ADHD/ADD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are names given to two similar disorders that are becoming increasingly prevalent in modern times. Diagnoses of ADHD/ADD among children in the U.S. have increased dramatically in recent years, rising 22% from 2003 to 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, about 9.5% of school-aged children have ADHD/ADD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms
ADHD/ADD symptoms include restlessness, difficulty focusing, poor impulse control, distractibility and over-activity. These symptoms will often have significant negative consequences on your child’s academic performance, social skills, and relationships with family members, teachers and peers. In addition, ADHD/ADD symptoms are often accompanied by learning disorders, discipline problems, anxiety and/or depression.
How Do You Diagnose ADHD/ADD?
ADHD/ADD is not a “real” disease; rather, it is a dysfunctional state. To further illustrate this notion, you must understand that there is no test that can be done to prove you have this disorder. ADHD/ADD will not show up on a CAT scan, or an MRI, or a blood test or any diagnostic test available. In reality, ADHD/ADD is merely a name for a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, suspect you have ADHD/ADD or are currently being treated for ADHD/ADD, you may have exhibited symptoms such as inattention and/or hyperactivity, inability to focus, or maybe even anxiety. You may have all or some of the symptoms of ADHD/ADD, but this does not mean you have this “disease”. Some sort of dysfunction in your body is causing your symptoms.
What Causes ADHD/ADD?
ADHD/ADD is a complex disorder of your brain (or your child’s brain) caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many “experts” will state that “nobody knows” what the true cause of AHDH/ADD is. However, these all too common disorders have been associated with maternal smoking, alcohol use, and poor nutrition during pregnancy. Other culprits include vitamin and mineral deficiencies, lack of natural sunlight, and excessive television watching early in life. Additionally, refined and processed foods and sugar intake are just a few of the environmental factors that increase risk for these conditions.
The Link between ADHD/ADD and Inflammation
All diseases that you or your family may incur have a common underlying cause – inflammation. Inflammation literally means a burning of tissues in your body. This burning is the result of the complex interaction between your immune system, your nervous system, and your hormones (endocrine system). These systemic factors are also known as your Immuno-Neuro-Endocrine (INE) system and any stress on these systems is known as INE stress. Immuno-Neuro-Endocrine (INE) stress causes inflammation and can result in you or your child experiencing the symptoms of ADHD/ADD.
What Causes Immuno-Neuro-Endocrine (INE) Stress?
Any unhealthy or unnatural substance, environmental condition or activity will contribute to INE stress, inflammation and eventually a host of disease states (including ADHD/ADD).
The following is a list of some of the more common culprits involved with contributing to INE stress and inflammation:
Your Autonomic Nervous System and ADHD/ADD
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for maintaining your body’s overall metabolic balance. Think of the ANS like the command center in your body, which attempts to keep you within your optimal range of physiologic functioning by a series of actions. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is made up of two parts, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Your SNS also referred to as your “fight or flight” response, stimulates in times of stress and during an emergency. Conversely, your PNS is responsible for initiating your rest, repair, and maintenance response. These two corresponding divisions of your autonomic nervous system are neither active, nor disabled at the same time. In fact, they are always at opposite stimuli
The Link between Blood Sugar Dysregulation, ANS Dysfunction and ADHD/ADD
Your ANS is always trying to tightly control your blood sugar. You must understand that if your blood sugar is too high or too low, this imbalanced state can easily manifest as all sorts of symptoms. If you have high blood sugar, your parasympathetic nervous system will become activated and lead to sleepiness, inattention, and lethargy (as well as many other symptoms). Conversely, if your blood sugars are too low, your sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” response) is activated resulting in the release of adrenaline into your blood stream. Adrenaline release can cause anxiety and hyperactivity.
Low Fat/High Carbohydrate Diets Cause Blood Sugar Dysregulation One of the major drivers of the ADHD/ADD epidemic is the dietary recommendations espoused by many “experts” to avoid saturated fat in your diet. These nutritionally imbalanced diets have a myriad of deleterious effects including turning your blood sugar levels into a roller coaster ride. This rising and crashing sugar levels lead you to have ANS dysfunction and consequently ANS symptoms.
Do ADHD/ADD Medications Work?
There are many drugs on the market that are FDA approved to treat the symptoms of ADHD/ADD and they all have one thing in common, they are stimulants. Will taking one of the recommended drugs improve your symptoms of ADHD/ADD? Possibly. Will ingesting one of these powerful, stimulant drugs actually fix your underlying problem? Absolutely not. Moreover, here in lies the major problem with the majority of symptoms focused solutions to dysfunctional problems. Symptom focused treatments, whether they are pharmaceutical, herbal, or “all natural” rarely get to the root cause of your problems, therefore oftentimes create new metabolic imbalances in your body chemistry, and therefore increase your INE stress and inflammation.
How Do Stimulants Help Treat the Symptoms of ADHD/ADD?
The stimulant medications used to “treat” ADHD/ADD work by increasing your sympathetic tone, sort of like hitting “the gas pedal” in your physiology. This stimulatory effect may increase your blood sugar, raise your heart rate and your blood pressure, and contribute to anxiety, dry mouth, sweating, constipation, insomnia, and myriad of additional dysfunctional symptoms.
If you decide to treat your ADHD/ADD with prescription drugs, you may feel better temporarily. The drug treatment may actually help stabilize your blood sugars, and therefore ease some of your symptoms. However, if you ignore the dietary indiscretions that caused your ADHD/ADD symptoms in the first place, you will eventually develop a whole host of other diseases resulting from your poor diet, lifestyle habits, INE stress and inflammation.
Your Symptoms of ADHD/ADD are just the “Tip of the Iceberg”
The very fact that you are experiencing symptoms of attention deficit disorder, and therefore are most likely suffering from blood sugar dysregulation, ANS dysfunction, INE stress and inflammation means that you are at great risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and a long list of other nutritionally and life style derived diseases. Unfortunately, instead of trying to fix what is wrong, drug solutions merely cover-up your symptoms and allow whatever process is occurring to go unchecked and unremedied.
You Must Take Control of Your Life if You Want to Banish your ADHD/ADD
I know that you have a very busy life that may not be favorable to eating healthy foods, getting proper sleep and doing all of the little things that your mom always tells you to do. It is vital that you make these changes a priority. I urge anyone who may have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, but is looking for a holistic, non-medicated treatment plan to call for a consultation in my Spring Lake, NJ office. Please do not continue to injure yourself further with your unhealthy habits and stimulant drugs. Instead, I will guide you on how to eat properly and minimize your environmental stressors. Addressing the root cause of your ADHD/ADD will have a wonderful effect on you both immediately, and in the future.
Are you suffering from ADHD/ADD symptoms? Come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman by calling, 732-268-7663, discover a natural approach to combating the underlying causes of your ADHD/ADD symptoms, and improve your overall health.