ADHD Alternative Treatment
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a widespread childhood disorder that has received a great deal of focus in recent years. According to estimates, nearly 10 of all children and 4 percent of adults are affected with ADHD.
Symptoms of this frequently-occurring disorder include hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity; these symptoms often lead to difficulties performing in work or school, and they may also increase the risk of accidents. Individuals with ADHD also have an increased likelihood of experiencing emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Typically, adults with ADHD are unaware that they have this disorder-they often just feel that it's impossible to get organized, to stick to a job, to keep an appointment. The everyday tasks of getting up, getting dressed and ready for the day's work, getting to work on time, and being productive on the job can be major challenges for the ADHD adult. ADHD alternative treatment consist of treating the underlying cause of the disorder not just masking the symptoms with medication.
Diagnosing the causes of ADHD
Causes of ADHD
The Role of Neurotransmitters in Attention Deficit Disorder
There is some evidence that people with ADHD do not produce adequate quantities of certain neurotransmitters, among them dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Some experts theorize that such deficiencies lead to self-stimulatory behaviors that can increase brain levels of these chemicals (Comings DE et al 2000; Mitsis EM et al 2000; Sunohara GA et al 2000).
The development of the dopamine system prior to and during early adolescence is quite rapid, while the development of the serotonin system during this same time remains steady. A relative deficit in dopamine maturity would be concordant with an increased impulsivity and increased reward threshold seen in ADHD.
A delayed rate of brain development in ADHD is also supported by studies that find patients have increased level of delta and theta brain wave activity compared to controls. Delta and theta brain wave activity normally decreases until adulthood. As such, increased delta and theta wave brain activity can be an indicator of slowed brain maturity. Differences in the rate of serotonin and dopamine system development also may explain why significant numbers of children outgrow their ADHD symptoms.
The noradrenergic system is most active when an individual is awake, which is important for focused attention. Elevated norepinephrine activity seems to be a contributor to anxiousness. Also, brain norepinephrine turnover is increased in conditions of stress. Interestingly, benzodiazepines, the primary anxiolytic drugs, decrease firing of norepinephrine neurons.
Aspects of the interaction between serotonin and dopamine are believed to affect attention. Evidence of this interaction is present in the observation that reduced serotonin synthesis impairs the positive effects of methylphenidate on learning. Meaning some aspects of methylphenidate's therapeutic effects require serotonin. Serotonin levels are significantly affected by stress and coping abilities combined with other environmental factors and the person's genetic make-up to determine serotonin activity.
Brain Structural Differences in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There may also be some structural and functional abnormalities in the brain itself in children who have ADHD (Pliszka SR 2002; Mercugliano M 1999). Evidence suggests that there may be fewer connections between nerve cells. This would further impair neural communication already impeded by decreased neurotransmitter levels (Barkley R 1997). Evidence from functional studies in patients with ADHD demonstrates decreased blood flow to those areas of the brain in which "executive function," including impulse control, is based (Paule MG et al 2000). There may also be a deficit in the amount of myelin (insulating material) produced by brain cells in children with ADHD (Overmeyer S et al 2001).
Some prenatal factors that increase the risk of developing ADHD have been identified. These include complications during pregnancy that limit oxygen supply to the brain such as toxemia and eclampsia. Other factors during pregnancy that have an impact on normal prenatal development and increase the risk of a child developing ADHD include smoking and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Other factors, such as stress, significantly affect the way the brain functions. If the temperament of the individual under stress allows them to cope in a positive manner, stress can actually increase performance and health. If however, the temperament of the individual under stress is such that the individual does not cope with the stress, the adaptive changes that allow the body to enhance its performance and stress may fail to function. This may lead to either an inability of the body to compensate or the inactivation of some neurological systems. Alternatively, neurological systems may become chronically elevated. In either case, the altered functions of these regions may underlie clinical symptoms.
Researchers continue to study the genetic contribution to ADHD and to identify the genes that cause a person to be susceptible to ADHD. Since its inception in 1999, the Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Molecular Genetics Network has served as a way for researchers to share findings regarding possible genetic influences on ADHD.8
Studies have shown a possible correlation between the use of cigarettes and alcohol during pregnancy and risk for ADHD in the offspring of that pregnancy. As a precaution, it is best during pregnancy to refrain from both cigarette and alcohol use.
