ATTENTION DEFICIT AND ADD
Why be concerned?
After the swimming, sun and late nights up comes kids going back to school ! For some it is an exciting time and their kids look forward to it. For others it is an increased stress because their child has behavioural traits that interfere with optimal learning and socialization.
Do you or your child have difficulty with : sitting in one place, reduced patience, paying attention to details, making careless mistakes, following instructions carefully or completely and losing or forgetting school work or toys?
You or your child may have ADD or subclinical ADD. ADD is the most frequently diagnosed behaviour disorder in North America ( 3-6% of school aged children). The statistics of undiagnosed ADD and other subclinical traits such as: Behaviour Concerns, Learning, Focus and Concentration Concerns are much higher. According to the International Narcotics Control Board the consumption rate of methylphenidate or Ritalin the most frequently prescribed for the disorder is significantly higher in the United States and Canada than in other countries.
Why is this happening?
Our modern day lifestyle often reduces focus on the basics of good nutrition, good sleep patterns and too much activity and thus less human connections.
What are the diagnostic criteria of ADD?
There are no definitive medical tests or known biological markers to diagnose one with ADD. Physicians base their diagnosis on the first level of individual’s behavioural features in four core areas:
An individual may have impairment in all , one or a combination of the above four core areas.
The second level of criteria of ADD include:
- poor school performance
- poor relations with family
- peers and teachers
- low self esteem.
The third level of criteria of ADD includes that these impairments be:
- present in more than one setting ( ie home, school , etc.)
- have lasted longer than six months
- at least some of the impairments were apparent under the age of seven.
What are the Health Connections related to this trend?
Natural approaches are understanding the root cause and the Health Connections in the path that resulted in their outcome. The pathway from beginning to end result in the Health Wellness Spectrum( HWS)© is as follows: ( For more details of the HWS © see the April 2008 Newsletter Allergies, Asthma and Eczema)
I. Nervous System– Balance of Introversion and Extroversion
II. Adrenal Gland I– Hyper energy, Reduced Sleep
III. Adrenal Gland II– Reduced energy, Need for More Sleep
V. Digestion– FIT
VI. Insulin Resistance– Hypoglycemia
VII. Anxiety, Depression
VIII. ADD, Autism, PDD
Thus ADD and subclinical Behaviour concerns are about the nervous system being hyperstimulated . This in turn over stimulates the adrenal gland to produce higher amounts of hormones such as cortisol. When cortisol is at a higher level we see patterns of sleep concerns from infancy such as difficulty falling asleep , staying asleep and inability to nap during the day for infants.
When the body is in this sympathetic state for too long it reduces the digestive enzymes it produces and thus the body has more of a difficult time digesting and the individual develops inflammation patterns , food ( ie sugar, colours and dyes used in foods, dairy etc) and environmental sensitivities. Thus when an individual has a food intolerance their behaviour can change dramatically.
The body eventually becomes tired and the individual has to pump out a lot of adrenaline to stay awake, causing hyper activity.
Most often these individuals appear extroverted in that they take on energy easily from their environment. However they have a very difficult time balancing their core need for introversion or recharging from time alone. Apart of the treatment approach is teaching the person how to recharge and have down time.
Because these individuals burn so much fuel in the day with their high energy they tend to have hypoglycaemic traits where their blood sugar quickly can go low and thus they crave sugars, carbohydrates for quick fuel.
What are our Natural Treatment Options?
Thus one can see that in treating any one of these conditions layers of support are needed.
A customized Optihealth Wellness Centre Approach would be to:
- Fill in your Health Wellness Spectrum( HWS)© Questionnaire- Adult or Kids Wellness
- Have your Metabolic Urine Tested
- Assess your score on the HWS
- Have a New Patient Visit
- Test for Food and Environmental Intolerances
- Individual Optimal Nutritional Plan
- Individualized Optimal Lifestyle Plan- including behaviour modification techniques
- Individualized Homeopathic Plan
- Individualized Botanical Medical Plan
- Individualized Physical Therapeutic Plan
Note each persons plan may have all or a combination of several of the above.
What are a few Naturopathic Remedy options to easily consider? Check with your Naturopath for exact dosing that is customized.
