ADD/ADHD information page
Newsletter11

http://add.about.com/library/weekly/aa030500a.htm

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This is some ADHD information taken from Herbal Mothering list (Join & Check out more excellent information here.) 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HerbalMothering/archive

BOOKS: 

No More Ritalin : Treating ADHD Without Drugs; Dr. Mary Ann Block 

The A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. Diet: A Comprehensive Look at Contributing Factors and Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, by Rachel Bell, et al 

The Myth of the A.D.D Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion, by Thomas Armstrong 

Ritalin-Free Kids : Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for Add and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems, by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, et al 

The Natural Approach to Attention Deficit Disorder 
(Add) : Drug-Free Ways to Treat the Roots of This Childhood Epidemic (Keats Good Health Guide, by Ronald L. Hoffman 
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Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD...A New, Non-Drug, Natural Approach* 
 

ADD (and ADHD) is a baffling and frustrating disorder not only for those who have the condition, but also for their loved ones and our nation's dedicated doctors who attempt to treat it. 

The frustration among physicians is due to the fact that science has not yet identified the cause or causes of ADD. Thus, the subjects of cause, and therefore a precisely appropriate treatment for the condition are still two very large question marks. 

A prominent neurologist states, "The more you study hyperactivity or ADD, the less certain you are as to what it is, or whether it is a thousand different situations all called by the same name." (5) 

"No single cause has yet been identified for ADHD. In fact, ADHD will probably one day prove to be an umbrella term for a number of associated disorders." (3) 

"There is no identified cause specific to ADD... We are left with the possibility that ADD may be a catch-all condition." (13) 

"The cause of ADD and ADHD is not known, but structural abnormalities have been ruled out. The leading suspect appears to be problems with neurotransmitters, possibly associated with decreased activity or stimulation in the upper brainstem and frontal midbrain. There is also suspicion that toxins, environmental problems, or neurologic immaturity could be causative factors." (8) 

There are many theories as to ADD's cause, but as yet no facts. This explains why practically all physicians in the U.S. currently attempt to simply mask patients' symptoms of the disorder with powerful drugs, as their only alternative. 

The problem with drug treatment of ADD, however, are the frequent and dangerous side effects they produce. More on that in a moment. 

"The American Psychiatric Association lists fourteen signs, of which at least eight must be present for a child to be officially classified as ADD. These fourteen signs are: 

1. Often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated. 

2. Having Difficulty remaining seated when required to do so. 

3. Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. 

4. Having difficulty awaiting turn in gams or group activities. 

5. Often blurting out answers before questions are completed. 

6. Having difficulty in following instructions. 

7. Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities. 

8. Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another. 

9. Having difficulty playing quietly. 

10. Often talking excessively. 

11. Often interrupting or intruding on others. 

12. Often not listening to what is being said. 

13. Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities. 

14. Often engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences. (8) 
 

Here is another point to consider: "Official guidelines for evaluating ADD symptoms are vague and open to interpretation - yet they lead to an all-or-nothing diagnosis. In all the behaviors listed by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association) under ADD, the word often is used to describe behavior that has become a problem. How useful is this?" (13) 

Millions of parents across the United States are virtually frantic over the fact that not only have their children been diagnosed as having ADD, but that the prescribed treatment usually consists of powerful stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Cylert. 

As a result, many such parents have the constant, gnawing, and disturbing sense of feeling trapped within a very bad situation: 

"If I don't avail my child of these prescribed drugs...what else can I do that will help? If I keep my child on the drugs, I'm forced to watch the frequent side effects taking their toll...on my child's health, and on the peace within my family!" 

What are some of these drugs' side effects? 

Several short term effects could be the following: "Ritalin rebound", loss of appetite and resulting weight loss, insomnia, headaches, stomachaches, drowsiness, potential liver damage, facial tics, and a "sense of sadness", to mention just a few. 

The Downside of Ritalin 
Derived from the same family as cocaine Lasts only four hours 
Treats only some of the symptoms of ADD 
Provides superficial healing, does not treat the root of the problem. 
Can cause side effects such as appetite loss, anxiety, insomnia, tics, headaches, stomach aches. Gets children into the habit of taking drugs 
May need to be taken over entire life span (14) 

"Ritalin as a Recreational Drug: A recently identified drawback of Ritalin is its popularity as an illicit drug. The annual survey, 'Monitoring the Future' by the University of Michigan warns of a trend concerning Ritalin abuse. From 1993 to 1994 the number of high school seniors admitting to having abused Ritalin doubled, representing about 350,000 students nation-wide. 
Kids call Ritalin "Vitamin-R," "R-ball," or "the smart drug" and seek it out to study better and to get high." (15) 

