What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as age-inappropriate impulsiveness, lack of concentration, and sometimes-excessive physical activity.
This condition is associated with learning difficulties and lack of social skills. Since there is no laboratory or physical test that diagnoses ADHD, it is based on a clinical history of symptoms and behavior. Since it is a subjective diagnosis, it brings up controversy as to whether the behavior is actually normal in many cases, especially for younger boys.
There are three subtypes of ADHD, one of which involves mainly an attention problem and not a hyperactivity issue. Between 30 to 40 percent of children with ADHD have learning disabilities, although in many cases these children are quite bright. ADHD often goes undiagnosed if not caught at an early age, and it affects many adults who may not be aware of their condition.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, 4th ed., symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity must have persisted for at least six months to a level that indicates poor adaptation and is inconsistent with the child’s developmental level.
CONNECTION TO CHILD’S DIET
Many parents instinctively believe that the problem is connected to their child’s diet. They know that children can respond negatively to sugar or other foods, and they wonder if their child is simply suffering from an extreme version of this reaction. In most cases, these parents are absolutely correct. In the last few decades, sugars, preservatives, and colorings have been added to our food at an increasing rate. Too many children consume nothing but convenience foods like hot dogs, fried chicken fingers, and highly sweetened fruit drinks and sodas. Since children’s small bodies are especially vulnerable to these additives, it is not surprising that many of them have a toxic response. For some, the response takes the form of traditional allergies, say, a runny nose or hives. For others, however, the poisons surface as extreme behavior problems.
THE DANGERS OF UNNECESSARY MEDICATIONS
Unfortunately, Western doctors have been trained to discount the importance of diet in hyperactive kids. Instead of nutritional therapy, they will often suggest medication to suppress the symptoms of ADHD. It is estimated that more than two million children take drugs like Ritalin on a daily basis. While medications may be necessary in a few cases,parents should cultivate a healthy wariness of giving them to their children.
The long-term effects of ADHD medications are not yet well known, and there are signs that the drugs can retard growth and lead to substance abuse or emotional problems later in life. Teens who take Ritalin may be tempted to mix the Super Supplement with alcohol, marijuana, or other recreational drugs, creating a dangerous brew with unknown consequences. And as with many conventional Super Supplements, the most compelling argument against ADHD drugs is that they fail to address the cause of the problem. Without treating the underlying cause children may have to take Ritalin well into their twenties.
WHAT CAUSES ADHD?
There are many different underlying reasons why a child may have attention or behavior problems. Studies show that frequent ear infections and the regular use of antibiotics, as well as premature birth and family history are associated with a greater likelihood of developing this disorder. Holistically speaking, causative factors include food additives and food allergies, environmental allergens, heavy metal toxicity (such as lead, mercury, and aluminum). A poorly functioning digestive system and increased permeability leads to an increase in metabolic toxins that disrupt brain chemistry. Nutritional deficiencies such as essential fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, and iron appear to play a role. Lastly, do not underestimate the role of emotional stress and its relationship to ADHD. The breakdown of the family unit in our culture places abnormal stresses on a child that can result in attention and behavior changes.
NEW FDA LABELING REGULATIONS
In February 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that all companies making stimulant drugs for ADHD add warning labels to their products. These new labeling regulations addressed two major concerns.
First, heart-related problems—risk of sudden death in children with heart problems; risk of stroke, heart attacks, and sudden death in adults with a history of heart disease. Second, psychiatric problems—these drugs may trigger or exacerbate negative behaviors and emotions, especially in those with any family history of mental illness. Suppression of growth is also a major concern with long-term use of stimulants in children. Psychological and/or physical dependence to stimulants can occur.
Neurotransmitter levels—urine test
Food allergy/sensitivity testing
Vitamin and mineral analysis-blood
Candida and flora balance -Stool analysis
Toxic metals-Hair or urine analysis
Blood sugar levels-fasting blood test
Essential fatty acid levels-fasting blood test
Amino acid levels-urine or fasting blood