Self-medicating ADHD kids and addiction

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, discusses how ADHD is sometimes misdiagnosed, and how ADHD medications and addiction can intersect
Parenting Tips | How ADHD symptoms and drug addiction intersect
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Self-medicating ADHD kids and addiction

One of the more frequently asked questions that I receive from parents is about ADD and ADHD. There are some children that do indeed have ADD and ADHD and that can be successfully diagnosed with their physicians. I take a little bit different approach to looking at ADD and ADHD. I look at what i call the hum of a child. The hum is what that child comes into the world with. It's what their emotional DNA is and bringing that into their world and how that relates with their parent and the significant other that is in their life, their hum. And it's the dove-tailing of those 2 hums that is ultimately what is essential in understanding with your child. So if you can understand your child's hum and help them to recognize that hum within themselves, you give them an invaluable gift. You help them to have options on how to deal with their emotional state. If that child is feeling anxious, you help them to identify their anxiety, you help them to understand the reasons that they're feeling anxious and you give them tools that can help them deal with their anxiety that is not through a pillar medication. Now again, there are those that are going to need that medication and that again needs to be assessed. I do believe that there is an over-medication of kids and over-identification of perhaps what may be ADD or ADHD when in fact it is a child who has high anxiety. Now, if you can help that child to understand their anxiety, to learn how to have tools to deal with their anxiety, you're giving them a great service. One of the things that's essential for parents is to understand if they have a family history of addiction that they're very careful about bringing in any sort of medication to deal with any mood state in their child. If that's ADD or ADHD, the likelihood that that medication would be used recreationally or used not as prescribed is far greater if there's a history of addiction in the family.

Karen Khaleghi, PhD, discusses how ADHD is sometimes misdiagnosed, and how ADHD medications and addiction can intersect


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Karen Khaleghi, PhD

Co-founder of Creative Care Malibu

Dr. Karen Khaleghi is a pioneer in the field of dual diagnosis, or co-occurring drug and alcohol addiction along with mental health disorders. As one of the co-founders of Creative Care in Malibu and co-author of The Anatomy of Addiction, Dr. Karen speaks to parents and organizations about the formation of addiction, the critical aspects of nature and nurture and the resulting disconnection between emotions and behavior as well as the genesis of addiction and the path to recovery, a process she calls "connecting the dots." 

There are many things that set Dr. Karen Khaleghi apart from others including her individualized treatment approaches and excellent treatment facility Creative Care which is filled with clinical staff comprised of professionals that offer the highest standard of care in the industry. Karen graduated from California Graduate Institute with her Ph.D in 1989 and lives in Los Angeles, CA with her loving husband and children. Dr. Karen Khaleghi has been featured on The Today Show, KCAL 9, Dr. Phil and many others!


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