ADD and ADHD don’t have to control your life |

ADD and ADHD don’t have to control your life

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are very common health problems. It’s estimated that between 3 percent and 10 percent of the population in the United States is correctly diagnosed with attention deficit disorders. It generally shows up more often in boys than it does in girls.

ADD and ADHD are commonly believed to be childhood conditions. In fact, physicians believed at one time that the symptoms disappeared in adolescence. Evidence indicates that 25 percent to 75 percent of people with ADD or ADHD carry into adulthood, where it can affect all aspects of their lives. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research in Rockville, Md., reported in 1999 that one-third of children diagnosed with ADHD also qualify for a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), one-fourth also qualify for a diagnosis of conduct disorder (CD), more than one-fourth qualify for a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, and almost one-third of children with ADHD also have more than one of these other conditions. Overall, the prevalence rates of ADHD with other diagnoses are high. Estimates of the rates of various conditions in children with ADHD range from 12.36 percent (learning disorders) to 35.15 percent (conduct disorder).

As most people are aware, one of the common drugs prescribed for ADD/ADHD symptoms is ritalin. Are there natural methods that can help control or even eliminate the symptoms? Surprisingly, there are numerous natural compounds that have demonstrated excellent results.

Dietary guidelines include elimination of all refined sugar. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics in February 1995 demonstrated that when the simple sugar sucrose was administered to children, adrenaline levels could be 10 times higher than their normal level even five hours later. A very high percentage had difficulty concentrating, combined with anxiety and irritability. By eliminating simple, refined sugar from the diet and supplementing proper forms of chromium and other nutrients that regulate blood sugar, many of these symptoms disappear.

Another beneficial nutrient is vitamin B6. In 1975, the Journal of Pediatrics published a study that demonstrated that vitamin B6, when administered to hyperactive children, caused their hyperactivity to disappear. A double blind study reported in Biological Psychiatry in 1979 showed that vitamin B6 alone was more effective in treating hyperactive children than ritalin.

Dr. Benjamin Feingold was able to show that certain food allergies, food additives and artificial colors are also causes of ADD/ADHD. The Feingold Institute has developed a diet that can completely reverse symptoms. Dr. Feingold had an adult female patient who was being treated for allergies. She had a secondary problem with extreme aggressiveness and lack of self-control. After she was placed on a medically prescribed diet for her allergies, traces of her aggressive behavior disappeared. Dr. Feingold devoted the rest of his life to refining his dietary approach with amazing success.

There are alternatives to drugs for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. By incorporating sound dietary principles and proper supplementation, ADD/ADHD need not negatively affect your life. Contact a naturopath who can provide you the proper guidance. Health matters!

The Post Independent will run a “Health Matters” column once a month. Have a health matters question for R.J.? E-mail all questions to

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