By Barb Rock

Dear Barb,

What’s normal behavior and what is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?

Signed, Confirming My Suspicions

Dear Confirming,

Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Many adults with ADHD aren’t aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.

Adult ADHD symptoms may include:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems following through and completing tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Trouble coping with stress

Almost everyone has some symptoms similar to ADHD at some point in their lives. If your difficulties are recent or occurred only occasionally in the past, you probably don’t have ADHD. ADHD is diagnosed only when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of your life. These persistent and disruptive symptoms can be traced back many times to early childhood. The risk of ADHD may increase if you have blood relatives, such as a parent or sibling, with ADHD or another mental health disorder. You are also at risk if your mother smoked, drank alcohol or used drugs during pregnancy or if as a child, you were exposed to environmental toxins such as lead, found mainly in paint and pipes in older buildings. Studies have shown a connection between premature birth and ADHD.

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults can be difficult because certain ADHD symptoms are similar to those caused by other conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. And many adults with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. We all have our crazy moments for sure, but it’s good to take notice to how you are feeling and reacting to life and circumstances. Any disorder can be managed. Adults with ADHD are at increased risk of other psychiatric disorders, such as personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder and substance abuse. Counseling can assist in clarifying any concerns and providing opportunity for modification of habits and patterns. Counseling can be very helpful in keeping yourself and those around you from unnecessary anxiety and frustration

Dear Barb,

My dog won’t eat dog food unless I put something extra in the food. Many of my friends have the same problem. How safe is it to add ingredients to my dog’s menu?

Signed, Devoted Dog Owner

Dear Devoted Dog Owner,

Dedicated dog lovers tend to be very kind people. We share our hearts and homes (and for some lucky pups, even the foot of our beds) with our canine pals. Surely there is nothing wrong with sharing our favorite foods with them too, right? Not necessarily. Many of the foods, such as fruits and vegetables that humans digest, can wreak havoc on a dog’s body, causing severe health problems. On the other hand, some of the foods people eat can be introduced to a dog’s diet just fine, and even provide health benefits, such as joint strength, better breath and allergy immunity. The first thing to keep in mind is how you’re judging your dog’s appetite. If you’re concerned because your dog isn’t eating as much as the guidelines state on the food you purchase, remember that these are only averages. Many perfectly healthy dogs eat only 60-70 percent of the amount stated on the packaging.

Here is a brief list of Yes and No foods. I’ve provided a website for more details. (

“Yes” Foods

  • Bread, homemade is better
  • Cashews, small amount
  • Cheese, small amount due to high fat
  • Coconut, helps with hot spots, flea allergies and itchy skin
  • Eggs, cook all the way
  • Fish, fully cooked, no more than twice a week
  • Ham, careful, high in sodium
  • Honey, helps with allergies
  • Peanut butter/peanuts, use moderation, too much fat
  • Popcorn, unsalted, unbuttered

“No” Foods

  • Chocolate, contains toxic substances called methylxanthines
  • Cinnamon, can lower a dog’s blood sugar too much
  • Garlic/pnion/chives, create anemia in dogs
  • Ice cream, canines don’t digest dairy very well
  • Macadamia nuts, dogs should not eat macadamia nuts, a poisonous nut for dogs!

Many of the foods that are good for us are also good for our dogs and the reverse is true, too. In other words, do feed them lean meats, whole grains and vegetables. Don’t empty your leftover lasagna, rolls, or fries into your dog’s bowl.

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