It’s Not Just Bad Behavior: ADD in the Latino Community

It’s Not Just Bad Behavior: ADD in the Latino Community


–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) affects between four to 12 percent of children in the United States-it’s one of the most common disorders among children in the United States. Those who are affected by ADD often have a hard time focusing in school, are easily distracted, and may be hyperactive or impulsive. ADD can affect people of all ethnicities, and many Latino families struggle with the disorder.

According to a 2005 study, there is often a stigma around psychiatric disorders in the Latino community. Mental health problems can be difficult for any family, and Latino parents in the U.S., living between two cultures, may be concerned about stigma. They may see the symptoms of ADD, such as misbehaving, fidgeting too much, or not following instructions or rules, as a lack of discipline, and parents sometimes blame themselves for not being strict enough with their children.

“Hispanics sometimes do not look for help because they feel their own children do not have a problem. Sometimes they feel there are problems with the medication. Others have problems with the fact that the child may have a mental health problem,” said Dr. Raul Silva, Deputy Director in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine.

Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of ADD is important. Studies have shown that children with ADD, in the general population, who are not treated often do not perform as well in school and are at higher risk for drug abuse and teen pregnancy.

“Some of the obstacles these children with ADD face at school have to do with being able to focus and finish tasks, and having difficulty learning,” said Dr. Silva. “Some of the problems that older children in high school face have to do with knowing how to be organized, and how to prioritize their tasks. Parents may worry about whether the child will be able to learn, and if he or she will be able to make friends.”

The good news is that treatment can improve symptoms in the vast majority of children with ADD. For most people with ADD, medication is an important part of treatment.

Some parents may not believe that ADD medicines will work, or they may worry about giving their child medication, but if families work with their doctor to find the right treatment, it can make a big difference for the child.

“Medications can help children with ADD in several different ways. They can calm them down or keep them from getting overstimulated. In many cases, the treatments can help children focus much better on tasks like schoolwork,” said Dr. Silva.

The medications used to treat ADD have been around for more than 50 years. Since then, newer medications were introduced to last longer, helping manage symptoms all day. One medication, Focalin(R) XR (dexmethylphenidate HCl) extended release capsules, is taken once-a-day in the morning. Focalin XR works by one hour and helps manage ADD symptoms for up to 12 hours. Focalin XR and other ADD medicines can improve symptoms so that a child with ADD can be more successful.

“In studies, Focalin XR has been shown to cause a significant decrease in the symptoms of ADD, such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and lack of attention,” noted Dr. Silva.

Seeking out mental health treatment resources in the community, such as Spanish-speaking support groups, can also help both parents and children with the feelings of isolation, and may help overcome stigma. ADD is not just bad behavior, and it is not caused by poor parenting or lack of discipline. Getting the correct information about the disorder, what causes it, and how to treat it is very important for all parents of children with ADD.

For more information about ADD, talk to your child’s doctor, or visit


As with all medications, individual treatment results may vary.

Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate HCl) extended-release capsules is indicated for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD) in adults, adolescents, and children 6 years and older. Focalin XR is indicated as an integral part of a total treatment program for ADD that may include other measures (e.g., psychological, educational, social) for patients with this syndrome.

Focalin XR should not be used if you have significant anxiety, tension, or agitation; allergies to methylphenidate; glaucoma, tics, or Tourette’s syndrome, or a family history of Tourette’s syndrome; or if you have been taking an MAOI (a type of drug) or have discontinued an MAOI in the last 14 days.

Tell your doctor about any past or current heart problems that you or a family member has. If you have serious heart conditions, including structural heart abnormalities, you should generally not take stimulant drug products such as Focalin XR. During treatment, tell your doctor if you develop any heart symptoms or concerns.

Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of depression, if you have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, or if you or a family member has a history of suicide, bipolar disorder, or depression. During treatment, tell your doctor if you develop any symptoms of depression or abnormal thoughts or behaviors.

Abuse of Focalin XR can lead to dependence. Tell your doctor if you have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol or drugs, or if you are now abusing or dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Slower growth (weight gain and/or height) has been reported with long-term use of stimulants in children. Stimulants should be used with caution in patients with a prior history of seizures. Visual disturbances have been reported in patients taking methylphenidate.

For full prescribing information and for further information about Focalin XR, visit

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It’s Not Just Bad Behavior: ADD in the Latino Community