ADHD is currently the most common neurological disorder affecting children all over the world. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) suffer from chronic periods of impulsiveness and in attention. They struggle to remain focused on the task at hand in school or at home. However, the attention span can increase dramatically when performing a task that is chosen on their own. Conventional treatments including prescription stimulants and amphetamines like Ritalin and Dexedrine and have many side effects.
There are several proposed mechanisms. Some of the theories include brain cell miscommunications, diets high in sugars and dyes, pesticides, food allergies and so on. Many point the finger at schools, saying that the problem lies in our expectations of our children in school settings that are packed with 25-30 young students for every one teacher. Thom Hartmann, ADHD expert and author, points out that being easily distracted may also be interpreted as constantly monitoring the environment. Being impulsive may mean being flexible, ready to quickly change strategy5. These children are often bright, intelligent and they may just be bored and need more outlets for their energy and challenges intellectually.
My approach to treatment
The first step is to diagnose through proper investigation if it is indeed an ADHD condition. Some of the conditions like thyroid imbalances, celiac iron and nutrient deficiencies, sugar imbalances or social stress can mimic symptoms of ADHD. There are many instances in my practice that a diagnosis of ADHD was given, but we found that the symptoms were due to an underlying condition that mimicked ADHD.
The second step is finding the root cause of the underlying nervous irritation through required Functional tests.
- OAT (organic acid test) will assess central nervous system function, reveals yeast or candida growth, detects antioixdant and nutritional deficiencies and much more.
- Ig A and IgG Food sensitivity testing: Hyperactive kids are shown to have increased sensitivity to most common foods due to presence of leaky gut issues. It makes it easier for the parents to implement restrictions when there is a known sensitivity.
- A Stool analysis will provide information on the digestion, bowel flora which is often disturbed or the presence of leaky gut.
The above tests provide sufficient information most times to begin treatment and to see results. when all treatment fails, that might require
-Checking for Neurotransmitters
-Environmental toxins and Heavy metal testing if required.
Treatments: Naturopathic Medicine offers excellent alternatives for children with ADD/ADHD. These include dietary changes, herbal formulations to calm the nervous system, nutritional supplements to improve focus and correct deficiencies along with behavior modifications. Homeopathy is another tool that often brings great results when the right constitutional remedy is prescribed.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, do not wait. This can be helped through proper support, tests and natural intervention that is safe and effective.
1.Strauss, L.C. The efficacy of a homeopathic preparation in management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Biomedical Therapy, 18(2), 197-201. 2000.
2.Rowe, K.S. & Rowe, K.J. Synthetic food coloring and behavior: A dose response effect in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures study. The Journal of Pediatrics. 125 (5), 691-8. 1994.
3.Torisky, D.M. Torisky, C.V., Kaplan, S. & Speicher, C. The NAC pilot project: A model for nutrition screening and intervention for developmentally disabled children with behavioral disorders. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 8 (1), 25-42. 1993.
4.Reiff, M. Editor, ADHD: A Complete and Authoritative Guide, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2004.
5.Hartmann, T. Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception. Underwood-Miller, 1993.
6.Coleman M. et al. A preliminary study of the effect of pyridoxine administration in a subgroup of hyperkinetic children: a double blind crossover comparison with methylphenidate. Biological Psychiatry 14: 741-751,1979.
7.Great plains Laboratory, Inc.