Attention Deficit &
Hyperactivity (1 of 2)
Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
are generally defined as a persistent pattern of inattentiveness and/or
hyperactivity with impulsiveness that regularly interferes with life at
home, at school, or socially. Theories abound, but clearly defined causes
of these disorders have not been established. Each sufferer is unique and
each has found relief in different therapeutic approaches from taking
stimulant and anti-depression drugs, to diet & nutrition control to
WHAT ABOUT RITALIN ?
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is one of the commonly prescribed drugs used
to treat ADD / ADHD. When it is effective, it is very useful as the
child/adult appears to be able to concentrate better and the hyperactive
child is able to calm down.
If it plays such a beneficial role in our children's and family life, why
should there be an outcry against Ritalin ?
- In spite of apparent
improvement in concentration and behavior, studies have shown that
there is no significant improvement in long-term academic performance,
delinquent performance, or poor emotional adjustment. (Weiss, 1975).
(methylphenidate) is a class 2 controlled substance and thus is listed
in the same category as cocaine, codeine, morphine, and amphetamines.
In fact, Ritalin is being sold on the black market as a form of speed.
- Class 2 drugs can be
addictive and cause some individuals to develop tolerance. This means
5 or 10 milligrams might be enough now, but as time passes, they may
need larger and larger doses to produce the same effect.
- Some of its
potential side effects are: nervousness and insomnia, anorexia and
nausea, blood pressure fluctuations, dizziness, headache, drowsiness,
abdominal pain, dermatitis and other skin rashes, growth retardation,
motor tics, and depression.
- Addictive drugs
cause withdrawal symptoms when they are not taken on a regular basis.
If Ritalin is stopped too quickly, or sometimes even if it is
gradually decreased and stopped, it is possible that it can cause
fatigue, disturbed sleep, depression, Tourette's Syndrome, psychosis,
- Ritalin does not
appear to have any long term therapeutic value. With possibilities of
wrong diagnosis, poor follow-up and potentially harmful side effects,
concerned parents are looking toward safer choices. A non-profit
Parents Against Ritalin has
been set up to help educate parents and the public.
stop taking Ritalin or other drugs without first
consulting your doctor. If you feel that Ritalin is not for you or your
child, get yourself educated, and if necessary, bring the information to
your physician. There are excellent resources available. Please check out
about drug-free, natural approaches" for more details. Please
note that some individuals truly have medical problems that can only be
controlled by drugs.
NATURAL APPROACH TO HEALING
The natural approach holds that ill health is brought about by
imbalances in our body. The aim is to get to the root causes (if possible)
of the problems and then provide the body with the right non-toxic
approaches so that it can heal itself.
WHAT ABOUT DRUG-FREE, NATURAL APPROACHES
There are many causes of ADD / ADHD and as many safe and non-toxic
solutions. Remember that each individual is unique and getting to the root
cause of the problems can be like solving a puzzle. Read and get informed.
The more you know, the more equipped you will be at solving the puzzle to
good health. The information provided here is centered on basic
nutritional support. We hope to provide you with a head start in your
research. Please check out the many excellent books available on this
Below are some of the most
popular approaches :
Clean up the Diet
Although many authorities have discounted the role of diet in ADD
/ADHD (and in many other health problems), you only have to talk to
observant parents to receive information to the contrary.
or reduce from the diet :
sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin),
These ingredients not only have poor or no nutritional values but can
bring about health problems for the sensitive individuals and those with
poor immune systems. Read food labels carefully. Choose wholesome
sweeteners like pure juice/fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, honey,
brown rice sugar, barley malt, stevia (an herbal sweetener) etc., whole
grains and foods that are minimally processed.
The amino acid "Glycine" can be very effective in removing craving for
sugar (ref: Control Hyperactivity A.D.D. Naturally by Billie Jay Sahley,
Many excellent books are available to show you how to choose healthier
food for better health. For example,
"Rx Prescription for Dietary Wellness" by Phyllis & James Balch explains
the good and the bad in the foods we normally eat. Contains lots of
wholesome and healthy recipes.
"Help for the Hyperactive Child" by Dr. William Crook, M.D. is an
excellent book teaching you the basics in diet management and candida
Vitamin, Mineral and Food Supplements
Enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids work synergistically to
maintain proper functions of body and mind. A deficiency or imbalance can
bring about poor health which may manifest itself as inability to
concentrate, fatigue, irritability.....
