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Attention Deficit Disorder



Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD) and impulsiveness has been associated with increased risk for weight gain in both children and adults. In one study, ADHD was present in over 25% of all obese patients and 40% of patients with class III obesity. Reasons for this prevalent co-morbidity are unknown, but brain dopamine or insulin receptor activity may be involved.

Patients with ADD or ADHD usually manifest a long history (since childhood) of impulsivity, lack of concentration, decreased attention, inability to complete tasks, impairment in school or work performance and social dysfunction. Being “hyperactive” in the sense of the DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD does not prevent the development or persistence of overweight and obesity in children.

Bariatric patients showing poor focus during treatment should be investigated for ADD or ADHD. Identifying the disorder is crucial as they will not be able to focus on the weight- management plan until their impulsiveness and lack of concentration are addressed.

Pharmacological and behavioural therapies can often help patients improve task persistence and decrease impulsivity and distractibility, which will increase the likelihood of success with weight-control efforts.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Members of the Canadian Obesity Network can download Best Weight for free.

Best Weight is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles (part of the proceeds from all sales go to support the Canadian Obesity Network)

If you have already read Best Weight, please take a few minutes to leave a review on the Amazon or Barnes & Nobles website.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this important post, Dr. Sharma. My health suffered in many ways as a result of remaining undiagnosed for most of my adult life. After being diagnosed and treated for ADHD, in my late forties, I was able to consistently follow an eating plan that helped me improve my health (and also lose weight.) I didn’t realize that so many people who experience more extreme forms of obesity also have ADHD. What an interesting correlation! My life certainly would have been different, and probably not as challenging or chaotic, at times, if I had been properly diagnosed and helped many decades earlier.

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