Alternative ADD/ADHD Treatment:
It has been documented since the early 1970's that poor diet and food allergies could be related to ADHD, or that there could be improvements in an ADHD individual by putting them on a specific ADHD Diet. Often ADHD individuals have physical symptoms as well that could be due to food allergies such as, asthma, chronic ear infections, migraines, eczema, chronic infections, etc. Dr. Benjamin Feingold made the original claims that certain foods and food additives could trigger ADHD, and when he tested this diet with his patients he found success. He claimed that 30 to 50% of his ADHD patients benefited from his ADHD Diet (free of artificial colorings and salicylates). As the ADHD Diet Information and the word of Dr. Feingold's success became widely known, skepticism and controversy emerged.
The first study that supported Dr. Feingold's ADHD Diet Information in 1976 found that at least 4 out of 15 children diagnosed with ADHD improved on a diet free of artificial colors and flavors. Many breakfast cereals, candies, chips, breakfast bars, ice creams, boxed macaroni and cheese, canned ravioli's, sodas, and pretty much everything your child loves to eat contains artificial colors and flavors. Our Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of processed foods, red meat, refined carbohydrates, food additives, soft drinks, and fried foods. With that said, it is a good idea for the whole family to follow an ADHD Diet.
ADHD Diet Information:
Since An Individual With ADHD Could Be Having Adverse Reactions To A Specific Type Of Food,
We Suggest Cutting These Foods From Their Diet For Two Weeks.
|All Foods With Food Colorings||All Fruit Juices||All NutraSweet Products||All Processed Meats|
|All Pasturized Dairy Products||All Sugar Products||All Aspartame Products||All Fried Foods|
|All Yellow Foods (Bananas Are O.K.)||All Candy Products|
After the two weeks, you can begin adding these foods back into your diet. Add one food type every couple of days. If the ADHD individual has a reaction to that food in the form of: red splotches, red ears, or an explosive temper outburst, then eliminate that food from their diet indefinitely. A reaction should show within 4 days. If there is no reaction, then you may add that food back into their normal diet. Keep a journal of the behavior before and after the ADHD Diet, then you can see when problems arise and what foods were eaten at that time. If a food is eaten by mistake from the banned list, do not worry; just get back on the diet.
ADHD Diet Information Tips:
- Incorporate some old family recipes, using all natural ingredients, into your family dinners
- Serve a high protein breakfast (60% protein/40% carbohydrates)
- Keep an even balance of protein to carbohydrates for lunch and dinner (50%/50%)
- Eat plenty of raw organic vegetables and fruit
- Cook extra meat while cooking dinner and use it as sandwich meat or make a salad with it
- Make up protein shakes a head of time and store them in the freezer. Protein shakes are great for breakfast or in between snacks
- Studies have shown that many ADHD children are deficient in Zinc. Good sources of Zinc are organ meats, seafood (especially shellfish), whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas)
Before accepting a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, we should rule out conditions that show similar symptoms.
- Allergies and sensitivities to food (dairy, grains, peanuts, food dye) and the environment (grass, pollen, animal dander), can affect behavior.
- Exposure to toxins can cause hyperactivity, attention deficits, irritability, and learning problems. Children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults. Toxins include pesticides, gasoline fumes, herbicides, disinfectants, furniture polishes, air fresheners, synthetic rugs and carpets, and beds made of synthetic materials and/or dust-laden homes.
- Mild to high lead levels, even in the absence of clinical lead poisoning, is the leading cause of toxin-induced hyperactivity. Research shows that children with even mildly elevated lead levels suffer from reduced IQs, attention deficits, and poor school performance.
- Fluoride is a toxic chemical that has been linked with increased lead absorption, learning disabilities, attention disorders, hyperactivity, behavior problems, mottled teeth, decreased fertility, bone loss, and decreased I.Q. Fluoride is found in most toothpastes and has been added to many area water supplies
- High mercury levels can be caused by mercury amalgam dental fillings. When children grind their teeth, they are at risk for high mercury levels in the body. Another cause is from eating large amounts of cold-water fish such as tuna and salmon.
- Thousands of children each year are exposed to toxic levels and poisoned by carbon monoxide each year. Sources of this gas include heaters and other gas appliances, such as fireplaces, dryers, and water heaters.
- Hearing and vision problems may cause ADD/ADHD behavior if a child can't see or hear properly -- especially in educational settings.
- Children who are experiencing emotional stress (such as being bullied at school, divorce or death in family, abuse) most often display ADHD behavior. Emotionally-stressed children can experience sleeping problems, sadness, and they develop physical symptoms, especially if they think those symptoms will keep them home from school. Often they can't concentrate in class, partly because they are worried and partly because they are suffering from sleep deprivation.
- When dealing with spirited children, the problem usually does not lie with the child but with society's perception of what normal childhood behavior is. Many normal children, according to some people, display ADHD behavior not because they are hyperactive or lack sufficient attention spans but because the person forming the opinion has unrealistic standards of how a child should behave.
- Gifted children often display ADHD behavior because most of the time they are bored with school and what other kids their age are doing. Behaviors associated with giftedness are poor attention, boredom, daydreaming, low tolerance for persistence on tasks that seem irrelevant, power struggles, and high activity level. They may need less sleep compared to other children, and they may question rules, customs, and traditions. If your child scores above average on IQ tests, aces exams, has no trouble with homework, has no apparent learning disabilities, and primarily exhibits his or her problems mostly at school, seeking a more challenging class or school may help.
