Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a dysfunction of the Central Nervous System (CNS), most specifically the reticular activating system.The most well known form of ADD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD affects an estimated 5% of school aged children in North America. It is the most common neurological disorder among children in this country.
SYMPTOMS AND CHARACHTERISTICS
This condition is marked by learning disabilities, frequent forgetfullness, impaired judgement, excessive talking/interupting, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, and orginization problems.
WHAT CAUSES ADHD and ADD?
Research shows the common factor in all forms of ADD and ADHD to be a coordination failure in the reticular activating system of the brain. This area of the brain helps coordinate external stimulus. A brain chemical, norepinephrine, carries information between different regions of the brain which allows certain areas to be activated while others are inhibited, allowing one to focus on selected external information, while excluding others.
In the case of ADD / ADHD this neural coordination is impaired, causing competitive stimulation from multiple external and internal sources -too much visual stimulation, too much sound stimulation, too many internal feelings and emotions, etc. When the limited neural network is overly taxed in this regard, it becomes unable to “tune in” or focus on some stimulation, while “tuning out,” or “turning down” (attenuating) other stimulation. The results can be irritation, aggression and anxiety.
OTHER CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
SUGAR CONSUMPTION blunts the brain’s ability to respond to norepinephrine, thus impairing brain coordination.
ALLERGIES Up to 90% of all children with ADD or ADHD are allergic to red, yellow, and blue dyes found in food products. Other common food allergens include, cow’s milk, peanuts, citrus, and tomatoes.
OXYGEN DEPRIVATION AT BIRTH
SMOKING DURING PREGNANCY
HOW CAN ADD/ADHD BE TREATED?
Conventional treatment of ADD / ADHD most often includes the use of psychostimulant or antidepressant drugs. Over time, however these drugs often become ineffective and cause a sort of rebound effect where frustration and anger return. Excessive use of stimulant drugs can cause lethargy and depression.
Fortunately there are effective alternatives to medications.
A combination of herbs and nutritional support can often balance the brain chemistry naturally without the side effects of medications. There are formulas available that are designed specifically to provide the essential framework of lipids and fatty acids, natural hormones, as well as neural growth and synchronization factors quintessential for neural and glial cell generation in order to meet the demands of increased neural “traffic” through the reticular activating system.
Many herbs have been shown to provide relief from ADD/ADHD symptoms without the side effects of prescription drugs. However, not all herbs are suitable for small children. They are best used synergistically in a reputable formula designed specifically for the treatment of ADD/ADHD.
AVOID SUGAR Research has shown that children with ADD and ADHD may not digest sugars properly. Sugar consumption has been linked to aggressive, restless behaviour.
IDENTIFY ALLERGIES Try to identify and avoid food allergens and neurotoxins such as artificial sweetners and food dyes.
AVOID SOFT DRINKS Both sugar-free and sweetened contain phosphates which displaces calcium/magnesium levels, causing exaggerated muscle activity.
GET PLENTY OF SUNLIGHT Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, is sometimes misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. Occurring mostly in northern latitudes during the winter months, SAD produces ADD-like symptoms. Consider exposure to full-spectrum lighting if unable to spend time outdoors each day.
Prescription For Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
12 Effective Ways to Help Your Add/Adhd Child: Drug-Free Alternatives for Attention-Deficit Disorders by Laura J. Stevens
THE LCP SOLUTION: The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia by Malcolm J. Nicholl
Transforming the Difficult Child; The Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser