ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome is a complicated and often misunderstood condition. It is thought to affect between 3- 5% of children. It has also been estimated that ADHD is 3 or 4 times more common in boys than in girls. Generally, the ADHD child is unable to concentrate, is hyperactive to the point of being disruptive, and has poor school performance compared with intelligence.
In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of cases of ADHD. ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is strongly linked to diet, chemicals and food additives in processed food, especially refined sugar and carbohydrates and corn syrup. Food allergies, heavy metal toxicity and caffeine found in sodas are all aggravating. Essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency has been found in many cases.
Conventional treatment involves giving children suffering from ADHD pharmacological drugs such as stimulants. This is worrisome, as these drugs can cause psychoses, including manic-like and schizophrenic-like disorders. Congress has called for an investigation of the effects of prescribing certain stimulants to children, and certain pharmaceutical companies producing these stimulants have been the subject of class action lawsuits in recent years, as more parents are realizing that the drugs are actually making their children sick.
ADHD can be treated naturally without the use of pharmaceuticals that cause more problems than they purport to solve.
The symptoms of ADHD can be categorised into two sets of behavioural problems – symptoms of inattentiveness and symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness and it is not fully understood whether these problems are an extreme form of normal behaviour or part of a separate range of behaviour. A child who is inattentive, overly talkative, impulsive, excessively irritable and hyperactive is labelled as having ADHD. But there are three sub-types of the condition and it is useful to find out which one your child may have:
Types of ADHD
- ADHD mainly inattentive
- ADHD mainly hyperactive-impulsive
- ADHD combined
If your child has symptoms of all three behavioural problems – inattentiveness, hyperactivity or impulsiveness – they may have ADHD combined which is the commonest sub-type of ADHD. However, your child may only have symptoms of inattentiveness but not hyperactivity or impulsiveness, so they may have ADHD mainly inattentive. This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit order (ADD).
Childhood ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls and this may be because disruptive behaviour, which the diagnosis may be partly based on, tends to be more prevalent with boys than girls. Girls with ADHD often have the mainly inattentive form of the condition, which may make them quiet and dreamy. Often this condition goes unnoticed. It is therefore possible that ADHD could remain undiagnosed in girls and could be more common than previously thought. The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined:
- a very short attention span
- being very easily distracted
- making careless mistakes, e.g. with school work
- appearing forget or losing things
- unable to stick at tasks which may seem time-consuming or tedious
- unable to listen to or carry out instructions
- unable to concentrate
- constantly changing an activity or task
- difficulty with organising tasks
- unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
- constantly fidgeting
- unable to settle to tasks
- excessive physical movement
- excessive talking
- being unable to wait for a turn
- acting without thinking
- interrupting conversations
- breaking any set rules
- little or no sense of danger
If your child has ADHD their symptoms usually become noticeable before the age of 7. Most diagnoses are made between the ages of 3 and 7. The most common problems caused by ADHD are underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults and problems with discipline. In some cases, ADHD can also cause related conditions, including:
Anxiety disorder – causes the child to worry and be nervous most of the time. Physical symptoms of this are rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – defined by negative and disruptive behaviour, particularly towards authority figures such as parents and teachers.
Conduct disorder – tendency towards highly anti-social behaviour such as vandalism, stealing, fighting, harming people, harming animals. If your child is behaving this way it is imperative to consult a registered health practitioner straight away.
