What is ADHD?

ADHD is a behavioral condition defined by specific subjective criteria in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V). This book describes three types of the disorder: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, and a combined type. Symptoms are behavioral and the diagnosis is determined by observations in at least two settings. Males are more frequently diagnosed with ADHD than females.

What your doctor will tell you about ADHD:

Doctors believe that the cause(s) of ADHD is unknown. Treatments should address the most serious symptoms, and usually include medication and counseling. ADHD can occur at any age. Children and adults with ADHD have variations of symptoms, and thus require different priority in treatments.

Another way to think about ADHD:

ADHD may or may not be a true disability. Attempts to have it classified for educational purposes failed. Clearly, whatever is going on affects multiple systems, with different systems affected in each individual, related to his/her bio-individuality. The ability to attend can be related to vision, audition, sensory integration, diet, allergic reactions, environmental triggers and more. Evaluating all these areas, rebalancing the body, and bringing it back to health, requires removing the possible triggers from the external and internal environment, and adding necessary nutrients through food and supplementation.

ADHD checklist to start:

  • Consider lifestyle contributions. Is your child getting 10 hours of sleep per night (or more if your child is under 10)? An hour of exercise or movement per day? Drinking half his body weight in ounces of water?
  • Have you identified and removed possible environmental triggers, such as mold, dust, pet dander, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?
  • Is your child craving and eating primarily a refined carbohydrate, high sugar, trans-fatty acids and fast food diet? Eliminate all processed foods, and eat a whole foods diet.
  • Have you identified and treated possible underlying food allergies and sensitivities? Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, dyes, sweeteners, such as cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and “excitotoxins,” such as MSG, aspartame, and fluoride, are common triggers for the symptoms of ADHD.
  • Have you identified and removed possible toxic exposures in the home from purchased products, such as detergents, soaps, lotions, and other cleaning and personal care products?
  • Has your child had an occupational therapy evaluation by a specialist in sensory integration? Sometimes, over-reactions to touch, movement, pressure and sound can cause a child to be hyperactive.
  • Has your child had a developmental vision evaluation by a behavioral optometrist? If the two eyes are not working together as a team, the brain’s processing of information can be inefficient. Symptoms such as lack of focus, poor concentration, low self- esteem, easy frustration, and explosive anger may arise, and be misinterpreted as ADHD.
  • Have you supported the body and the immune system with basic nutrients like Vitamin D, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients? Hyperactivity can be a result of malnutrition and a diet lacking in nutrients.

If you’ve addressed these issues and are still dealing with ADHD:

  • Has your child had many infections treated with antibiotics? If so, consider lab testing for high levels of antibodies to organisms, such as strep and other bacteria and viruses, as well as an evaluation of gut bacteria, including yeasts and Candida.
  • Did your child have a difficult birth that included a long labor, forceps or vacuum aspiration, or low Apgar scores? Consider an evaluation by an osteopath, craniosacral therapist or chiropractor for structural impediments.
  • Is your child feeling stressed, anxious or upset? Consider family therapy, a school change, or other support.
  • Consider alternative interventions, such as homeopathy, neurofeedback, essential oils, reiki, or energy medicine.

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Resources:

Attention Deficit Disorder: What are the Possible Causes?

A Sensory Integrative Approach to the Treatment of ADD

Birth Trauma and Developmental Delays