"A 1995 Newsweek article reported that students at an upscale New York college crushed and snorted Ritalin tablets like cocaine. They described an immediate rush, as if they felt hyperactive." (16) 

"Ritalin consumption has risen nearly sixfold during the past five years. (16) One college student took Ritalin in order to help focus his attention in his studies. Soon he was snorting it twice daily, needing more and more to achieve the same results. The side effects of Ritalin addiction include strokes, hyperthermia, hypertension, and seizures. Several deaths have been attributed 
to Ritalin abuse, including that of a high school senior in Roanoke, Virginia, who died from snorting Ritalin after drinking beer. 
(16) According to DEA statistics, emergency room admissions due to Ritalin abuse numbered 1,171 in 1994." (15) 

Also, several authorities report that the long term consequences could be devastating. Equally disturbing is that for many children and adults, the common, prescribed drugs often do not work very well. 

"Still there remains much we don't know about the benefits or drawbacks of taking Ritalin, especially over many years... Nevertheless, what published research does exist has found the long-term value of Ritalin disappointing. Studies beginning in the 1960s showed that children who took stimulants for hyperactivity (the name for ADD at the time) over several years did just as 
poorly in later life as the group of hyperactive children who took no medication. Compared to children without hyperactivity, both groups were less likely to have finished high school or to be employed, and more likely to have had trouble with the law or to have drug or alcohol problems. A large percentage of the hyperactive group, medicated or not, did relatively well, but overall 
those in this category wound up struggling much more frequently than their normal peers... My own experience with young patients has brought these dry statistics to life for me and has sometimes contradicted the studies." (13) 

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Children who have ever been on Ritalin are not allowed into the Military and other organizations!!!!  Talk about the left hand not matching the right hand!
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One Diagnosis or Many? 
The epidemic proportions of the ADD diagnosis are gaining widespread attention from parents, educators, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Many people are seriously questioning the possibility of overdiagnosis. This issue was raised in an informative cover article in Newsweek magazine. "ADHD has become America's No. l childhood psychiatric disorder.... Since 
1990, Dr. Daniel Safer of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine calculates, the number of kids taking Ritalin has grown two and a half times. Among today's 38 million children at the ages of five to fourteen, he reports, 1.3 million take it regularly.  Sales of the drug last year alone topped $350 million. This is, beyond question, an American phenomenon. The rate of Ritalin 
use in the United States is at least five times higher than in the rest of the world, according to federal studies." 

The article continues, "For all the success they've had in treating ADHD, many doctors are convinced that Ritalin is overprescribed." Dr. Peter S. Jensen, chief of the Child and Adolescent Disorders Research Branch of the National Institutes of Mental Health is quoted: "I fear that ADHD is suffering from the 'disease of the month' syndrome." Dr. Bruce Epstein, a St. 
Petersburg, Florida, pediatrician, reports that parents of normal children have asked him to prescribe Ritalin just to improve their children's grades. "When I won't give it to them, they switch doctors.'' 

We applaud Dr. Thomas Armstrong's warning about the current overdiagnosis of ADD in his book The Myth of the ADD Child. We have seen a number of children who were high-spirited, extremely imaginative, and so precocious that their parents were unable to keep up with their ceaseless questions and insatiable intellectual appetites. We have also met children who were 
overamped, but performed just fine in school. Many of these children have been diagnosed with ADD, even though we feel they fall more into the category of unusual, remarkable, or gifted children. Some youngsters are the victims of rigid, overly strict teachers whose highly structured classroom environments simply do not pace their temperaments and learning styles. Or they 
have excessively rule-bound parents who do not extend to their children the freedom that they need to thrive and expand their creative talents. 

We have also seen a large number of children whose behaviors are very disruptive and disturbing through no fault of teachers.  No one can expect a teacher in a classroom of forty active children to cope happily with the statistical average of 10 percent (four children) in her class with ADD. The amount of extra attention, discipline, and time just trying to keep these children and those around them safe is more than many teachers can handle. 

Can we, however, lump all of these children together under one diagnostic category? Can a child who lashes out at his family, peers, and teachers in a violent, destructive manner and has no interest in his schoolwork fit into the same diagnostic group as a sweet, gregarious child who simply cannot pay attention in class? Conventional medicine would say that, based on their scores on standardized ADD tests, both children could indeed have ADD. Homeopathy would say that these are two distinct children whose problems and temperaments are as different as night and day. A homeopath would prescribe very different medicines for the two children, rather than giving them both stimulants. 