- Spoiled and undisciplined children are sometimes labeled as ADHD because of their defiant and acting-out behavior. Children need structure and consistent rules to learn self-discipline. Labeling undisciplined kids as ADHD gives them an excuse for their misbehavior so that they do not learn to be responsible for their own behavior.
- One of the main reasons why a child acts out and throws temper tantrums when they have a problem is because of their lack of understanding a problem and lack of expressing how they feel. This is one reason why any emotional or medical problem can cause acting-out behavior in children
- Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) describes the damage done to children's brains and bodies when their mothers drink heavily during pregnancy. It is the leading form of mental retardation today. Prenatal alcohol impairment, however, also comes in a milder form called fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Children with FAE often don't look disabled, and they tend to score in the low-normal or even normal range of intelligence, but their mal-developed brains cause them to exhibit a wide range of behavior problems, including hyperactivity, attention problems, learning disorders, and ethical problems such as stealing, lying, and cheating.
- Learning Style or Learning Disabilities are often the cause of inattention and acting-out behavior. Children with a diagnosis of ADHD are typically kinesthetic learners and have difficulty with sitting at a desk doing pencil-and-paper work. When children think of themselves as 'stupid', 'lazy', or 'slow' and are seen as such, they often will be disruptive in school (e.g., class clown, bullying others).
- CAPD (Central Auditory processing Disorder) will sometimes occur in children who have had a history of ear infections and/or PE tubes. Symptoms include distractibility, inability to follow a set of verbal instructions, and 'spacing out'.
- Sensory Integration Dysfunction is thought to be the inefficient neurological processing of information received through the senses, causing problems with learning, development, and behavior. These children are over-sensitive or under-sensitive dealing in touch, taste, smell, sound, or sight.
- Tourette syndrome is a rare but disruptive condition. It involves multiple tics (small, repetitive muscle movements), usually facial tics with grimacing and blinking. Tics may also occur in the shoulders and arms. This is usually accompanied by loud vocalizations, which may include grunts or noises, or uncontrollable (compulsive) use of obscenities or short phrases. The tics are worse during emotional stress and are absent during sleep. The cause is unknown. It occurs most often in boys, and may begin around age 7 or 8 or not until the child is in his or her late teens or early twenties. It may, at times, run in families. This disorder can be mistaken for not being able to sit still or impulsive behavior.
- Infestations of Candida albicans (yeast infection) cause hyperactivity in children. Most children who do suffer from Candida infestations have some underlying problem frequently an immune disorder, or a disorder affecting carbohydrate metabolism that alters blood sugar levels. Candida infestations are now thought to be a common condition throughout the population.
- Intestinal parasites rob the body of needed nutrients which in turn affects behavior.
- Streptococcus bacteria, better known as 'strep', can cause rheumatic fever and a movement disorder known as Sydenham's chorea if left untreated. Recurrent infections can also lead to a group of symptoms collectively known as PANDAS (Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders). Some symptoms of PANDAS include obsessive-compulsive behavior, Tourette syndrome, hyperactivity, cognitive problems, and fidgeting.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can stem from thyroid disorders, liver or pancreatic problems, adrenal gland abnormalities, or insufficient diet.
- Hyper or hypothyroidism is an imbalance in metabolism that occurs from an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones. This imbalance may cause a variety of behaviors and may affect all body functions.
- Some mild forms of genetic disorders can go unnoticed in children and display some of the same symptoms of ADHD. Mild forms of Turner's syndrome, sickle-cell anemia, and Fragile X syndrome are some examples. Almost any genetic disorder can cause hyperactivity or other behavior problems, even if the disorder isn't normally linked to such problems. Many genetic diseases disrupt brain functions directly, through a variety of paths. A simple blood test can rule out genetic disorders.
- A commonly overlooked cause of ADHD behavior is the absence seizure. During an absence seizure, the brain's normal activity shuts down. The child stares blankly, sometimes rotates his eyes upward, and occasionally blinks or jerks repetitively, he drops objects from his hand, and there may be some mild involuntary movements known as automatisms. The attack lasts for a few seconds and then it is over as rapidly as it begins. If these attacks occur dozens of times each day, they can interfere with a child's school performance and be confused by parents and teachers with daydreaming.
- Post-traumatic subclinical seizure disorder causes episodic temper explosions. These fits of temper come out of the blue for no reason. Some of these seizures can be too subtle to detect without a twenty-four-hour electroencephalogram (EEG).
- Temporal lobe seizures can cause inappropriate behavior. That's why conducting brain scans is a must when trying to figure out behavior problems.
- Head injuries, such as post-concussion syndrome, have symptoms that include irritability, mood swings, memory problems, depression, and sleeping problems.
- Some spinal problems can cause ADHD behavior because, if the spine is not connected to the brain properly, nerves from the spinal cord can give the brain all of signals at once making a child rambunctious and full of energy.
- Some drugs (both prescription and illegal) can cause the brain to atrophy, leading to disturbed cognition and behavior. If your child routinely takes prescription or over-the-counter medications for asthma, hay fever, allergies, headaches, or any other condition, consider the possibility that the drugs are causing or contributing to behavior problems.
- Intentionally or unintentionally sniffing materials such as modeling glue or other household products.
- Malnutrition or improper diet
- B-vitamin deficiency
- Iron deficiency
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Early-onset diabetes
- Heart disease
- Brain cysts
- Early-stage brain tumors
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