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Alternative Approaches For Attention Deficit And Hyperactivity Disorders

Oct 15, 2007
Approximately two million American children are affected with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is about one child per classroom, with boys being 3-5 times more likely to have ADHD. Symptoms of this disorder begin before the age of seven and often continue into adulthood. ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence, and the precise cause of it is unknown, but it is known that it evolves from an interaction between genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Since the symptoms vary between children, ADHD is commonly over-diagnosed. Additionally, many psychiatric disorders interfere with a child's ability to pay attention and can confuse a diagnosis. Similarly, anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and stress can interfere with attention and cause hyperactivity which can be misdiagnosed as ADHD. Adults who have extreme expectations about behavior can also mislabel a child as having ADHD. Children who actually have ADHD and are not appropriately treated may experience academic and social failure, low self-esteem, drug addiction, and trouble with the law.

There are three subtypes of ADHD: inattentive without much hyperactive behavior; hyperactive and impulsive without attention problems; and both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. There is no test for ADHD, therefore, diagnosis takes time and expertise. A child psychologist or psychiatrist should be used because of this. Recent studies have found that 54% of parents used alternative therapies such as vitamins and dietary changes to treat ADHD problems. A calm and orderly home, good diet, sleep, and exercise can often help to treat this disorder. A diet that is high in protein may also help. Twenty percent of adult caregivers give children with ADHD herbs which enhance mental function or provide a sedative effect. Many parents use ginkgo bilboa which increases circulation to the brain and protects the nerves; Asian and American ginseng which help to improve the body's ability to cope with stress; bacopa which helps memory and learning in both adults in children; gotu kola which has been found to improve memory and concentration in rats; lemon balm which is used as a tea to soothe agitated and hyperactive children; oats (avena sativa) which traditionally is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system.

There are two well known studies that directly evaluate herbs in ADHD. In an open trial, the herbal formula (AD-FX) which contains American ginseng and ginkgo, was given to children ranging from age three to age seventeen who were already on medication for ADHD. The dosage of herbs was 200 mg of American ginseng extract and 50 mg of ginkgo extract, twice a day at least thirty minutes before meals. After four weeks, 74% of the children had improved. In another study, the use of Mexican valerian was tested by giving five boys that had ADHD a placebo for two weeks, nothing for seven days, then 500 mg of dried valerian root for two weeks. The valerian improved sleep and particularly helped the boys with hyperactive behavior. Children with ADHD may also be deficient in essential fatty acids, therefore supplementation of EPA and DHA or eating more fish, leafy vegetables, chia seeds, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, Brazilian nuts, and walnuts can also help this disorder. Supplementing drug treatment with magnesium and zinc can improve behavior more than standard therapy alone by severely reducing hyperactive and impulsive behavior as children with ADHD symptoms often have low blood levels. Other ADHD treatments include deep breathing, mediation, massage, yoga, biofeedback-assisted relaxation and progressive muscle relaxation, and acupuncture. There is not one cure-all for ADHD. Those cases that are mild can be controlled through alternative therapies, while more severe cases may need alternative therapies to augment treatment. Most importantly, it is most important to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for a child that has ADHD.
About the Author
More information can be found at http://vitanetnonline.com/ where a large selection of vitamins and herbs are available for attention and hyper children.
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