Ideally we should be
getting all the nutrients we need from our daily foods. Unfortunately, few
of us eat well, especially kids. Even for those who try hard to eat a
well-balanced meal, the grains and vegetables may be low in trace minerals
due to poor soil conditions. A healthy body begets a healthy and calm
Many people have benefited
from taking well balanced multi-vitamin formulas, trace mineral drops and
super green foods like blue green algae. When taking single supplements,
it is important to take a multi-vitamin with it too, as certain vitamins,
minerals and amino acids have to work together for best results.
Below are some of the food
supplements being used with good results.
- Well balanced multi-vitamin and mineral formula
- Super blue green algae or Spirulina
- Calcium and Magnesium - Calming effect. Needed for the nervous system.
- Zinc- especially useful in the case of copper toxicity or deficiency as
well as immune system support.
- Ginkgo Biloba - Increase blood circulation to the brain. Helps memory.
- Evening Primrose Oil - Aids in transmission of nerve impulses and brain
- Vitamin B Complex - Important for brain and nerve function, food
absorption and anti-stress. Helps the body tolerate foods that produce low
blood sugar reactions.
- DMG (N,N Dimethyl Glycine) - Carries oxygen to the brain. Important for
normal brain and nervous system function.
- GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) - research shows that it reduces
- Valerian - acts as a sedative.
- Rescue Remedy - All purpose Bach flower remedy. Brings on peace and
calmness during times of stress.
"Prescription for Nutritionally Healing" by James Balch and Phyllis Balch.
If you are looking for a GOOD book about vitamins, minerals, herbs and
food supplements, this is the one.
"Control Hyperactivity A.D.D. Naturally" by Billie Jay Sahley, Ph.D. is a
excellent book detailing the role of amino acids in the treatment of ADD.
Food & Environmental Allergies
Most people recognize itchy eyes, runny noses and hives as allergies.
These are typically accepted forms of allergy. However, there is another
form that is not easily, recognized, suspected or even agreed upon. It can
affect any part of your body from inability to concentrate, fatigue,
inability to fall asleep, joint pains, bed wetting, ear-infections (check
that milk intake !), asthma (check that milk, dust mites and the family
cat !) etc. to ADHD. Any foods can cause allergies, even healthy ones like
apples and pears. Some of the biggest culprits are cow's milk, wheat, and
artificial colorings. Some common environmental allergens are dust mites,
molds, cigarette smoke.
"Is This Your Child" by
Dr. Doris Rapp is an EXCELLENT book about food allergies, including
information on supplementations for ADD / ADHD.
The Yeast Connection
Yeast (Candida Albicans) normally lives in healthy balance with other
bacteria and yeasts in our body. An upset in the balance can be caused by
eating too much refined carbohydrates or taking ANTIBIOTICS. Antibiotics
kills the good bacteria in the gut but does not affect the yeast leading
to an excess of yeast which produces toxins. The symptoms are varied and
include headaches, inability to concentrate, depression, mood swing,
hyperactivity etc. These symptoms often overlap those of food allergies.
Candida can be controlled through proper diet, which is sugar-free, yeast
free and more. Many good books are available on the subject.
"Help for the Hyperactive Child" by Dr. William Crook, M.D. is an
excellent book on this subject.
"The Body Ecology Diet" by Donna Gates is very helpful in teaching you how
to control yeast and to restore the inner "ecosystem' by using
food-combining and sound nutrition. Gives an all round approach to the
Food supplements used to
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
A high intake of refined carbohydrates will cause a sudden raise in
blood sugar. Insulin is produced to counteract this. As the blood sugar
drops, hormones like glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin are produced to
bring the sugar level back to normal. This can bring about symptoms like
fatigue, light headedness, irritability, depression, .....This drop in
blood sugar also produces a craving for food, esp. foods which will help
raise the sugar levels again. So the cycle repeats.
Eat several small meals a day that are higher in complex carbohydrates and
protein. Avoid refined carbohydrates, caffeine and other unwholesome
Important supplements : Chromium Picolinate and B-Complex.
The following books are extremely useful reference for anyone
interested in a drug-free approach to ADD /ADHD.
- Is This Your Child by Dr. Doris Rapp
- Help for the Hyperactive Child by William Crook, M.D.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James and Phyllis Balch
- Rx Prescription for Dietary Wellness by James and Phyllis Balch
- Control Hyperactivity A.D.D. Naturally by Billie Jay Sahley, Ph.D.
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