ADHD: Causes and Treatments

 By: Richard Hellyer
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that is largely neuroligical in nature. ADHD is characterised by inattentiveness, restlessness and/or inappropriate impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Although commonly associated with children, this disorder can persist into adulthood. Symptoms often interfere with children learning and socialising.

Common traits are:

* being easily distracted
* finding difficulty in following instruction and with organisation
* excessive fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, excessive talking and reckless behaviour

ADHD symptoms can appear before two years of age but usually it is before five years of age. Boys are more affected than girls. 40% of cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are grown out of by puberty but cases do continue into adolescence and adulthood causing problems with concentration, insomnia and excessive thirst.

ADHD often goes undiagnosed. Children may be seen as trouble-makers or as unintelligent. Their parents may be blamed as being bad parents.

ADHD is generally thought to be a persistent and chronic syndrome for which there is no medical cure available. However the condition can be treated and symptoms reduced meaning diagnosis can be very beneficial.

Treatments

Treatments for ADHD include medication, using drugs such as Ritalin, Dexedrine and sometimes, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. Although, drugs like Ritalin are extremely effective in some instances, they may have worrying potential side effects including, damage to the cardiovascular and nervous system. Recommendations are that children under five should not be prescribed them and those over should only be on them for a month at a time.

Other treatments include, management techniques, designed to help parents and teachers cope with the hyperactive child and psychological intervention, including, positive reinforcement to help the child understand the type of behaviour appropriate for him/her and psychodynamic therapy (one to one counselling).

Dietary and Lifestyle Conditions:

The Feingold Diet

The principles of the Feingold Diet are that the hyperactive child's behaviour is adversely affected by:

* All food and drink containing artificial colouring and flavouring, including tartrazines, sulphites, potassium and sodium nitrate, benzoic acid, BHA, BHT, MSG and butylene glycol As well as sugar, omit artificial sweeteners especially aspartame and foods containing them, as these tend to make symptoms worse.

* Natural foods containing salicylates, including apples, almonds, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, pickles, grapes, peaches, plums, raisins, oranges, vinegar. Salicylic acid is also, commonly found in phenolic compounds added to food, aspirin, cough mixture and many other children's medication.

Therefore these foods should be avoided - or moderated if possible.

It may also help to keep to organic food in the diet and include:

- Wholegrain foods
- Seafood
- Legumes

which are high in zinc.

It is also recommended to take zinc as a supplement, as children with ADHD tend to be lacking in this mineral. in particulary boys do need extra zinc around puberty.

The following supplements may also help if your child is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- B vitamins
- Essential fatty acids - omega 3 and omega 6
- Evening primrose oil
- Iron (for deficiency only)
- L-carnitine
- Magnesium
- Vitamin B6
- Zinc

This article is for information only and the author accepts no liability for any action taken. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from ADHD please seek advice from your physician.
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