also known as hyperactivity disorder
This syndrome is the inability to pay attention, concentrate, remember, or think clearly, with emotional instability and learning problems. Most of the patients I’ve seen with this problem are above average intelligence, but do not perform well at organized tasks. Often there will be some things (Lego or computer games) on which they can concentrate for long periods of time. It almost appears they are bored with their environment. We can really divide this condition into three areas: attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity (ADD, more common in female children); attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD, more common in male children 10:1); attention deficit disorder – residual type (AADD, most common as an extension of earlier problems after the 18th year). The causes of these disorders are not completely understood, but some of the factors that contribute are: heredity, smoking while pregnant, oxygen deprivation or trauma at birth, artificial food additives, sugar, dairy, environmental pollutants, lead poisoning, food sensitivities. Food containing dye (especially red dye), dairy allergies, preservatives, added sugar and salicylates seem to be some of the most widespread causes.
The most important thing to do is to concentrate on the diet. We remove all sugars, dairy and additives. This is a little bit of a problem, not only in terms of convenience for the food preparer, but because the child is often addicted to these foods. We have found if you can’t get the child to ‘buy in’ on the program, it is next to impossible to administer. Sometimes it is hard to remember that underneath the ‘little monster’ there is an intelligent child who also needs self-respect.
I have found variations on the following themes to work. Have the child follow the diet strictly for two weeks. At the end of this time take the whole family bowling, as a kind of reward. Bowling is fairly kinesthetic, with a need for concentration. If a child hasn’t bowled that much, (s)he will probably get better with each game. Plan on bowling three games. Halfway through the second game, let the child eat all the wrong foods: sugar, pizza, soda pop containing red dye, etc. Almost immediately (s)he will not be able to concentrate during bowling. Don’t be surprised if your child is only able to hit the gutter of their lane. Likely (s)he will probably start throwing a fit or acting out. Ask the child to focus inside to see if (s)he feels comfortable.
It appears that ADD children feel confused and uncomfortable inside. They create a scene outside themselves, often as a mechanism to distract themselves from their inner confusion. After consuming the wrong foods, they will usually say they don’t feel well. Point out that the foods they just ate are probably responsible. In fact, you might say they seem to be allergic to those foods. I have seen athletic children lose all coordination after consuming red dye and/or sugar. Often a variation of this experiment has to be repeated every three to six months, to remind the child. ADD children are usually intelligent enough that they will also try the experiment on their own … just to be sure. Unfortunately with ADD, it is almost always a battle between an addiction, on the one hand, and food sensitivity, on the other. If strong compliance to this program is achieved, good results are possible.
Often after being off a food group for 2-4 months the child can consume it once to twice a week on ‘special occasions’. The following supplements are all useful but a practitioner should be involved to monitor dosage levels.
Single Herbs: Reishi, Valerian, Wild Oats (Avena).
Combinations: Reishi Extract, Children’s Super Hug and/or Focus Flower essence.
Nutritional Supplements: BEVC (1-2 tablets, twice daily), Beta-carotene (20,000 IU, twice daily), Vitamin B6 (25-50 mg daily), Vitamin C (500-2,000 mg daily), Multivitamins and minerals (1 tablet, twice daily), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Essential Fatty Acids, Phosphatidyl serine, Calcium (200-800 mg daily), Magnesium (100-400mg daily), Zinc (2-30 mg daily), GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid, has been found useful).