Pills Don’t Teach Skills…Natural Solutions for ADHD and Hyperactivity
Attention-deficit disorder affects a startling 17 million people and seems to be gaining ground every year.
If you are a parent of a child suffering with ADHD, what are your options? In the United States, Attention-deficit disorder is the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric condition. In the past most medical journals described this disorder as minimal brain damage, hyperactive child syndrome & minimal cerebral dysfunction.
There are several common symptoms of ADHD which include short attention span, poor concentration, difficulty keeping track of things, making careless mistakes, short temper, difficulty waiting or taking turns, excessive speech, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, failure to finish things off, lack of perseverance & poor organizational skills. These characteristics are frequently associated with difficulties in school, in both learning and behavior. Activities that require concentration are nearly impossible causing frustration, irritability, agitation and often recklessness.
There are three main types of ADHD. There is the predominately hyperactivity, the inattentive type, and finally there is the combined type. Boys typically exhibit the hyperactive type of ADHD while girls usually will show the more inattentive type, although this isn’t always the case. Typically, when a child who has never been diagnosed with ADHD becomes a teenager, he/she may become involved in drugs and crime and will often drop out of school. In adulthood the predominant features are difficulty with relationships, job loss, speeding tickets, failure to complete tasks, difficulty paying attention and difficulty beginning and/or completing tasks.
Conventional Medical Treatment
The conventional Western Medicine approach for ADHD is almost always pharmaceutical drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), or the amphetamines Adderall and Vyvanse. A review in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry notes that two antidepressants -- bupropion and venlafaxine -- are now being used as an alternative. "Talk therapy" is often recommended in conjunction with prescription medication for ADHD.
Alternative Medical Treatment:
There are many causes of ADHD and we always recommend parents to investigate the possible underlying factors that could very-well be causing the condition.
The Functional Wellness Approach looks at the triggers of ADHD. Children and adults with ADHD often have impaired digestion (leaky gut), food sensitivities, nutritional insufficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, fatty acid and amino acid imbalances, and sensitivity to food additives. Some studies indicate a possible genetic predisposition. It is not uncommon for children with ADHD to have a history of multiple ear infections (otitis media) than other children with learning problems.
Sadly, many parents who have children with ADHD are not informed of all the options available to them. There is a time and place for medications such as Ritalin and Adderall which can temporarily help the symptoms of ADHD. But this isn’t addressing the root cause of the problem, merely masking symptoms. You have to ask, what are the long-term health risks for your child of taking those medications?
Several studies have shown children taking Ritalin using a PET scan that although the children had a reduction in their symptoms, the PET scan was highly abnormal. We simply don’t know what these medications are doing to a child’s brain as they are growing and developing.
Typically, pediatricians and other physicians are going to use medication to treat ADHD. But holistic, root cause-oriented health care providers have known for a long time that food allergy is one of the primary causes of ADHD. The first major scientific study to show the link between food allergy and hyperactivity appeared in a 1985 issue of Lancet, a prestigious international medical journal. Dr. J. Egger, head of a pediatric university hospital in Munich, and Dr. J Soothill, London, England, studied the effects of food on 76 hyperactive children. 79% had clear improvement in their mental activity, emotions and behavior and 28 became completely symptom-free. To prove their findings, the researchers reintroduced the allergenic foods to the children and their hyperactive symptoms returned.
The following have been linked to ADD:
- Food sensitivities
- Heavy metal toxicity (especially lead) has been linked to focus, behavior and learning problems. Dr. H.L. Needlemen of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School has conducted scores of studies over the last 20 years clearly establishing the link between lead levels in children and specific hyperactive and attention deficit behavior traits. Follow-up studies indicate that these effects often persist into adulthood.
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Amino acid imbalances
- Methylation dysfunction
- Intestinal dysbiosis (leaky gut)
- And others
Dr. Eric Mintz’s Comment:
In over 20 years of practice, and as a parent myself of a child with neurodevelopmental disorders, I can say with 100% certainty that I have never met a parent who did not want the best for their child. It can cause a major challenge when you are struggling with what to do to help your child. Should you medicate your child and simply mask the symptoms, or take the road less traveled and work to identify the underlying cause of your child's problem? We have to remember that pills don’t teach skills. There are literally volumes of medical research coming out showing that it is quite favorable to look for the root cause(s) of your child's condition, rather than trying to mask the symptoms. Take the time to help your child live the happiest, healthiest life possible, naturally.
Dr. Eric Mintz is the clinic director of Synergy Chiropractic and Neurofeedback in West Bloomfield, MI. He can be reached at (248) 862-2202.
Hours Are By Appointment Only
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 7:00pm