is defined by the government in America, as “a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination.”
Notice it said a “problem,” NOT a disease. But for most people, they just assume it to be a type of medical issue that just happens in children. There is a cause and it’s not what most people think.
To be diagnosed, children must be out of the normal range for a child’s age and development.
Here’s the history of this disorder:
was first recognized as a disorder in 1902. A British doctor, Dr. Still, documented cases of impulsive behavior. He gave the disorder its first name, “Defect of Moral Control.” Despite this name, he believed that the disorder was a medical problem.
It wasn’t until 1922 that ADHD symptoms were described and diagnosed as “Post-Encephalitic Behavior Disorder.”
In 1937 stimulants were first used to treat children who exhibited signs of ADHD. This was introduced by Dr. Charles Bradley.
In 1956, Ritalin came on the market. It was used to treat children considered to be “hyperactive.”
Throughout the 1960s, stimulants were increasingly used to treat hyperactive children. In the early part of the decade, the term “Minimal Brain Dysfunction” was used to describe the disorder, but this was changed to “Hyperkinetic Disorder of Childhood” later in the decade.
In the 1970s, more symptoms were recognized to go along with hyperactivity. These included impulsiveness, lack of focus, daydreaming, and other lack of focus type symptoms. “Impulsiveness” as a category was divided into three subtypes: verbal, cognitive, and motor impulsiveness.
In 1980 the name “Attention Deficit Disorder” was invented by the American Psychiatric Association.
In 1987, the name was revised to “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder”.
In 1996, Adderall was approved to treat ADHD.
In 1998, the American Medical Association stated that ADHD was one of the most researched disorders, despite the fact that its cause is unknown.
is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of children. It affects about 3 – 5% of school aged children, and is diagnosed much more in boys than in girls.
ADHD may run in families, but it’s not clear exactly what causes it. Whatever the cause may be, it seems to be set in motion early in life as the brain is developing. Imaging studies suggest that the brains of children with ADHD are different from those of other children.
Depression, lack of sleep, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and behavior problems may be confused with ADHD.
Most children with ADHD also have at least one other developmental or behavioral problem. They may also have a psychiatric problem, like depression or bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of ADHD:
Lack of attention
Some children with ADHD primarily have the inattentive type. Others may have a combination of types. Those with the inattentive type are less disruptive and are more likely to not be diagnosed with ADHD.
Can’t pay close attention to details
Difficulty keeping attention
Doesn’t seem to listen when being spoken to
Doesn’t follow through on instructions and fails to finish things
Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
Often loses things
Is easily distracted
Is often forgetful in daily activities
Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
Has difficulty playing quietly
Is often “on the go,” and “talks excessively”
Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
Has difficulty waiting their turn
Interrupts or intrudes on others
Testing for ADHD:
Too many times, difficult children are incorrectly labeled with ADHD. On the other hand, many children who do have ADHD remain undiagnosed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines to bring more clarity to this issue.
The diagnosis is based on very specific symptoms, which must be present in more than one setting.
Children should have at least 6 attention symptoms or 6 hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms, with some symptoms present before age 7.
The symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, seen in two or more settings, and not caused by another problem.
The symptoms must be severe enough to cause significant difficulties in many settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers.
In older children, ADHD is in partial remission when they still have symptoms but no longer meet the full definition of the disorder.
The child should have an evaluation by a doctor if ADHD is suspected. Evaluation may include:
Parent and teacher questionnaires (for example, Connors, Burks)
Psychological evaluation of the child AND family, including IQ testing and psychological testing
Complete developmental, mental, nutritional, physical, and psychosocial examination
The medical professionals believe that a combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best. There are several different types of ADHD medications that may be used alone or in combination.
Psychostimulants (also known as stimulants) are the most commonly used ADHD drugs. Although these drugs are called stimulants, they actually have a calming effect on people with ADHD.
These drugs include:
Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana)
A nonstimulant drug called atomoxetine (Strattera) may work as well as stimulants, and may be less likely to be misused.
Some ADHD medicines have been linked to rare sudden death in children with heart problems. This is NOT the only very negative side effect of these drugs though. Stimulants have been known to cause serious problems in children, ranging from anxiety, insomnia, tics heart problems, emotional problems and more. Aside from the standard stimulant medications, there are many treatments for ADHD. We suggest that before settling on any treatment path, you research all the options.
Stimulant drugs may also:
These drugs may also slightly increase the risk for auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and psychotic and manic behavior even in patients who do not have a history of psychiatric problems.
Cause a mixed or manic episode in patients who have both ADHD and bipolar disorder.
Increase aggressive behavior or hostility. Patients beginning stimulant drug treatment should be monitored for worsening of these behaviors.
Slow growth and weight gain in children. Children who take stimulant drugs should have their growth monitored. If they do not gain height or weight at a normal rate, they may need to stop taking the drug.
This is why I would never recommend drugs…
Alternative treatments for ADHD are finally becoming popular, including herbs, supplements, and chiropractic treatments.
Despite multiple studies in the last 20 years suggesting that diet and food additives can exacerbate hyperactivity, the medical cartel insists there is no causal link between food and ADHD.
And yet, parents who have reduced their child’s intake of sugar, refined foods, and foods with chemical additives (food dyes, preservatives, MSG, etc.) report significant improvement in their child’s behavior over four to eight weeks. These children are also less disruptive and more focused when they eat plenty of vegetables and whole grains, along with moderate amounts of protein and organic unrefined oils.
In addition, give your children 50 mg of B-complex vitamins and 100-200 mg of fish oils for children. These supplements nourish and stabilize the CNS (Central Nervous System) while improving mood stability, mental focus, and brain function.
Herbs that calm, soothe, and nourish the nervous system also can help significantly. Lemon balm, chamomile, hops, passion flower, skullcap, brahmi, valerian, and St. John’s Wort, all help treat ADHD. They can be taken safely as teas or tinctures. Follow the instructions on the bottle or box. (Dosing for children is one-fourth to one-half the adult dose based on their weight.)
This is the way to properly treat ADHD. Not with pharmaceuticals, that create other problems and physical health issues for children and adults.
Author: Steve Berchtold