BATAVIA – Gene Carroccia of Batavia is a man on a mission.
A licensed clinical psychologist, Carroccia wants to help parents and treatment providers dealing with young people afflicted by attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD.
That’s why Carroccia labored nine years to produce a book designed to provide strategies for diagnosing, understanding and treating the disorder.
The result is “Treating ADHD/ADD in Children and Adolescents: Solutions for Parents and Clinicians,” which was published earlier this year.
“I wrote this book because I wanted people to have a road map to dealing with ADHD,” Carroccia said. “I’ve worked over 20 years with hundreds of people who have this condition and seen too many people struggle and suffer.”
ADHD is a brain-function condition which causes inattention, hyperactivity and compulsive behavior.
“It’s a confusing, complex problem,” Carroccia said.
The condition impairs reading, concentration, learning and overall performance in school. It reduces motivation, causes boredom and limits organizational skills, while producing frustration and a lack of self-control.
“If you put all these things together, it is a disorder of life,” Carroccia said.
About one in ten children and adolescents suffer from the disorder, Carroccia said.
It is an inherited condition, he said, but also can be caused by head injuries, low birth-weight, vitamin imbalances and pre-natal exposure to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
Young people suffering from ADHD often have co-existing conditions such as sleep disorders, Carroccia said.
After a medical diagnosis, treatment can include clinical therapy as well as medication.
The book details the highly disciplined, focused strategies that parents need to use in order to help their children.
“It’s an easy read,” Carroccia said. “It’s not a real clinical book.”
Some of the keys include consistency in administering consequences and rewards, Carroccia said, while avoiding power struggles and preventing a situation from escalating out of control.
“Parents need to understand this is a brain-function condition,” Carroccia said.
Carroccia included “ADD” in the title of his book as a nod to people familiar with that abbreviation for attention-deficit disorder, but said that ADD is not a technical term.
In addition to guiding parents through traditional strategies that Carroccia has honed through his years treating patients, he also offers information on new, alternative approaches including dietary and exercise regimens.
While some children and adolescents see relief from the disorder over time, about one in 20 adults have ADHD, Carroccia said.
When the condition follows a person into adulthood, the problems become magnified, causing employment troubles, higher rates of divorce, financial difficulties and abuse of alcohol and drugs.
“This condition sets them up to have a lot of personal challenges,” Carroccia said.
Mental health problems have long carried a stigma in society, but education is helping to change that, Carroccia said.
“I think there is a slow societal shift in acknowledging mental health conditions,” Carroccia said. “We still have a long way to go.”
Carroccia has been a resident of Batavia since 2013. He and his wife have two teenage sons, and enjoys the lifestyle Batavia has to offer.
“I love the arts community here,” Carroccia said.
Carroccia serves as vice-president of a large health-care organization in the Chicagoland area.
His 270-page book is priced at $36.95 and is available in select book stores, through Amazon and from the publishing house, Charles C. Thomas in Springfield, at www.ccthomas.com. The book is available in print or as an eBook.
A book launch party will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 11 at Barbara’s Bookstore, 810 Village Center Drive in Burr Ridge.