Homeopathy and ADHD
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neuro-behavioral disorder that arises in childhood and may continue into the teen years and adulthood. Children and adults with ADHD may appear inattentive or distracted, hyperactive, and/or impulsive (act without thinking).
ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental health problem among children.
- About 6% of Canadian children
- Boys to Girls 3:1
- Boys are more hyperactive while girls are more inattentive
- Children with ADHD usually have at least one first-degree relative who also has the disorder
- ADHD is 4 to 9 times more common in boys (hyperactivity) than in girls (attention deficit)
- Maternal drug, alcohol, and cigarette use
- Pre-term birth and low birth weight
- Low Apgar scores at birth (difficult labour)
- Foods and drinks: Colorings and preservatives, sugar, fizzy drinks, junk food
Signs and symptoms of ADHD/ADD:
Signs and symptoms begin before the age of 4, but usually diagnosed after entering school (low academic performance). Children may be diagnosed with ADHD if they exhibit significant and disabling symptoms at home and at school for at least 6 months.
Signs of hyperactivity:
- Cannot play independently or quietly
- Cannot sit still or fidgets when sitting
- Restless, jittery, and always moving
- Talks excessively in a loud voice
Signs of impulsiveness:
- Frequently interrupts and blurts out responses
- Impatient, cannot tolerate waiting or line-ups, becomes agitated
- Unable to control impulses, and acts before thinking (such as crossing the street without looking, making rude comments, or exhibiting dangerous or inappropriate behavior)
- May not be able to control frustration and anger
Signs of inattentiveness:
- Cannot focus or concentrate; easily distracted
- Does not pay attention to what he or she has been told
- Has a hard time finishing large or involved tasks without frequent reminders to stay on task
- Is not well organized; may appear forgetful or careless
- May appear to daydream and not listen
- Part of the problem is that the guidelines for making the diagnosis of attention deficit with or without hyperactivity are ill defined and subjective.
- To diagnose ADHD, doctors use a checklist of symptoms. The more symptoms that are ticked and the longer they have been present, the more likely a diagnosis of ADHD.
- In diagnosing children, the symptoms must appear before age 7, and cause a significant challenge to everyday functioning in at least two areas of life (usually home and school).
Management of ADHD:
Treating ADHD holistically is a multi-step process.
Diet: Diets that restrict possible allergens may help improve behavior in some children with ADHD:
Try to avoid:
- Chemical additives/preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Milk and eggs
- Chocolate, sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Foods containing “salicylates” like berries, chili powder, grapes, peaches, plums, prunes, and tomatoes
- Eating foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates.
- Parent skills training offered by specialized clinicians provides parents with tools and techniques for managing their child's behavior. Behavior therapy rewards appropriate behavior and discourages destructive behavior. It can be performed by parents and teachers working together with therapists and doctors.
- Encourage a regular bedtime.
- Limit "screen time" (computer, video and handheld games, television, movies, etc.) to 1-2 hours per day.
- Training programs: Re-train your child's brain with special techniques such as the biofeedback therapy.
- Supplements: Treatment with supplements like zinc, L-carnitine, vitamin B6 and magnesium, may help improve symptoms of ADHD.
Homeopathic treatment for ADHD:
ADHD is treated medically with stimulant medications. Methylphenidate (Ritalin or Concerta) is the most commonly used medication for ADHD. While these medications can at times be effective if carefully monitored, side effects are possible, and most of these drugs should not be given to children under age six. The most common side effects from these medications are trouble sleeping, decrease in appetite, and nervousness.
Many parents look to provide their children with non-toxic medicines and prefer to consider other options when they can. Others find that Ritalin is not effective and then look for alternatives. Homeopathy is a safe and effective form of medicine that works with the body's natural defenses, making it easier for children to integrate back into school life and social activities.
Unlike conventional medicine, homeopathy seeks to treat each child as an individual. There is no homeopathic Ritalin. A detailed history is fundamental to the correct choice of remedy. The homeopath will ask about the health of the child and the family, the pregnancy and delivery, early development, vaccinations, life events, schooling, favorite foods, and drinks to tailor the remedy to the child.
The aim of homeopathic treatment is to stimulate healing at the deepest level, and to allow a gentle return to health. Ritalin and related drugs act by suppressing the symptoms. One common complaint is that the children lose the good side of their hyperactivity, which we aim to retain with homeopathy. It is as important to nurture the creative spirit, the imagination, and the energy of these children and at the same time to remove the unacceptable behavior patterns.
If you have further questions about homeopathy and ADHD, please contact us.