Many doctors are quick to prescribe ADHD or ADD medications for these disorders that affect between 3-5% of children and adults in the United States. But unfortunately they usually don't take a look at the root cause of the problem. If they did, they might be able to recommend an easier, safer solution.
ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, and it is the most common behavioral problem in children and teenagers. It is characterized by an inability to focus or concentrate for extended periods of time. ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, marked by hyperactive or inappropriate behavior. The condition is ten times more common in boys than girls.
The exact causes of ADD and ADHD are not known, but it is believed that various genetic factors are involved. Many believe that chemical imbalances in the brain are responsible, which is what prescription medications such as Ritalin and Adderall act to correct.
The problem with these ADD medications is that there are many possible side effects, and long term effects of these drugs have not been well established. So it might be better to try natural remedies before deciding on potentially harmful drugs for yourself or your children.
There are widely held opinions as to what factors may influence the development of Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Some believe that frequent childhood infections, namely ear infections, might be a cause. Also exposure to lead and other heavy metals might lead to learning disabilities. Many postulate that nutritional deficiencies might be the root of ADD and similar disorders, and this school of thought has seen many supporters over the last few years.
According to experts, attacking the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder require a two-pronged approach. The first is changing your child's diet. The second is incorporating nutrients that may be lacking.
Dietary Modifications That Can Make A Difference:
1) Limit the amounts of artificial flavoring, coloring, preservatives and other unnatural food additives in their diet. It is believed that hyperactivity might be a result of these additives.
2) Limit the amount of processed sugars, which also might contribute to hyperactivity.
3) Use as many natural foods as possible, rather than processed or refined alternatives.
Important Nutrients That Can Help:
There are many nutrients that can help with mental function and concentration. Most children and teenagers do not eat properly, so they are lacking in many important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may be contributing to ADD and ADHD.
As most people have a deficiency of one nutrient or another, experts recommend supplementing with a multivitamin containing the Vitamin B family, along with essential minerals such as copper, iodine, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
For teenagers aged 12 and up and adults, experts recommend a more comprehensive supplement with all of the essential vitamins and minerals, plus amino acids, herbal extracts and other important nutrients that can stimulate the brain and improve concentration.
Some of these herbs such as ginkgo biloba and mahonia grape can actually promote nutrient delivery to the brain and balance neurotransmitters, much the way ADD medications do but without the possible side effects.
One such product is called Focus For Children and it contains all natural ingredients that may help treat the symptoms of ADHD as well as promote general health and well-being.
It is important to have yourself or your child properly diagnosed to find out if in fact it is ADD/ADHD or another disorder that is present. The above diet and supplement information is important regardless of whether or not you or your child suffers from ADD or ADHD, but before you take steps to treat the condition you should see a psychologist or qualified medical professional.
If you or your child is diagnosed with the disorder and diet modifications and supplementation do not work, then it may be necessary to take prescription ADD medications such as Ritalin or Adderall. These are stimulants that act to normalize neurotransmitters in the brain, believed to be the root of the problem.
However, as we mentioned above, there can be many side effects with these ADD medications, and long term effects are not established.
There is also another new ADD medication called Strattera, which is not a stimulant but rather a non-stimulant that acts on the neurotransmitter epinephrine. It is believed to be somewhat safer than the stimulant ADD medications, but again there are side effects to contend with as there are with all prescription drugs.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a serious issue, as it can affect a child's ability to learn and function properly in society. ADD can also plague an individual through adolescence and into adulthood. It is not a problem that affects only children as many had once believed.
It is important that you get properly diagnosed for this disorder. We recommend that you try natural treatment first. A diet and supplementation with important nutrients might be able to treat ADHD naturally. If this is not successful you might want to try ADD medications.
After all if the alternative is your child acting up and causing disruption, inhibiting his or her ability to learn, then Ritalin and similar medications may be the right decision for you. However you should definitely be aware of the possible side effects before you make this decision.