Attention Deficit Disorder
and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
are baffling and frustrating conditions in children that are not helped by the fact that experts do not agree on their exact cause or causes.
The American Psychiatric Association lists 14 signs, of which at least 8 must be present for a child to be officially classified as ADD/ADHD.
The 14 signs are
1. Frequent fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated.
2. Having difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.
3. Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
4. Having difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities.
5. Often blurting out answers before questions are completed.
6. Having difficulty in following instructions.
7. Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
8. Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another.
9. Having difficulty playing quietly.
10. Often talking excessively.
11. Often interrupting or intruding on others.
12. Often not listening to what is being said.
13. Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities.
14. Often engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences.
While there are children who struggle with serious inattention and hyperactive or impulsive behaviors around the clock, so that they might be considered definitely ADD or ADHD, this label is frequently given to many other children as well - perhaps without just cause.
The use of pharmaceutical drugs for these conditions
In spite of the trend for several past decades to prescribe drugs for treating this disorder, it has been found that such stimulant drugs may provide no lasting improvement.
Many parents, concerned about the long term use of prescription drugs on their children, look for other ways to help them.
Dr Mercola has this to say to parents on this subject
"Drugging children with narcotics to treat behavioral problems should be a very last resort, only implemented after all other options have been exhausted - if they are regarded as an option at all. Other options exist that are far safer, and involve no drugs whatsoever! So before you consider drugs, please consider implementing the following strategies first, in addition to making sure that your child is assessed in an age-appropriate manner before labeling him or her with ADHD:
- Eliminate most grains and sugars from your child’s diet. Grains and sugars both tend to cause allergies in sensitive individuals. Even organic, whole grain can cause problems in many children so it would be wise to give them a grain holiday and see if their behavior improves. A 2006 study showed that ADHD is markedly over represented in those with untreated celiac disease, indicating that wheat may be an especially problematic grain worth eliminating as a precaution.
- Replace soft drinks (whether diet and regular), fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure, clean non-fluoridated water.
- Increase omega-3 fats by taking a high quality animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil. Research has confirmed that animal-based omega-3 fat can improve the symptoms of ADHD more effectively than drugs like Ritalin and Concerta.
- Consider a natural drug alternative such as the pine bark extract known as pycnogenol. It is one of over a dozen natural substances that have been studied to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.
- Minimize your use of nearly all processed fats, especially trans fats as they disrupt nerve cell intercommunication.
Avoid all processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, which may trigger or worsen symptoms.
- Clear your house of dangerous pesticides and other commercial chemicals. Pesticide exposure has been linked with ADHD.
- Avoid commercial washing detergents and cleaning products used on clothes, and replace them with naturally derived cleaning products with no added perfumes, softeners, etc. Permanent press or stain-resistant products also contain chemicals that can initiate ADHD-like reactions in sensitive individuals.
- Spend more time in nature. Researchers have found that exposing ADHD children to nature is an affordable, healthy way of controlling symptoms.
- Investigate sensory therapy and emotional wellness tools. Instead of looking for a quick fix, encourage ADHD sufferers to talk, and find out what emotions are causing issues. Stress is the frequently unappreciated and overlooked variable that can easily worsen ADHD. If the parents are having trouble in their relationship this can easily influence the child's behavior."
is a supplement worth investigating (which includes natural amino and fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid) and could be helpful in cases of ADHD as it seems to strengthen memory, increase vigilance and attention, boost learning, increase mental acuity, intensify concentration, relieve depression and improve mood as well as decrease stress.
It has been found to work on adults and children alike.