What is ADD/ADHD?
It is normal for young children to have a short attention span, forget their homework or fidget at the dinner table. There are, however, conditions which make it difficult for children to control or ‘out-grow’ these characteristics. Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, are chronic conditions categorized by attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. They generally appears in early childhood and are often confused for laziness or discipline problems.
If children remain untreated, ADD/ADHD will carry on into adulthood.
Keep in mind, all children display some of these behaviors. However, if your child shows a number of the symptoms and they are present across all situations, all the time (at home, at school, at play) it may be time to consider getting him/her tested.
- Failure to complete tasks such as chores or homework
- Forgetfulness in daily activities (forgetting to feed the dog or missing appointments)
- Difficulty paying attention to details
- Repeated, careless mistakes in school or work
- Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli resulting in frequent interruptions of tasks
- Difficulty completing schoolwork or paperwork that requires concentration
- Disorganized work or cleaning habits
- Shifting frequently from one uncompleted activity to another
- Frequently changing the subject of conversation, not listening to others or not paying attention to the conversation
There can be many contributing factors to ADD/ADHD, including environmental, biologic, genetic, and nutritional. In recent years, the number of children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD has skyrocketed. This is believed to be the result of both a better understanding of the condition, as well as increased environmental and nutritional risks.
Recently, there have been a large number of studies on ADD/ADHD and environmental toxins, such as pesticides, additives in our food, heavy metal toxicity and more. We are all exposed to a large amount of environmental toxins, no matter where we live. Recent studies have shown significant links between the chemicals in our diets and environment and ADD/ADHD.
Recent studies have shown significant links between the chemicals in our diets and environment and ADD/ADHD.
Toxins that have been linked to ADD/ADHD include:
- Food additives, such as artificial food colors (AFCs)
- Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)- found in Teflon and Scotchgard
- Triclosan- an agent found in antibacterial soaps and many other personal care products
- Bisphenol A (BPA)- an epoxy resin used in food cans, plastic containers, baby bottles and certain paper products
- Phthalates- used to make rubber-based materials soft and pliable, found in vinyl, plastic bottles, toys, shower curtains and raincoats,personal care products, air fresheners and shampoos
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)- used in fire retardants, clothing, furniture and bedding
You do not have to live near a toxic waste dump to be exposed to these chemicals. They are in our air, water, soaps and shampoos, clothing, bedding, furniture, and more. One recent study, conducted by the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative concluded, “The overwhelming evidence shows that certain environmental exposures can contribute to lifelong learning and developmental disorders. …We should eliminate children’s exposures to substances that we know can have these impacts by implementing stronger health-based policies requiring safer alternatives. Furthermore, we must urgently examine other environmental contaminants of concern for which safety data are lacking.”
Traditionally, ADD/ADHD has been treated with a combination of medication to control the symptoms and psychotherapy. According to a recent RAND Corporation study, only about 25% of the children who are treated with medication also receive psychotherapy, making medication the main treatment. The medication prescribed for ADD/ADHD is usually a stimulant, the side effects of which can include reduced appetite, headache, restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, gastrointestinal upset, increased blood pressure, depression and/or anxiety and psychosis or paranoia. The effectiveness of the medications prescribed vary greatly from person to person. For some, there is almost immediate relief, while for others, the side effects far outweigh any benefits.
At the Magaziner Center, we believe in treating ADD/ADHD naturally. We determine all contributing factors and triggers such as biologic, nutritional and environmental factors. We believe that covering up the symptoms is simply not good enough. Instead, we utilize a series of thorough and extensive tests to determine exactly which factors are adding to the condition in each individual case. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. We each have unique biochemistry; food or inhalant sensitivities, biochemical imbalance, environmental toxins, lifestyle and nutrition. In order to treat each patient properly, we must first determine exactly what is causing or contributing to the condition. We then create a personalized treatment plan that may include sublingual desensitization, chelation therapy, diet, or supplements.
We also test for allergies and sensitivities to food, including gluten and casein. If identified, we utilize sublingual desensitization to manage allergies. We modify a patient’s diet to eliminate food triggers and treat Candidiasis in the event of an overgrowth of yeast. We also utilize nutritional supplements and probiotics to combat any vitamin and nutrient imbalances which can lead to behavioral problems.
Because many patients with ADHD cannot break down and excrete toxins as well as others, we look at chemical triggers and toxicity to heavy metals and other pollutants. We use various methods of detoxification, including chelation therapy to eliminate mercury, lead and other heavy metals. We have seen a dramatic improvement in behavioral symptoms with chelation therapy.
Many with ADD/ADHD may also have difficulty with a metabolic cycle that takes place in every cell called methylation. If we detect impaired methylation, we address this as well. Neurotransmitters, which play a role in transmitting messages from one cell to another are frequently found imbalanced and are treated.