What Is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD and ADHD)Attention deficit disorder 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
  • Combined type

Symptoms are behavioral, and the diagnosis is determined by observations in at least two settings.

The following symptoms are commonly associated with attention deficit disorder:

  • Lack of focus
  • Poor concentration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Easy frustration
  • Explosive anger

Males are more frequently diagnosed with attention deficit disorder than females.

What Your Doctor May Tell You About Attention Deficit Disorder

Doctors believe that the cause(s) of attention deficit disorder is unknown.

Treatments from an MD will likely address the most serious symptoms, and usually include medication and counseling.

Attention deficit disorder can occur at any age. Children and adults with it have variations of symptoms, and thus require different priority in treatments.

Another Way to Think About Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit disorder may or may not be a true disability. Attempts to have it classified for educational purposes have 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:

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 contribution:

  • 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?

Make dietary changes:

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.

Gluten- and dairy-containing foods are commonly known to produce an inability to focus when eaten.

  • Eat whole foods
  • Buy organic foods
  • Remove all GMO foods
  • Remove all fast and processed foods
  • Remove all foods with:
    • Artificial colors
    • Artificial ingredients
    • Preservatives
    • Phenols
    • Salicylates
  • Remove potentially inflammatory foods such as
    • Casein
    • Gluten
    • Soy
    • Corn
    • Eggs
  • Strictly limit:
    • Sugars
    • Refined salt
    • Refined carbohydrates
  • Join the Feingold Association www.Feingold.org to learn more.

Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Wild salmon
  • Organic chicken
  • Organic turkey
  • Grass-fed ghee
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Essential fatty acids from:
    • Cod liver oil
    • Hemp seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Evening primrose oil
    • Borage oil
    • Walnut oil

Remove vegetable oils such as:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Safflower
  • Sunflower

Include plenty of high-quality proteins with every meal, such as:

  • Pasture-raised eggs and chicken
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts

Heal the gut with special diets such as:

Learn more about healing diets and foods.

Use digestive aids with your practitioner’s guidance:

  • Betaine hydrochloric acid
  • Digestive enzymes with DPP-IV for gluten and casein intolerances
  • Proteolytic enzymes
  • BiCarb
  • Bromelain
  • Papaya

Clean up your environment:

Have you identified and removed possible environmental triggers, such as mold, dust, pet dander, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?

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?

  • Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
  • Remove carpets
  • Use non-toxic cleaners
  • Use non-toxic building materials
  • Green your home

Avoid exposing your child to chlorine, fluoride, and bromine because all three are in the same family as iodine and can displace iodine in the thyroid gland.

Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests for:

  • Possible food sensitivities and allergies
    • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM
  • Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The NutrEval by Genova Diagnostics Labs covers the following areas:
    • Malabsorption
    • Dysbiosis
    • Cellular energy
    • Mitochondrial metabolism
    • Neurotransmitter metabolism
    • Vitamin deficiencies
    • Toxin exposure
    • Detoxification need
  • Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
  • Gluten and casein sensitivities
  • Organic acids: The organic acid test by Great Plains Laboratory for:
    • Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
    • Oxalates
    • Other microbial infections
  • Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Genova Diagnostic Labs to identify:
    • Malabsorption
    • Maldigestion
    • Altered gastrointestinal function
    • Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
    • Chronic dysbiosis

Add fermented foods and probiotics daily:

These will keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong.

  • Eat kefir yogurts
  • Eat fermented vegetables
  • Eat umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
  • Eat miso soup, if soy is tolerated

Some good probiotics are:

  • VSL#3
  • Gut Pro
  • Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
  • Garden of Life
  • Culturelle
  • Klaire Labs

Use herbs, essential oils and natural supplements with your practitioner’s guidance:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Magnesium
  • Quercetin
  • Catechin
  • Hesperidin
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Stinging nettles
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Micelized A (water soluable vitamin A)
  • Zinc
  • Milk thistle
  • Myrrh
  • Histadine
  • Red clover
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC): prevents upper respiratory infections for those prone to chronic infections
  • MSM transdermal cream
  • Epsom salts bath

Help your child detoxify:

  • Ionic foot baths can help detox unwanted pathogens and are easy to do with children
  • Infared saunas can detox heavy metals through the skin by sweating. However, this form of detoxification may not be suitable for young children who lack the ability to sweat.

