Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suffer from chronic periods of inattention and impulsiveness. At school and in the home, kids with ADD/ADHD struggle to remain focused on the task at hand. However, their attention span may increase dramatically when performing tasks of their own choosing. Conventional treatments, including prescription stimulants and amphetamines such as Ritalin and Dexedrine, have many side effects. Naturopathic medicine offers treatment options for children with ADD/ADHD.
Diet and Nutrition
Good nutrition is crucial for health, especially for growing children. Many kids are sensitive to food additives such as BHA, BHT, salicylates, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Also, children are more likely to suffer from ADD/ADHD if their diets are high in caffeine (including cola drinks), refined carbohydrates (including white bread, soda pop, chips, chocolate bars and candy) and trans fat (including margarine, shortening, fast food and convenience foods made with hydrogenated oil). Many of our children’s favourite foods are high in sugar, trans fat, caffeine and calories and contain no nutritional value. Even foods that are usually considered healthy, such as peanut butter, often contain trans fat-rich hydrogenated oil. Read labels carefully to ensure your child is eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and hydrogenated oil.
ADHD/ADD also occurs more frequently in children whose diets are low in omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in walnuts, fish and freshly-ground flaxseed. The disorder may also occur in children with undiagnosed sensitivities to foods such as wheat gluten or dairy. To improve and maintain your children’s health, reduce their intake of sugar and trans fat, serve more fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, fish and whole grains, and try eliminating foods they may be sensitive to.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
An unbalanced body creates mental and emotional imbalance. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has restored harmony to body and mind, balancing yin and yang using foods, herbs and therapies such as acupuncture
Appropriate supplements for a child suffering from ADD/ADHD may include:
Herbal medicines have long been used to relax the nervous system, relieve stress and calm the mind. Herbs that relieve ADD/ADHD include chamomile, skul cap, oat straw, chamomile, catnip, lemon balm, hawthorn berry, gotu kolu, valerian and rosemary. Herbal medicine should always be administered under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor.