Has your child been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD)? If so, your son or daughter may have been prescribed a medication to treat it. These medications can cause unwanted side effects. Look into natural solutions first.
What Are the Symptoms?
ADHD and ADD are very similar in their symptoms. Children with ADD will often misplace items, forget homework, stare off into space, blurt out inappropriate comments, interrupt others, become easily confused, and have difficulty learning in a structured environment.
Children with ADHD will exhibit the above symptoms and will also tend to also be fidgety, anxious, talk non-stop, run as though powered by a motor, and hardly ever sit still.
What Causes It?
The exact cause of ADHD and ADD is not known. However, there are several leading theories that attempt to explain the rise in the incidents of these disorders.
- Lack of Adequate Nutrition – For the last fifty years, the nutritional content of food has dropped considerably as fast, convenience, and highly-processed foods have replaced nourishing home-cooked meals.
- Pesticides/Environmental Toxins – Pesticides in our food have been shown to have a link to the rise in cases of ADD and ADHD. Manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies pump gallons of toxic chemicals into our air and water supply each day, making even breathing and drinking risky.
- Vaccines – Thimerosal, a preservative found in most vaccines, has also been linked to the staggering rise of ADD, ADHD and autism cases.
Is the Diagnosis Accurate?
It is estimated that out of the 4.5 million children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, 20 percent are misdiagnosed. Other physical and mental health problems may mimic certain symptoms of ADD and ADHD.
- Autism – Children on the autistic spectrum are often first diagnosed with ADD or ADHD because the symptoms are so similar. Children on the spectrum often have problems relating to others in social settings because they find it difficult, if not impossible, to read facial expressions and body language. This makes it hard for them to bond with others and leaves them open to social rejection. It is important to have children evaluated for this developmental disorder before they are given prescription medication for ADHD.
- Food/Environmental Allergies – Wheat, gluten, and food dyes are common causes of behavioral problems in children that could be easily mistaken for ADD or ADHD. Trade highly-processed foods and gluten-based grains for more wholesome fare such as organic fruits and vegetables, organic meat, poultry, wild-caught fish, nuts, natural nut butters, seeds, eggs, and healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, and avocado. Do this for at least one month to see if your child’s symptoms improve.
Also, environmental allergies can affect children and cause the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Use laundry detergents, household cleaners, and soaps that are free of artificial fragrances and dyes for the better mental and physical health of the whole family.
Beware of antibacterial products containing triclosan too. Triclosan is a highly potent synthetic antibacterial agent that has been linked to immune disorders, neurological dysfunction, hormone imbalance, mental and behavioral problems, and a weakening of muscle function.
Personally, I use castile soap for just about everything except for washing dishes. It just isn’t powerful enough to cut through tough grease on its own.
- Intestinal Parasites – Though intestinal parasites are sometimes thought of as an infection that can only be contracted by traveling abroad, it is estimated that 50 percent of the United States population is infected with some type of parasite. Your child could be one of them. Intestinal parasites cause a host of physical and mental symptoms that may mimic ADD and ADHD. To learn more, click here.
- Thyroid Problems – An undiagnosed thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can cause irritability, anxiety, depression, and mood swings that may be attributed to ADD.
- Sleep Disorders – If children do not get adequate sleep, they may be inattentive, irritable, anxious, and confused.
- Seizure Disorders – Some children experience seizures that last only a few seconds to a minute. These unnoticed seizures can cause brain damage and may present as the symptoms of attention deficit disorder.
- Lead Toxicity – Lead poisoning can cause difficulty in concentration, poor academic performance, decreased cognitive function, and poor memory.
- Sensory Processing Disorders – Children who have sensory disorders often require a lot of stimulation and may act out on impulse. They are usually clumsy and accident-prone and their symptoms worsen with overstimulation.
Conventional Treatments for ADHD
Children with ADHD are often prescribed stimulant or antipsychotic drugs. Though they may dull the symptoms and help your child pay better attention, they do not get to the root of the problem or “cure” the disorder at all. It’s still there. It’s just being temporarily suppressed.
These medications may also cause dangerous side effects including anxiety, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, stomach pain, allergic reactions, hallucinations, heart problems, abnormal weight gain, violent mood swings, swelling, hives, and many more.
Natural Treatments for ADHD
The most important natural treatment for attention deficit disorder is eliminating any possible food and/or environmental causes.
- Eliminate Junk Foods – Junk foods contain high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, food dyes, and other dangerous additives that can cause a host of physical and mental symptoms, including those similar to ADHD.
- Cut Out Gluten – Limit your child’s intake of wheat/gluten products. In an intolerant child, gluten can wreck havoc on both physical and mental health.
- Krill Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids are of great importance to your child’s developing brain. In an ideal world, we would get all the healthy omega-3 fatty acids we need from fish. However, our oceans have become highly contaminated with mercury, which is toxic to the brain and nervous system. Krill oil has been proven to be one of the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids as it contains little to no mercury. This is because it comes from the smallest creature on the food chain and therefore absorbs the least amount of toxins.
- Get Outside – According to research, children with ADHD benefit from spending more time in nature.
Attention deficit disorder can be difficult to manage and diagnose. These tips should help you get to the bottom of your child’s behavior and help them to live a happier, healthier, more focused life.