Learn about retained primitive reflexes:

Most, if not all, children with neurodevelopmental disorders including learning disabilities, have retained primitive reflexes.

Find a therapist that is trained in integrating primitive reflexes, which can cause imbalances in the way your child’s brain performs.

See a chiropractic neurologist at a Brain Balance Center:

The Brain Balance program can help balance the right and left brain hemispheres and make neural connections to extinguish primitive reflexes.

See a neurofeedback practitioner:

Neurofeedback is approved as a level-one intervention by the American Academy of Pediatrics for ADD and ADHD, which are learning disabilities.

Even if your child doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, they may still benefit from neurofeedback.

Find a practitioner that can perform a QEEG (quantitative electroencephalograph) brain map first so you can understand how your child’s brain works.

See a sensory-integration occupational therapist (OT):

These OTs address a variety of sensory issues with a child using hands-on equipment.

This type of therapy calms down the nervous system to help integrate the senses and retained reflexes.

See a chiropractor:

A chiropractor can perform spinal cord adjustments, which can improve communication in the nervous system.

See a craniosacral practitioner:

Craniosacral therapy can reestablish central nervous system functioning. These practitioners use approaches rich in vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile input and may also do oral motor therapy.

See a behavioral/developmental optometrist:

A developmental optometrist can check for convergence and tracking problems with your child’s vision. He or she can correct these issues with vision therapy, lens and prisms. Doing so can improve hand-eye coordination and school performance.

See an auditory therapist:

Many children with learning disabilities have auditory processing problems that may be causing problems with focus and concentration. An auditory therapist can devise a listening program that is specific to your child’s needs.

Auditory Integration Therapy (Berard) or Sound Stimulation (Tomatis) can retrain the brain, calm down the nervous system, reduce sound sensitivities.

Find a therapist doing Brain Gym:

A Brain Gym practitioner can have your child do exercises for sensorimotor coordination, self-calming and self-management.

See a homeopath or naturopath:

These practitioners can diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders naturally so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.

See a well-trained acupuncturist:

Acupuncture can help lower stress and anxiety associated with sensory processing.

See a NAET or BioSET practitioner:

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder typically also have food allergies and/or food sensitivities and intolerances. NAET (Namudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) and BioSET are two non-invasive methods of allergy elimination.

Sensory therapies and tools:

  • Super brain yoga
  • Rock climbing
  • Gymnastics
  • Weighted vests, blanket and belts
  • HANDLE therapy
  • Sensory Learning
  • Tool Chest
  • Squeeze Machine
  • Music therapy
  • Sensory gym
  • Deep pressure brushing therapy
  • Sensory tactile toys

Still Looking for Answers?

  • 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.

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

Related Pages

ADHD Causes

ADHD Homeopathy with Stephen Cowan MD

ADHD Recovery Without Drugs

Biomedical Testing for Autism, ADHD, SPD and Chronic Disorders

Birth Trauma and Developmental Delays

The Dangers of EMFs with Dr. Devra Davis (webinar replay)

“The Diet” (Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet)

Diet Basics

Essential Nutrients

Exploring the Gluten Free Casein Free Diet

Fat and Brain Development

Food Sensitivities and Intolerances

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet

Healing Diets and Foods

A Healthy Diet for Autism, ADHD, Allergies, Asthma and More

Homeopathy and Autism, ADHD and Other Developmental Delays

IgG Allergies in Autism, ADHD, Asthma, Autoimmune and More

The Importance of Retained Reflexes in Developmental Delays

Improving Cognitive Function Through Supplementation

Kyle: Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD

The Leaky Gut and Autism, ADHD and Other Developmental Delays

Light Sensitivity and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Developmental Delays