Depression: – ADHD can affect mood
Sleep problems: – hyperactivity renders sleep difficult and interferes with sleep patterns
Epilepsy:- a condition of the brain which causes seizures (fits)
Tourettes’s Syndrome: – a condition of the nervous system (the nerves, brain and spinal cord) that causes involuntary movements and sounds
Learning difficulties: – around a third of children with ADHD can also suffer from dyslexia (difficulty reading and spelling words.) However it is important to remember that ADHD has no effect in intelligence
In adults the symptoms of ADHD are more difficult to define, largely due to a lack of research, and it is still uncertain whether ADHD can occur in adults without it first appearing during childhood. However, it is known that symptoms of ADHD often persist from childhood into teenage years and into adulthood. Any additional, associated problems such as dyslexia or depression are also likely to carry on into adulthood. By the age of 25, an estimated 15 per cent of people diagnosed with childhood ADHD still show the full range of symptoms and 65 per cent still have some symptoms that impact on their daily lives. There is no definite list of adult symptoms and experts agree that simply applying the childhood symptoms to adults would not work. This is because the way in which inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness affects adults is very different to the way they affect children. Hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness worsens due to the pressures of adult lives. Adult ADHD symptoms are much more subtle than childhood ones but the following could be experienced:
- Carelessness or lack of attention to detail
- Continually beginning new tasks before completing old ones
- Poor organisational skills
- Inability to focus or prioritise
- Continually losing or misplacing things
- Restlessness and edginess
- Difficulty keeping quiet and speaking out of turn
- Blurting responses and poor timing when speaking to others
- Often interrupting others
- Mood swings
- Irritability and a short temper
- Inability to deal with stress
- Extreme impatience
- Taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for the personal safety of others
As with ADHD in children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can appear alongside other problems or conditions and one of the commonest is depression. Other associated symptoms could include:
- Personality disorders
- Bipolar disorder (a condition that affects moods which can swing from one extreme to another)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (a condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour such as cleaning constantly)
Any problems you may have had as a child are likely to persist into adulthood which can make life extremely difficult. For example you may have difficulty finding and keeping employment, in relationship and special interactions, with drugs or with crime.
A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet indicated that in at least two thirds of all ADHD cases, food sensitivities were the cause. Pause for a moment and think of what this means – 64 per cent of the children out there being dosed with toxic pharmaceutical drugs to treat ADHD simply don’t need them. This number is monumental. In the U.S. alone, that represents an estimated 5 million children. Food additives that may increase hyperactive behaviour include:
- Sodium benzoate
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow)
- D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow)
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine)
- FD&C Red No.40 (allura red)
Hyperactivity can be caused by underlying conditions such as learning difficulties, an unstable home life, food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, excessive sugar ingestion, heavy metal toxicity or even the need for glasses. Caffeine is also known to be a cause, as well as environmental factors. Chemical stimuli in the environment such as perfumes and cigarette smoke can also be triggers, as well as a poor immune system, sometimes as the result of vaccinations. Congenital problems and birth injuries can also have an impact.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Take Epsom salt baths. Put 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm bath and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times a week. See article section for more information about Espom salts benefits for ADHD.
- Use a far infrared sauna to help reduce toxic burden and stimulate the healing process. Fat (stores toxins) becomes water soluble at 110 F. This deep penetration from the rays of a far infrared sauna melts away toxins and acids that are released into your blood stream and therefore excreted out through your skin. Please note: Infrared saunas are not recommended for children under the age of 6.
- Try bentonite clay baths, many parents of ADHD children claim they see fantastic results from using this type of detoxifying clay bath. A popular product is ‘Kids Clear Detoxifying Clay Bath’.
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Take 1 tablespoon of Colloidal Silver a day for 60 days www.utopiasilver.com Silver has long been recognized as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
In cases of ADHD, a nourishing diet is recommended as a poor diet has been cited as a probable cause of hyperactivity. Ideally a diet that helps the brain work better and lessens the symptoms of restlessness or lack of focus should be implemented.
- All fast food and processed foods such be avoided, along with refined sugars and carbohydrates and corn syrup. Additives, hydrogenated oils, salt, caffeine and carbonated drinks should also be avoided.
- By contrast, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are known to be beneficial and one fat you would want your child to have is DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid which is the key to unlocking an ADHD child’s brain. Studies have found that children with learning disorders, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, often have an EFA deficiency. The right kinds of fat are needed to help the brain fire information efficiently – an ADHD child experiences a miscommunication between brain cells.
- Fish, flax seeds and nuts are great sources of EFAs, especially Omega-3 essential fatty acid DHA that’s found in fish and some algae. Fish oilsupplements are an efficient way to help your child get the requisite amount. DHA omega-3 eggs and other foods with DHA added to them are also good sources.
- Protein is essential to sustain energy. Good sources are organic salmon, eggs, nut butters such as cashew and hummus, as well as yoghurt, bananas, brown rice cakes.
