To fully understand the phenomenon of ADD/ADHD, we must consider our current social environment’s effect on our children. We are constantly plugged in to cell phones, iPods, iPads and many other advanced technologies, raising the following question…
Is ADD/ADHD becoming a survival strategy?
There is more to ADHD treatment than medication.
The bottom line may be that children are often overstimulated, resulting in various physiological consequences. Naturopathic Medicine is rapidly becoming a preferred treatment approach. Parents tend to want to avoid the concerns and side effects of powerful medications on their child’s growing brain. Naturopathic Doctors investigate causes and contributing influences involved in ADHD, rather than simply addressing the symptoms and providing medication. Medication can be very helpful in some cases, but a thorough and supportive plan including naturopathic considerations is of value.
Important Naturopathic Considerations for ADHD:
Adrenal Function: Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands and assists with regulating energy levels, sleep cycles, immune function and mental thought processes. A person with ADHD often has a lower adrenal response which compromises the natural release of cortisol. This is likely because they have exhausted their cortisol reserves. Hyperactive responses become the body’s effort to self-regulate and generate more cortisol.
Neurotransmitter Balance: Chemical imbalances in the brain have also been found in those who suffer from an inability to focus, concentrate or think clearly. Important neurotransmitters to consider within ADHD are Norepinephrine, Dopamine, Phenylalanine and GABA. For example, Ritalin is often prescribed for children with ADD/ADHD. Its therapeutic effect results from Ritalin’s ability to increase the availability of dopamine levels, which then metabolizes into norepinephrine. Low norepinephrine reduces a child’s ability to tune out background noise and unimportant information.
So how does the body become deficient in neurotransmitters in the first place?
Can we not treat those imbalances naturally?
All brain neurotransmitters are made up of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Supplementing with amino acids to boost neurotransmitters is an approach taken by naturopathic doctors. The main goal of assessment and treatment should be to find out precisely what your child needs.
You can start by including high-quality proteins containing the necessary amino acids. Foods like beans, nuts, seeds, lean poultry, fish and eggs are recommended. You can also supplement with essential vitamins like iron, copper, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C and many antioxidants. Speaking to a Naturopathic Doctor about the appropriate dosages and combined formulas will ease the process and ensure you are giving the best nutrients to your child.
Next time we will review two more important physiological considerations for ADHD, blood sugar regulation and gastrointestinal health.
Today’s Message: Medication is a tool, not a cure. The most effective strategies will incorporate nutrient based supports along with emotional and behavioural strategies in order to help children (and adults) successfully navigate through this fast-paced high-tech world.
Dr. Tara Campbell, ND specializes in neuroscience and brain function from a naturopathic perspective. Meet Tara at the Family Support Expo on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21st at the International Centre. Sign up for her free ADD/ADHD workshop here: firstname.lastname@example.org