Attention Deficit Disorder affects approximately 5 percent of children ages 9 to 17 and possibly 2 to 4 percent of adults are affected. Boys are affected 5 times more often than girls.
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD
The principal characteristics of ADD (Inattention) and ADHD (Hyperactive-Impulsivity) include:
- Hard time staying focused on any one thing or getting bored with a task after only a few minutes; difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Inability to pay attention to details or making careless errors in activities or school work
- Easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
- Rarely follows instructions
- Forgetfulness and losing things for tasks in daily activities
- Problems organizing tasks and activities; skipping from one incomplete activity to another
- Dislikes or avoids tasks that require mental effort
- Listening problems
Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) seldom are impulsive or hyperactive. They seem to have more of a problem paying attention. They appear to be daydreaming, "spacey", easily confused, slow moving, and sluggish. ADD children have a hard time processing information.
- Constant hyperactive motion, "on the go", fidgeting or squirming
- Difficulty sitting still, wiggling feet, touching everything
- Excessive running or climbing
- Difficulty playing quietly
- Problems with interrupting or intruding
- Blurts out inappropriate comments
- Displays emotions without restraint
- Acts without regard to the consequences
- Difficulty waiting for a turn or things
To be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) in children, symptoms must be present before the age of seven, must have lasted longer than 6 months, and be negatively affecting at least two areas of a child's life such as school, home, or friendships.
Being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) labels this person with a mental illness listed in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition). Criteria for ADHD is mostly normal childhood behavior, especially for young boys.
Did you know that…
- Schools receive additional money from state and federal government for every child diagnosed and drugged?
- Once diagnosed, a child taking a psycho-tropic, psycho-stimulant drug after the age of 12 now is ineligible for military service?
- A subjective checklist that is used for the criteria for diagnosis for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is very similar to the checklists used for gifted and talented children?
The cause of ADD/ADHD is still being debated. Some theories include:
Attention disorders often run in families. Studies indicate that 25% of close relatives in families of ADHD children also have ADHD, whereas the rate in the general population is 5%.
Studies have shown possible correlation between cigarette, drug, and alcohol use during pregnancy. Also during pregnancy and delivery, the following are factors:
- Overexposure to radiation
- Infectious diseases
- Complicated delivery
After birth, the following can contribute to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) symptoms:
- Seizures from fever
- Head injuries
High levels of lead from the environment can place children at risk.
High levels of mercury in the body may cause agitation, headaches, restless behavior, and irritability. See Mercury poisoning.
Pesticides can create nervousness, poor concentration, irritability, memory problems, and depression.
Food Intolerances and Allergies:
Increased sugar consumption is a contributing factor to behavioral challenges and may worsen ADD/ADHD symptoms. Sugar depletes the body of essential minerals and B vitamins. Sugar impairs the functioning of the immune system.
Food additives—especially artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives—are believed to cause hyperactivity. Also allergies to milk, corn, wheat, grains, eggs, apple/grape juice, peanut/peanut butter, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, and yeast are to be considered.
Dust, molds, pollen, and chemical odors also are allergens that pose an allergic reaction and may be a contributing factor to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
Calcium and/or magnesium deficiencies are a very common cause of ADD/ADHD. Signs of these deficiencies also are accompanied by light and/or restless sleep, along with daytime sleepiness.
Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to despondency, fatigue, and often aggression and irritability.
Low tyrosine, an amino acid that the body uses to synthesize dopamine and norepinephrine, can be involved in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Increasing tyrosine in a person with ADHD may be helpful but is contraindicated when one is on certain medications. Please consult with your physician for proper assessment.
Thyroid conditions (hyperthyroidism) can manifest the symptoms of hyperactivity.
High Copper and Low Sulfur—With Or Without Elevated Aluminum:
Symptoms usually include a "foggy" mind, lack of concentration and poor memory. This requires supplementation of copper antagonists but avoiding beverages or food sources high in copper and aluminum. Copper sources to avoid include cocoa/chocolate products, coffee, tea, soy products, nuts, seeds, shellfish, wheat germ. Avoiding aluminum sources packaged in aluminum lined containers and numerous other sources also are recommended.
Treatment With Psycho-Tropic Drugs
It is truly sad that most parents are pressured into or conform to taking the traditional—or maybe the easy—route. This means dosing their child with psycho-tropic drugs. Parents are not informed enough or are oblivious to the side effects these drugs can cause.
A serious side effect of these drugs given to children with ADD/ADHD is death. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) causes constriction of veins and arteries which causes the heart to work harder and lead to enlargement and damage.
Please look at Death from Ritalin: The Truth Behind ADHD. Psychoses, including manic-like and schizophrenic-like disorders, are other side effects. Psychotic symptoms caused by these stimulants also can include hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and delusions.
The onset of psychotic symptoms leads the physicians to then prescribe additional drugs, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Children who were put on stimulants for "inattention" or "hyperactivity" now end up taking multiple psychiatric drugs, causing more psychoses!
On a milder note, if there is such a thing as mild side effects, children on these stimulants can have a lack of appetite, trouble falling asleep, headaches, emotional sensitivity, rapid pulse or increased blood pressure, stunted growth, nervous habits (like picking at skin), stuttering, muscle tics or twitches, and jerking movements.
Of the 7,000,000 children labeled and registered as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), half are prescribed Ritalin. The stock-market value of its manufacturer, Novartis, has soared. Now this company and others are working fast to introduce other drugs into the classroom, including Prozac and Luvox, which has just been approved by the FDA for pediatric use.
In the U.S. in 2001, pharmaceutical companies made more than $600 million in profits just on stimulant drugs used for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Imagine if ADHD didn't exist…these drug companies' profits would disappear.
Alternative Treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder
- Determine a child's specific mineral content and/or metal toxicities through a hair tissue mineral analysis. This is of the utmost importance! See hair analysis.
- Incorporate a nutritional protocol and/or detoxification program defined by the hair analysis results.
- Eliminate hydrogenated fats, an altered chemical structure that interferes with the metabolism of fats in our body. Trans fats are found in prepackaged foods, french fries, and snack foods including chips, cookies, etc.
- Eliminate dairy products.
- Eliminate all refined sugar.
- Discontinue foods containing additives, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colorings.
- Determine allergic foods and eliminate them from the child’s diet.
Parasite screening. Parasites release toxins that then should be addressed through a detoxification program. Common symptoms of parasites include flu-like symptoms, thrashing in bed, grinding the teeth, difficulty falling asleep, not resting well, craving high carbohydrate foods, and sometimes salt and sugar.
- Family counseling.
- Chiropractic spinal screening to determine subluxations. Having one's body free of any nerve interference caused by misaligned bones or subluxations can allow the body to work at its utmost optimum ability.
If you have any questions or comments about Attention Deficit Disorder, please contact Dr. Akin.