1. Increase in your diet fuel for your bodies brain engine such as- Essential Fatty Acids in particular DHA which is found highest in fish oils)
2. Friendly bacteria- acidophillus – to promote digestion and reduce reactions to food sensitivities
3. Managing Food Intolerances
4. Keeping Blood Sugar Levels even– ie protein snacks and food every 3 hrs
5. Homeopathic Remedies- customized to your child iea. Lycopodium– Club Moss
- • Fearful but work hard not to show it
• Bossy often
• May assume role of class clown
• Easily distracted
• Reluctant to try new things for fear of failure
• Craving for sweets
• Often has gas and bloating
b. Veratrum Album– White hellebore
- • Intelligent, precocious, verty restless won’t stop even to eat
• May have repetitive behaviours ie stacking blocks, cutting or tearing things
• Bossy and debative
• Touching, hugging and kissing inappropriately is common
• Often chilly
• Often like cold food, pickles and fruit
6. Behaviour Modification: a. Create a Plan for Redirecting Old Behaviour into New
Ie impulsive biting to skills to join into group time
b. 3 Cs ( Dr. Peter Jensen MD, NY State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University)
- • Clarity of Expectations– ie Rules on blackboard ie no touching, speaking during lesson
• Calmness ( Many adults need time outs before dealing with the situation ie ADD themselves b/c of genetic predisposition)
c. Understand your child’s learning needs ie Supportive, Coaching or just Supervision Needed – for example a child who is fearful of failure will need a supportive style to begin with as he/she may not put their hand up to ask questions, but would need the task explained to them, guided on the first few questions and then rechecked a few minutes later. Once their confidence builds this could be changed to coaching style then eventually Supervision Style
d. Targeted Modified Behaviour with Reward ( not bribes )
Ie if child is disrupting class 10 X / day shift and reward when it is reduced to 5X / day and continue.
e. Reward System- short term and long term
Ie short term- daily 15 minutes later to stay up
Ie long term- weekly points to larger outing ie dinner out
f. Encouraging Introversion Time-
- ie quiet time in room to have soft music and play 20 minutes after school
ie brief time away from high activity ie assist parent in getting water for the rest of the kids
ie bath after school
ie touch therapy – massage
Note if you are and adult and wonder if you have ADD- for the adult ADD Questionnaire go to http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=974&cn=3
Wellness Foods of the Month: Did You Know?
With September comes preparing healthy quick snacks that are loaded with brain and body power to keep them going! Consider going back to the basics and add snacks like apples, blueberries, carrots, cucumbers which are only a wash and a toss into the lunch away!
Does an Apple a day keep the doctor away? They definitely can!
A major review study published in the Nutrition Journal found apples were the most consistently associated with reduce risk of asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that adding just one large apple a day has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol 8-11%. But don’t forget the skin! Apple skin along with onion skin are two major food sources of a potent flavonoid called quercitin which is a powerful antioxidant which binds to toxins and remove them from our bodies. This allows us to have clearer focus and concentration.
Blueberries are bursts of flavour that are easily added to muffins or just tossed in a container. They are loaded with antioxidants which are needed to boost body and brain power!
Try being as ” cool as a cucumber or carrot” by making them into slices of flowers by cutting lengthwise two strips a few millimeters beside each other in about 4 places and slice. These are full of vitamin A, vitamin C and more antioxidants that help prevent allergies, asthma and improve eyesight.
Onions are a easy, wonderful addition to any meal .They can help you live longer and stronger due to their nutrients including: chromium which helps keep your blood sugar and energy even, vitamin C an overall antioxidant, numerous flavonoids including quercitin which helps allergies and fiber to help you detoxify. These white gems are also an old fashioned remedy to help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The latest research shows their health benefits in the prevention of colon cancer and a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found a new compound Onions also help maintain healthy bones. So add an onion to your next meal today!
Dr. Michael Lyon, MD, Dr Christine Laurell, PHD
Wellness Comment- An Excellent Overview of Attention Deficit Causes, Brain Changes and Brain Food Options
Wellness Comment- Homeopathic Remedies that may be helpful to children with Behavior Concerns
Raising Your Spirited Child-Mary Kurchinka
Wellness Comment- Excellent resource for parents in understanding Extroverted and Introverted needs and other tools to support your child
Wellness Comment- Excellent resource to understand how to teach and be a great leader for business but also your kids!