- Calcium and magnesium are essential. Give your child a tall glass of milk or lots of green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli to build strong bones and support cell membranes to aid the nervous system which could improve a child’s behaviour. Magnesium also has a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, and is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Foods rich in magnesium include beans and peas, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have responded positively to supplementation from calcium and magnesium, both of which are found naturally in many foods.
- Vitamin B rich foods are nutritional and include yeast, liver, whole-grain cereals and breads, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meats, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables and soy.
Get screened for food allergies and sensitivities, and then avoid eating those foods you are allergic or sensitive to. Allergy testing, NAET
Increase liquids such as filtered water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and immune enhancing herbal teas like astragalus (a Chinese herb) or nettle (8-10 cups per day).
Drink water with the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon upon rising and before going to bed.
If your abscess is chronic, eat plenty of organic berries (fresh or frozen) or drink berry leaf teas.
Include plenty of steamed leafy green vegetables and sea vegetables into your diet to ensure a good supply of vitamins and minerals needed for healing.
Eat fresh pineapple, it contains bromelain, which is very effective at reducing inflammation.
Eliminate all stressor foods from your diet, especially refined sugars, fried foods and alcohol for at least two weeks.
The following all contribute to a poor diet and will slow down the healing process so also adhere to this list:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com. The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- The following nutrients are useful for treating abscess and can be used in combination with each other: vitamin A (50,000 IU for two weeks), beta carotene (100,000 IU for two weeks), B-complex vitamin formula, vitamin C (5-10 grams daily), and zinc (60 mg daily for two weeks).
- Take Alli-C (super powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasite garlic capsules) – 4 capsules three times a day should be taken for the entire four months. 1 capsule is the equivalent to 40 cloves of garlic (without the breath to go with it).
- Additional supplements that can be considered include liquid chlorophyll and proteolytic enzymes (taken on an empty stomach).
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time to fight infection in the body.
- Take a good probiotic such as FiveLac – one packet three times a day to support healthy intestinal flora.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here
Prescription and non-prescription medication
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
As always the fastest most effective way to receive tailored advice to your own situation, you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Ayurvedic practitioners here.
A nurturing, positive environment in which the child gets a lot of attention and very little criticism can have positive effects. Calming herbs recommended include:
- Macuna prurens (works well for hyperactivity)
- Ashwagandha is considered one of the most important herbs in ayurvedic medicine and is a popular choice for treating anxiety, ADHD, insomnia, depression, hypothyroidism, respiratory infections, mono and other diseases. See article section for more details.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In TCM the heart and the liver are the two systems that are addresses in cases of hyperactivity.
To receive bespoke advice based upon your own situation you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here.
Your practitioner may suggest herbs such as schisandra berries, biota seed and zizyphus seed to calm the system. A nourishing diet would also be recommended.
- Vetiver is probably the best choice of oil for helping with ADHD. It is a calming essential oil. It has grounding, stress-relieving and nervous tension-alleviating properties. This oil helps balance your mood and also promotes sleep. A 2001 study by Dr. Terry Friedman found that smelling vetiver essential oil improved the performance of children with ADD and ADHD by 100 percent.
- Other useful oils are:
- Lavender (calming and good for all-round relaxation, as well as helpful for insomnia)
- Chamomile – Roman and German (calming and soothing)
- Mandarin (for anxiety and insomnia)
- Petitgrain (for nervous tension, anxiety and stress)
- Frankincense has been shown to go through the blood-brain barrier and promote brain balance on multiple levels.
You can disperse the aromas of the essential oils into the air by either using it in an oil burner or diluting a few drops in water and spraying it from a bottle. To add to bath water, put 5 drops in 1 tsp. of carrier oil such as grape seed oil and disperse the mixture into a bath.
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription. Find your closest Homeopath here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
- Aconite (for sleep problems)
- Arnica montana (when unable to settle down)
- Arsenicum album (for restlessness)
- Linden flower (before bedtime)
- Chamomile (for the nervous system)
- Red clover (liver detoxification)
- Milk Thistle (liver detoxification)
- Lemon balm
- St John’s Wort
- Passion flower
- American ginseng
Herbs can be administered either as tinctures or teas.
