Finally! A Natural Solution to Your Childs ADHD / ADD without the use of harsh medications: An Integrative Functional Medicine Approach
ADHD and ADD are on the rise significantly. These conditions affect boys 3 times as often as girls and usually is diagnosed by the age of 7.
In 2003, it affected 7.8% of children, by 2007 that number was up to 9.5% and in 2011 it was up to 11%. These numbers are according to the CDC website. It has been almost 5 years since this last number has been published, I’m not quite sure why the lack of reporting in the last few years. (Update - according to the most recent polls done in 2016, the rates continue to hover around 10-11%. Unless you are a young African American boy, then your rates may be has high as 16%!)
ADHD has been shown to affect the areas of the brain that allow for and are involved in problem solving, planning ahead, understanding other actions and controlling impulses.
The correlation of brain activity in theses areas of the brain are directly related to the primary symptoms that are necessary for the diagnosis of ADHD and/or ADD. The primary symptoms are hyperactivity, impulsive and inattentive.
If your reading this page my guess is, you already know the signs and symptoms of ADHD and you are looking for an alternative to the harsh drugs you or your child may be on. If so keep reading.
Typical Treatment for ADHD and Their Side Effects
Chances are, if you have come to this page and are reading through it, you have a little one with the diagnosis of ADHD and you know all too well the side effects that are often associated with the harsh drugs that are given to little kids in order to “control” their symptoms.
If not, let me give you a short rundown of the most common med groups that are given and some of the side effects associated with each drugs group.
Our first contender is the oldie and the goody Amphetamine. We all know this is a stimulant and is most readily know as “speed.” Another less common one is Methylphenidate, which is another stimulant used for ADHD. It is also known as Focalin or Ritalin. The most common short term side effects are weight loss, irritability and tics. Oh yeah! And later on you will read about how the FDA says that their use may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems. Not something that seems too helpful. Which is worse, the ADHD/ADD or heart and psychiatric problems.
Coming in a close number 2 is our non-stimulant contender. Often known as Stratera. Sadly, the side effects can often include sleep difficulty, anxiety, and last but not least liver damage. On top of worrying about how your child is doing in school, now you have to be worried about damaging your kids liver too.
Coming in last for our most common drugs used for ADHD are our antidepressants. Wellbutrin is a common one. The long list of side effects includes, but is certainly not limited to the following: sleep disturbances, headaches, seizures (that can’t be good), dizziness, dry mouth, and an increased risk of arrhythmia’s.
“The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.
The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.
While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe when they are monitored properly by a professional. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.”
I would like to question as to who these so called “experts” who generally consider these medications safe are. In my experience they tend to be the manufacturers of the medications or the sales reps for the drugs which are educated by the big pharma companies. The sales reps are then tasked with the job of “educating” physicians as to which drugs should be given to our kids.
Seems like a slight conflict of interest if you ask me. But what do I know?!
Why has there been such an increase in the rate of ADHD and/or ADD?
While the exact cause of the increase in the rate of ADHD is not very clear, it is clear that there are a few different issues that can contribute to the development of ADHD and ADD. This tends to be a very ambiguous topic. Depending on where you look for your information, you can always find something to back it up. I’ve done my fair share of research and digging. I tend to side with the people who have done the studies and don’t actually have anything to gain by publishing those studies.
During my 15 years of practicing alternative medicine and functional medicine in particular, it has come to my attention and the attention of many healthcare providers and parents that there are a few different categories of imbalances that have a great affect on the ADHD/ADD child and their brain balance.
To illustrate the importance on intestinal health, according to the CDC website and WebMD, multiple studies have found that in children with ADHD and/or ADD are 3 times more likely to have constipation and 6 times more likely to have fecal incontinence than the average child. Keep in mind that many of the drugs used to treat these children often exacerbate digestion issues and create a worsening of the symptoms while not on medication, thus producing a vicious cycle.
What most parents are asking is, “Both of my kids are exposed to the same things throughout the day, I haven’t raised them differently, whats the deal?”
The answer often lies in a malfunctioning metallothionein (MT) protein. This is a protein within the body that essentially deals with heavy metal detoxification. It has potent metal binding and redox (reduction-oxidation reaction) capabilities. Many parents have one child that is just not able to get rid of all of todays toxins.
Reduce exposure and enhance MT (metallothionein) activation.
First, let’s address fatty acid deficiencies. There are many studies suggesting that fatty acids (EPA/DHA) improve cognitive function. If digestion is inadequate, you will not be able to absorb the necessary essential fatty acids. The fix: improve digestion and take fish oil supplements.
The other deficiency that can often happen is the amino acid deficiency, specifically tryptophan. In kids with ADHD it has been found that approximately 50% of them have low tryptophan levels.
Tryptophan is used in the body to produce dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. Serotonin in particular has been shown to be linked with impulsivity. Another issue to address with tryptophan levels is to consider if the tryptophan is actually able to be transported across the cell membranes into the cells to be utilized.
Are you starting to see how Integrative and Functional Medicine is not just one simple fix, it is looking at the body as a whole and fixing all the parts of the system to have a fully functioning body.
Dr. Craig Mortensen has been practicing alternative medicine for over 15 years. Over those years he has developed a system and protocol for helping patients with ADHD eliminate or reduce the need for medications that patients are often on for life. Contact or Call Dr. Mortensen for a free consultation.
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