments and products that can help with a child’s diagnosis or tips for overcoming challenges and celebrating successes that make up daily living. With the speed of innovation happening for these families, it’s exciting that we live in an age where we can do our own research, answer some of our own questions, and then collaborate with specialists to find the best solution for our health-related questions.

What do you think?
Do you have a similar experience when faced with an ADHD diagnosis?  Did you look elsewhere for information about your child’s ADHD? Let us know in the comment section below!

5 Tips for Reaching Your Goals

It’s the season for setting New Year’s resolutions, but how can you keep up with them?

Whether you want to read more, run a marathon, or anything in between, everyone knows setting a goal is the easy part. Staying motivated to reach your target is a whole other story, and one that starts with the neurons in our brains and the way these neurons communicate. Thankfully, based on our current understanding of the science behind motivation, there are some things you can do to keep your eyes – and brain – on the prize.

The science of motivation

Our brains share messages through chemicals called neurotransmitters that help with many different tasks. An important chemical involved in motivation is dopamine, which is often associated with reward pathways in the brain. Dopamine plays a key role in helping us stick to our resolutions by connecting feelings of pleasure to our successes. Every time we make progress towards a goal, or have a tiny victory on the way to achieving it, dopamine pathways in our brain give us positive feelings that strengthen our motivation.

Hacks to achieve your goals

With this knowledge in hand, here are a few things that you can do to trick your brain into staying focused on your goals:

  1. Break down your goals into smaller pieces: Learning a language can feel intimidating, but splitting up your studies into chunks makes it more attainable. Splitting up a big task into smaller pieces is helpful for us to think through how to tackle a goal, and it also reinforces the dopamine-driven rewards we get from crossing off an item from the list. (That’s also why it’s a good idea to include on your to-do list things you’ve already done!)
  2. Block time on your calendar to complete larger tasks: We all have said “I’ll get to that later,” but then later never comes. Psychologically, it’s harder to say no to a notification telling you to stick to your task. Put time in your daily routine to read if you’d like to finish more books. Schedule time in your day to keep up with your resolution.
  3. Track your streak: The longer you keep a streak going, the harder it is to break it. Log your progress with a very visible reminder on a calendar or sticky notes that you keep on your desk. The more you see these reminders, the better.
  4. Reduce temptations: Think about your “future self” and make decisions to nudge him or her in the right direction. If you’re cutting sweets, avoid the candy aisle. If you’re working out after work, don’t go home first before heading to the gym.
  5. Consider regret when temptation strikes: Get the “what if” spiral working in your favor. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, imagining how you’d feel if you missed your weigh in goal by a pound before you grab a snack you don’t need. Turn the difference from where you are and where you think you should be into a positive.

What are your resolutions, and how are you sticking to them?