ADD and ADHD are common diagnoses that now are reported to affect at least 5% of our children and many of these kids suffer from family or other social dysfunction that masquerade as these conditions. It is important to support our children with psychotherapy and general and targeted nutrition. While optimal nutrition with whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods without additives and preservatives is critical, there are specific essential fatty acids that are critical to replace to avoid biochemical defects that not only lead to the commonly appreciated symptoms of these conditions but also to the commonly under-appreciated findings that include dyslexia, dyspraxia, night blindness and dry skin. Obtaining an essential fatty acid profile is a good idea for everyone who has one of these diagnoses.
ADD and ADHD are characterized by distractability, impulsivity, and disruptive behavior. About 5% of school kids are diagnosed; this is massive overdiagnosis. The influence of Big Pharma and drug therapy is revealed and the drugs used reviewed. The role of essential fatty acid metabolic defects and the importance of psychotherapy highlighted
Why ADHD and ADD are Becoming a Pandemic
According to a November 2014 article published in Social Science and Medicine, the diagnosis of ADHD and ADD are spreading like an infectious disease. Until the past decade, the US consumed 90% of the drugs used to treat these disorders, and the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Brazil the rest. Even though far more of these drugs are now used in the US, we only account for 75% of drug sales. This means there's been a tremendous increase in sales around the world even more than in the US.
The UK consumed only one percent of this marketplace about a 20 years ago but this has risen to five percent today. Similarly, drug sales rose from 10 million daily doses to 53 million doses in 2008!
So, why is this happening? Big Pharma lobbying has increased and marketing restrictions are far more lax, psychiatrists have moved away from psychotherapy and have become psycho-pharmacologists, standards for diagnosing these disorders are much looser, and information on the Internet is abundant and often supporting the use of drugs.
The underlying causes for making this diagnosis don't even consider the abnormal essential fatty acid defects that so many of these kids have. Dr. Len and Nurse Vicki discuss these simple flaws and what you can do that is often easy to cure!
Can Diet Treat ADD and ADHD?
A study published in the journal, Pediatrics, in January of 2013 concluded that adding essential fatty acids could treat children with ADD and ADHD. It went on to state that adopting a healthy dietary pattern that includes fish, vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains is a good idea because most kids with ADD and ADHD consume a diet high in fast foods, red meats, processed meat, potato chips, high-fat dairy, and soft drinks. They found it was unusual for a child to have these conditions if they consumed a healthy diet.
We have known for decades that essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism is abnormal with kids who have ADD and ADHD. They actually consume as much EFAs as normal kids, but they cannot metabolize them into their downchain metabolites that include EPA, DHA, arachidonic acid, and gammalinolenic acid. It is possible to treat these kids with EFAs and lower symptoms along with the dyslexia, dyspraxia, and night blindness they so often suffer from. There is a product called Efalex that has the proper balance of these EFAs.
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Our ADD/ADHD Health Assessment asks you questions about how the diagnosis was made, what symptoms you have, how you are managing your symptoms, and what can be done to treat this problem with and without drugs.
Neurologists Caution Against ADHD Drugs
The American Academy of Neurology published an article in the March 2013 issue of Neurology a statement advising against the use of neuroenhancing drugs to boost academic achievement is school tests in normal kids. They say the drugs have not been adequately studied in normal kids; it makes you wonder if these drugs are a good idea for kids with these conditions either.
ADD and ADHD are vastly overdiagnosed in our children. All too often children are hyperactive, impulsive, and difficult to teach for reasons other than these diagnoses. Our kids are at the mercy of an epidemic of dysfunctional role models that far too often lead to disordered behavior.
The clinical diagnosis should be guided by adequate observation and testing before using drugs that can be dangerous, especially in the long term. Symptoms characteristic of these syndromes include dyslexia, dyspraxia, night blindness, dry skin, and concentrated urine. They often have abnormal essential fatty acid metabolism defects that can easily and affordably be done. In borderline cases, both fMRIs and spect scans can be very helpful.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vs Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
New research shows that children's risk for learning and behavior problems and obesity rises in correlation to their level or trauma exposure. These findings should encourage physicians to consider diagnosing PTSD rather than ADD/ADHD, which has similar symptoms to PTSD but very different treatment.
The Stanford University study examined kids living in a violent, low-income environment and showed a strong link between abuse, trauma, and neglect and the children's mental and physical health. Some types of trauma were associated with 30 times more behavior and learning problems than those not exposed ot trauma.
This may help cut back on the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of ADD/ADHD.
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