Another environmental agent that may be associated with a higher risk of ADHD is high levels of lead in the bodies of young preschool children. Since lead is no longer allowed in paint and is usually found only in older buildings, exposure to toxic levels is not as prevalent as it once was. Children who live in old buildings in which lead still exists in the plumbing or in lead paint that has been painted over may be at risk.
Attention Deficit Disorder Testing
ADD Nutritional Supplements
As previously mentioned, ADHD is most likely caused by multiple factors, including nutritional issues. Children and adults with ADHD may have specific nutrient deficiencies that aggravate their condition.
Dopamine Supplements contain the building blocks needed for the brain to produce more Dopamine.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of brain cell membranes, including those of neurotransmitter receptors. Omega-3 fatty acids also alter signal transduction and electrical activity in brain cells and control the synthesis of chemicals such as eicosanoids and cytokines, which may have a direct effect on mood and behavior. Evidence supporting the role of fatty acid imbalances in the pathology of ADD/ADHD:
Research consistently finds people with ADD/ADHD have lower levels of essential fatty acids than controls. A large proportion of people with ADD/ADHD display essential fatty acid deficiency symptoms (e.g. excessive thirst, frequent urination, vision impairment, dry skin and hair, learning difficulties.)
Magnesium and vitamin B6. Combining magnesium and vitamin B6 has shown promise for reducing symptoms of ADHD. Vitamin B6 has many functions in the body, including assisting in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and forming myelin, which protect nerves. Magnesium is also very important; it is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions. At least three studies have demonstrated that the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 improved behavior, decreased anxiety and aggression, and improved mobility among children with ADHD (Nogovitsina OR et al 2006a,b; Nogovitsina OR et al 2005; Mousain-Bosc M et al 2004).
Zinc. Zinc is a cofactor for production of neurotransmitters, fatty acids, prostaglandins, and melatonin, and it indirectly affects metabolism of dopamine and fatty acids. Numerous studies have shown that children with ADHD are often deficient in zinc.
Acetyl-L-carnitine. This superior form of L-carnitine, which is responsible for transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, has been associated with a host of positive health benefits, including reducing impulsivity. In an animal model of ADHD, acetyl-L-carnitine was shown to reduce the impulsivity index (Adriani W et al 2004).
Additional Nutrients and Hormones
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is an important neuroactive steroid hormone that may be involved in ADHD, although researchers are still trying to understand the relationship. ADHD is associated with low blood levels of DHEA, its principal precursor pregnenolone, and its principal metabolite dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S). Higher blood levels of these neurosteroids are associated with fewer symptoms (Strous RD et al 2001). Furthermore, a study of adolescent boys with ADHD showed that DHEA levels rise after a 3-month course of methylphenidate treatment, which implies that DHEA somehow plays a role in the drug's effectiveness (Maayan R et al 2003).
Ginkgo biloba and ginseng. A combination of these two herbs has been studied for its ability to improve symptoms among patients with ADHD. In a study of 36 children ranging in age from 3 to 17 years old, a combination of Ginkgo biloba and American ginseng was administered twice a day on an empty stomach for 4 weeks. At the end of the study, more than 70 percent of patients had experienced improvement on a widely used measure of ADHD symptoms (Lyon MR et al 2001).
Attention Deficit Diet
Dietary interventions (as contrasted with dietary supplements) are based on the concept of elimination, that one or more foods are eliminated from one's diet.
The Feingold Program eliminates these additives:
Artificial (synthetic) coloring
Foods to Avoid:
See some of our great Attention and Focus Supplements Below.
DOPA Maxx ES Extra Strength Dopamine Supplement
Brain Balance IP formulas 120 Capsules
Aller Food Allergy Test 96 Food Panel
L-Tryptophan 500 mg 120 V Capsules
OptiCleanz GHI 31.61 oz Chocolate
NeuroScience TravaCor 120 caps
NeuroScreen Neurotransmitter Test