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

NAET for ADHD and Autism

Nourishing Hope for Autism, ADHD, Aspergers and Allergies with Julie Matthews

Nutrition and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Developmental Delays

Nutrition 101

Nutritional Supplementation and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Delays

PANS PANDAS

PANS/PANDAS with Lauren Stone (webinar replay)

Pediatric Chiropractic for Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Developmental Delays

The Picky Eaters

Prioritizing Interventions for Autism, PDD-NOS, SPD and ADHD

Pycnogenol and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Developmental Delays

Recovering from ADHD Without Drugs

Retained Reflexes

School Strategies for ADHD

Sensory Diet

A Sensory Integrative Approach to the Treatment of ADD

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep Strategies for Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Developmental Delays

SPD, ADHD and Autism Calming Strategies

Stephanie Seneff, PhD: Roundup, GMOs, Autism, ADHD and Autoimmune Disorders

The Straight Scoop on the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet

Three Myths about Healing Diets for ADHD, Autism and Anxiety

Thyroid Dysfunction and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Developmental Delays

Total Load Theory

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Vision Therapy for Autism, ADHD, SPD and Learning Disabilities

Vitamin D Deficiency

What Is Good Food?

What Is the Difference Between Autism and ADHD or Other Developmental Delays?

Why Diet Matters

References

Akinbami, L.J., et al. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among children aged 5-17 years in the United States, 1998-2009. NCHS Data Brief. 2011(70):1-8. 

Archer, T., et al. Physical exercise alleviates ADHD symptoms: regional deficits and development trajectory. Neurotox Res. 2012;21(2):195-209

Bernfort, L., et al. ADHD from a socio-economic perspective. Acta Paediatr. 2008;97(2):239-45

Bertelsen, E.N., et al. Childhood Epilepsy, Febrile Seizures, and Subsequent Risk of ADHD. Pediatrics. 2016 Aug;138(2). pii: e20154654.

Ceylan, M.F., et al. Changes in oxidative stress and cellular immunity serum markers in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2012;66(3):220-6

Cortese, S., et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, iron deficiency, and obesity: is there a link? Postgrad Med. 2014;126(4):155-70.      

Darling, A.L., et al. Association between maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Br J Nutr 2017 Jun;117(12):1682-1692.

Erskine, H.E., et al. The global burden of conduct disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in 2010. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014;55(4):328-36

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.

Hertz-Picciotto, I., et al. Organophosphate exposures during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment: Recommendations for essential policy reforms. PLoS Med. 2018 Oct 24;15(10):e1002671

Hodgkins, P., et al. 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)

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Liao, T.C., et al. Comorbidity of Atopic Disorders with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  J Pediatr. 2016 Apr;171:248-55.

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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.

Brandes, Bonnie. The Symphony of Reflexes: Interventions for Human Development, Autism, ADHD, CP, and Other Neurological Disorders, 2016.

Campbell-McBride, Natasha. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, 2010.

Crook, William. Help for the Hyperactive Child: A Practical Guide Offering Parents of ADHD Children Alternatives to Ritalin. Square One, 2007

Giustra-Kozek Jennifer. Healing Without Hurting: Treating ADHD, Apraxia, and Autism Spectrum Disorders Naturally and Effectively Without Harmful Medication. Howard Beach, NY: Changing Lives Press, 2014.

Guyol, G. Who’s Crazy Here?: Steps for Recovery Without Drugs for: ADD/ADHD, Addiction & Eating Disorders, Anxiety & PTSD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism. Stonington, CT: Ajoite Pub., 2010.

Lambert, Beth, et al. Brain Under Attack: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers of Children with PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalitis. Answers Publications, 2018.