And what about the many conditions that mimic ADD, such as dyslexia and other learning disabilities, vision and auditory problems, epilepsy, developmental disorders, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, food allergies, lead poisoning, caffeinism, anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder, just to name a few? It is essential to understand and 
differentiate each individual child, not only from the viewpoint of psychological testing, but also to comprehend deeply the physical symptoms, experience, feelings, beliefs, and motivations of each child. 

Unlike many other syndromes there is no physical examination or laboratory test that definitely confirms the diagnosis of ADD.  While some psychologists and educators use the Conners' Rating Scales, others, including physicians, often base the diagnosis on the subjective reports of parents and teachers. The inconsistency of diagnostic criteria and apparent overdiagnosing in this 
country has led many to question the diagnosis of ADD. Some educational experts acknowledge that "The position that ADHD is not a proven syndrome has many advocates, physicians as well as educators. However, whether or not a syndrome exists, it is clear that many children have difficulty in school because of an inability to attend to tasks. The ideal would be to describe 
each child's strengths and weaknesses and offer an individualized program." We would like to take this a step further: Offer an individualized medicine as well as a learning program tailored to the needs of the individual child. 
 

The Homeopathic Approach to ADD 
Homeopaths are able to treat ADD effectively in many cases by bringing the individual into balance. Homeopaths treat people with ADD, not the ADD itself. For a homeopath, what needs to be treated is the specific pattern of symptoms which an individual presents. Only the one homeopathic medicine that specifically matches the unique symptoms of the individual will 
allow the person to live in a functional way. 

Each of these individuals included in this book is unique, and it is that uniqueness that leads to the homeopathic prescription in such a different way than with conventional medicine. Our clinical experience, presented in the case studies in this book, as well as the published experience of other homeopaths, suggests strongly that homeopathy is a useful treatment for ADD. 
Homeopaths always take the whole person into account. If the chief complaint of the person is his inability to sit still, difficulty concentrating, or other symptoms of ADD, these behaviors would certainly be taken into account, but in combination with all the person's other symptoms. The homeopath would note anything unusual about that person. That might include a history of 
scarlet fever during childhood, a strong fear of birds, recurrent dreams of falling out of bed at night and no one coming to the rescue, or a craving for persimmons. The homeopath sincerely seeks to understand the uniqueness of the patient. 
 

The Pros of Homeopathic Treatment of ADD 

Treats the whole person at the root of the problem Considered safe, without the side effects of Ritalin and other medications 

Uses natural, nontoxic medicines 

Treats each person as an individual 

Heals physical as well as mental and emotional symptoms 

Lasts for months or years rather than hours 

Is inexpensive 

Is cost-effective 
 

Why Choose Homeopathy over Conventional Medicine for ADD? 

The most common reason patients choose homeopathic treatment is the positive results they have heard from others with similar problems or because they have been referred by another physician or practitioner who is familiar with homeopathic treatment of ADD. 

The patient or parents have read about homeopathy, and the philosophy and approach make more sense to them than conventional medicine. 

Many adults and parents choose homeopathic treatment because it is safe, nontoxic, and effective. 

Conventional medications for ADD act very briefly. A dose of Ritalin, for example, lasts only about four hours. One dose of the correct homeopathic medicine usually lasts at least four to six months. 

Homeopathic medicines often result in growth spurts in children and never suppress a child's normal development. Nor do they cause such side effects as tics, appetite suppression, and insomnia. 

Homeopathic medicines are very inexpensive. The only significant cost of homeopathic treatment is office visits. Once the person has responded well to the homeopathic medicine, appointments are infrequent. 

Homeopathy treats the whole person. Not only do learning and behavioral problems improve, so do most or all of the other physical, mental, and emotional complaints of the person. Conventional medication for ADD works only on specific learning and behavioral problems. Sally Smith, a parent of an ADD child formerly on Ritalin, describes this phenomenon by holding up a ruler and pointing to the one-inch mark: "Ritalin makes you available to learn. You and your parents and teachers have to work on all the rest.'' 

Homeopathy will not make a child depressed or dull. Parents sometimes complain that, although stimulant and antidepressant medications have eliminated some of the more severe problem behaviors, their children's spirits seem dampened and they do not seem like their former selves. 

Homeopathic medicines are generally given infrequently and over limited periods of time. Conventional medications put only a temporary lid on ADD symptoms. Doctors often  recommend that these medications be taken for the rest of the patient's life. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
The soul is healed by being with children. 
-- Fyodor Dostoyevski 

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