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.

Still looking for answers?

Visit the Epidemic Answers Provider Directory to find a practitioner near you.

Resources:

Attention Deficit Disorder: What are the Possible Causes?

A Sensory Integrative Approach to the Treatment of ADD

Birth Trauma and Developmental Delays

Akinbami LJ, Liu X, Pastor PN, Reuben CA. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among children aged 5-17 years in the United States, 1998-2009. NCHS Data Brief. 2011(70):1-8.   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22142479

Archer T, Kostrzewa RM. Physical exercise alleviates ADHD symptoms: regional deficits and development trajectory. Neurotox Res. 2012;21(2):195-209 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21850535

Bernfort L, Nordfeldt S, Persson J. ADHD from a socio-economic perspective. Acta Paediatr. 2008;97(2):239-45  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5597100_ADHD_from_a_socio-economic_perspective

Ceylan MF, Sener S, Bayraktar AC, Kavutcu M. Changes in oxidative stress and cellular immunity serum markers in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2012;66(3):220-6    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22443244

Cortese S, Angriman M. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, iron deficiency, and obesity: is there a link? Postgrad Med. 2014;126(4):155-70.       http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25141253

Erskine HE, Ferrari AJ, Polanczyk GV, Moffitt TE, Murray CJ, Vos T, et al. The global burden of conduct disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in 2010. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014;55(4):328-36   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24447211

Fletcher J, National Bureau of Economic Research. The effects of childhood ADHD on adult labor market outcomes. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2013. 25 p. p. http://www.nber.org/papers/w18689

Giustra-Kozek J. Healing without hurting: treating ADHD, apraxia, and autism spectrum disorders naturally and effectively without harmful medication. Howard Beach, NY: Changing Lives Press; 2014. xiii, 370 p. p.   http://healingwithouthurting.com/

Guyol G. Who’s crazy here?: Steps for recovery without drugs for: ADD/ADHD, addiction & eating disorders, anxiety & PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism. 1st U.S. ed. Stonington, CT: Ajoite Pub.; 2010. 123 p. P.http://www.crazyrecovery.com/

Hodgkins P, Montejano L, Sasane R, Huse D. Risk of injury associated with attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder in adults enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans: a retrospective analysis. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2011;13(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21977357

Kawatani M, Tsukahara H, Mayumi M. Evaluation of oxidative stress status in children with pervasive developmental disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder using urinaryspecific biomarkers. Redox Rep. 2011;16(1):45-6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21605498

Mahmoud MM, El-Mazary AA, Maher RM, Saber MM. Zinc, ferritin, magnesium and copper in a group of Egyptian children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ital J Pediatr. 2011;37:60   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22206662

Sabuncuoglu O. Understanding the relationships between breastfeeding, malocclusion, ADHD, sleep-disordered breathing and traumatic dental injuries. Med Hypotheses. 2013;80(3):315-20  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23306004

Scassellati C, Bonvicini C, Faraone SV, Gennarelli M. Biomarkers and attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analyses. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012;51(10):1003-19 e20   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23021477

Telford C, Green C, Logan S, Langley K, Thapar A, Ford T. Estimating the costs of ongoing care for adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(2):337-44    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22699685

Verlaet AA, Noriega DB, Hermans N, Savelkoul HF. Nutrition, immunological mechanisms and dietary immunomodulation in ADHD. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014;23(7):519-29   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24493267

Weiss MD, Gadow K, Wasdell MB. Effectiveness outcomes in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;67 Suppl 8:38-45  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16961429

BOOKS

Bock, Kenneth. Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders. New York, NY. Ballantine Books, 2008  https://www.amazon.com/Healing-New-Childhood-Epidemics-Groundbreaking/dp/0345494512

Brandes, Bonnie. The Symphony of Reflexes: Interventions for Human Development, Autism, ADHD, CP, and Other Neurological Disorders. 2016  https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-Reflexes-Interventions-Development-Neurological/dp/150285502X

Campbell-McBride, Natasha.  Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.  2010  https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Syndrome-D-D-D-H-D-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028

Crook, William.  Help for the Hyperactive Child: A Practical Guide Offering Parents of ADHD Children Alternatives to Ritalin. Square One, 2007  https://www.amazon.com/Help-Hyperactive-Child-Practical-Alternatives/dp/0757000614