One of the most frequent questions I get in the office is “what do you know about/do for ADD or ADHD?”. To preface this, I’ll begin by saying I was personally diagnosed with ADD (not hyperactive) in the sixth grade. I was on various different medications up until I went to college when I took myself off all forms of medication and started looking into other ways to manage my “lack of attentiveness.”
Not that any of that matters, really, but I do think it has something to do with how I look at ADD/HD today. First off, this condition affects a substantial number of children and an estimated 4.4 percent of adults. Secondly, the condition is often written off as a synonym for bad behavior. While many kids with ADHD may at times exhibit bad behavior, many kids who behave poorly do not actually have ADHD. And Third, these kids statistically end up with a lower socioeconomic standing and lower education (32% of children diagnosed with ADHD drop out of high school). And the numbers are getting larger not smaller. I will explain shortly how to break these statistics.
The ADHD demographic didn’t happen that way by being unintelligent either. In fact, you will often find that some of the smarter or more advanced kids are the ones who are most afflicted. Many mothers with these children will brag that the child walked at 8 months, or started reading at 28 months. This is a BAD thing. Children’s brains go through a process where both sides of the brain need to develop at certain near-equal rates. The left side of the brain is where logic is derived, whereas your social acuity is derived from the right side. ADHD occurs when the left brain dominates the conversation. It is a developmental, SOCIAL disorder and it is certainly not reflective of a lack of intelligence.
The term social disorder may sound odd. The child could be the most popular kid in school. This is not the type of social I’m referring to. What we mean by this is that the right and wrong time for behaviors have very blurry lines. Acting out can be common place, attention to instructions nearly nonexistent, and an overall feeling of unintelligence becomes the result .
The first thing we must acknowledge is that this is a developmental problem, not a chemical problem. Therefore, chemical treatments are largely ineffective. ADHD is most commonly treated with stimulants such a Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, etc. But these drugs cause a host of problems with prolonged use and, while the child may be more attentive for a time, still fail to show positive results when used long term.
Here is the best advice I can give on this topic.
Focus on right brain development and brain health.
Step one) stop feeding your kids junk. That may not sound politically correct, but Micky-D’s is not food. Processed foods, artificial colorings, soda’s etc. do nothing for encouraging brain health. So, if your kid starts his day with a pop-tart, put this article down and clean out your pantry, revisit the rest after.
Step two) Omega-3’s are essential. Anyone keeping score on how many times I’ve written about these? Your brain stops firing on all cylinders at a 5 to 1 Omega 6 to 3 ratio. Most people who get their blood checked run around a 7 to 1 and I’ve even seen 12 to 1 (not sure how he tied his shoes that day). Omega bright can be found on amazon and is a wonderful supplement. Please do your kid a favor and get them on these.
Step three) Get ready to rumble with this one. We need to limit sources of “instant gratification”. This includes (but not limited to): video games, cell phones, tv etc. Believe it or not, socialization at home or with kids (preferably not ones who encourage the poor behavior) will help improve the child’s outcome. Keeping kids involved in team sports and extra curricular’s is a great way to keep kids busy and growing developmentally in a positive social environment.
Step four) You guessed it, see a chiropractor. Most chiropractors are equipped to handle ADHD, but some may have more training or experience than others. It is extremely beneficial for the child to have regular parasympathetically-focused chiropractic adjustments (the neurological break pedal).
I hope this information finds you well. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, Be Well.