ADD/ADHD and ChiropracticClick to Download Article
By: Dr. Stephen O’Neil
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their current medical treatments have been the subject of much debate in recent years. This debate is for good reason. The most common treatment and perhaps most controversial treatment for ADD/ADHD in recent years has been the prescription of Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs. The number of prescriptions for Methylphenidate (Ritalin) has increased by a factor of more than five since the early nineties. More shocking than this is that over 85% of the world's Ritalin is produced and consumed by the U.S. The biggest question of these statistics should be, are there that many children that require psychotropic drugs to normalize their brain function? Aren't there any safer, more natural alternatives to the use of psychotropic drugs? Why have the incidences of ADD/ADHD increased so drastically in recent years? Why is ADHD being diagnosed so much more in North America than the rest of the world?
The fact is that ADD/ADHD has been around for years but it had not been defined as it is today. The syndrome today is diagnosed almost always by symptoms alone. It is said that the ADD/ADHD child can be characterized by symptoms of inconsolable crying, screaming, restlessness, destructive/difficult behavior, aggressiveness, withdrawn behavior, vocal repetition, and loudness to name a few on a very long list of common childhood traits. These diagnoses often come from a questionnaire filled out by a parent. The problem with this is that the medical model describes ADD/ADHD as some sort of biochemical imbalance in the brain. This is why drugs are prescribed, to create an artificial balance in the brain. Why is the root of this supposed imbalance not being explored and would it not make more sense to remove the factors which are causing such an imbalance and allow the body to regulate itself?
There is a growing body of evidence showing ADD/ADHD and some other learning disorders are more often linked to dysfunctional home life, heavy metal toxicities, nutritional deficiencies and food and chemical allergies. There have been many studies performed showing great results in managing the hyperactive child and improving learning disorders using natural means. There has been strong correlation between ADD/ADHD and deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron, and zinc. On the other hand high levels of copper, lead, cadmium, and aluminum have been noted in learning disabled children. Some studies found similar results when removing or reducing refined sugars, food additives, preservatives, and dyes from the child's diet. Any of these alternative treatments would be healthier and more natural for the body than psychotropic pharmaceuticals.
For those with children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD some dietary and lifestyle changes are highly recommended.
1. Focus on natural, mostly organic foods with as few pesticides or herbicides as possible.
2. Determine if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try elimination diets.
3. Stop the use of pesticide sprays in the house
4. Avoid the use of nicotine, medications, alcohol, and other drugs during pregnancy.
5. Breastfeed. The first months and years of a child's life are critical to physical and psychological development and breast milk is the perfect source of nutrition.
6. Have your children see a Chiropractor. Misalignments in the spine cause nerve interference and prevent proper nerve signal conduction, this can confuse messages to and from the brain, which also plays a role in overall brain function.
7. See a Naturopathic doctor for homeopathic and dietary alternatives to psychotropic mind-altering drugs.
There are alternatives available for the treatment of ADD/ADHD, which provide much less risk in a much less invasive manner and provide very similar results.
Maria Montessori once wrote, "It is easy for us to substitute our will for that of a child by means of suggestion or coercion but when we have done this, we have robbed him of his greatest right, the right to construct his own personality."