Reflexology works on the nervous and endocrine systems to help encourage a state of calmness and balance. Reflex points to work on are pituitary, pancreas, adrenals, ascending/transverse colon, liver and entire spine. Find your closest reflexology practitioner here.
Flower essence therapy
The combination of the different flowers depends on the child’s symptoms and emotional conditions, but the following include some of the Bach Flower essences that can help treat particular symptoms of ADHD:
- Aspen – nervousness, anxiety, fears coming from an unknown origin
- Cherry Plum – irrational thoughts and impulses combined with the fear of losing control
- Chestnut bud – failure to learn from past mistakes and experiences
- Chicory – self-absorption and argumentativeness
- Clematis – dreaminess, a feeling of not being grounded in physical reality, lack of interest in the present day
- Heather – excessive talkativeness, fear of being alone
- Impatiens – irritability, impatience
- Mimulus – shyness, self-consciousness, fear of familiar things
- Mustard – mood swings
- Scleranthus – indecisiveness
- Vervain – stubbornness and determination to do things one’s own way
- White chestnut – persistent worries and unwanted thoughts
Brain Gym is a program of 26 physical movements that enhance learning & performance in all areas. Developed in the 1970’s through the work of educators Dr.Paul & Gail Dennison in response to their quest to seek more effective ways to help children & adults with learning difficulties. See video section for brain gym exercises.
The principle behind the therapy is that you have an invisible energy force constantly flowing through your body. Blockages in the flow cause disease, illnesses and mental imbalances. Magnets are used to alter this energy force or electromagnetic field and restore the natural balance.
Read more: How to Treat ADHD With Magnetic Therapy
Epsom salts for detoxifying the body www.natural-alternative-adhd-treatment.com/epsom-salt.html
Can omega fats help kids with ADHD blog.lef.org/2012/08/omega-fats-help-kids-adhd.html
Essential oils for brain health essentialsurvival.org/essential-oils-add-autism
Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center – Attention Deficit Disorder & Hyperactivity Success www.all-natural.com/add.html
Ashwagandha – the amazing adaptogenic herb kidsfamiliesplanet.com/2011/07/07/ashwagandha-the-amazing-adaptogenic-herb
Candida cleanse for children www.livestrong.com/article/333049-candida-cleanse-for-children
Natural Supplements for ADHD: healthynutritionforlife.com/are-you-aware-of-natural-supplements-for-adhd
New effective non drug treatments for ADHD articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/05/31/adhd-treatment.aspx
Brain Gym/Kinesiology for Dyslexic, ADD, ADHD Kids www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpSBTVFgK0Y
Could food dyes trigger ADHD in children? Watch this video health.msn.com/health-topics/ADHD/video.aspx?vid=2e607f73-eafe-475a-a3d5-918ad724b27f%26tab=nbc_local&from=en-us_health
Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial, The Lancet: www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)62227-1/abstract
The Oxford-Durham Study: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Dietary Supplementation with Fatty Acids in Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder, Journal for the American Academy of Paediatrics : www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/115/5/1360.short
Meta-analysis shows significant association between dopamine system genes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Oxford Journals: hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/14/2276.short
Further Information (links and books)
Shirley’s ADHD blog (naturally treating her son Charlie who has ADHD) blog.naturalremedies4add.com
Alphabiotics, Alphabiotics International
Cranial Sacral Therapy, The Upledger Institute, Inc.
www.upledger.com (800) 233-5880
Omega-3s, Hemp Seeds
www.nutiva.com (800) 993-4367
Omega-3s, Cod Liver oil
www.drrons.com (877) 472-8701
Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride.
Helping families with troubled children. A preventive approach (2nd Ed) by Carole Sutton.
Help For The Hyperactive Child by William G. Crook MD.
Without Ritalin: A Natural Approach by Samuel A. Berne.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt email@example.com – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA firstname.lastname@example.org – meditation, stress
judith hoad email@example.com – herbalist.
Kath May firstname.lastname@example.org – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges email@example.com – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.