Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity--Cause and Effect in Kids

ADHD in Children

   I had three kids and raised the alone for the most part.  Their dad was out of the home for most of their lives, and I can affirm the fact that boys are full of energy, ideas, and they do not get tired.  When they do finally get tired, they simply fall asleep wherever they are, whether it be the bath tub or the dinner table.

   Having a structured lifestyle always helped, so that at least I would know when to expect that burst of energy, the unsatisfiable hunger, or the sleeping in the dinner plate.  We got it down to tolerable chaos in the house, and then, for some unexpected reason, my youngest boy at about age 5 or 6 began having a hard time keeping to a schedule.  He was a very happy and sweet kid, and his nickname for the first few years of his life was "smiley".  It was not a problem of getting along with others, or rebelling, it was a problem he developed  of not being able to stick with the program long enough to get it done;  for example, we had a time set when we worked together and emptied the trashes, made beds, and swept up the floors.  He  became unable to do things like bring the trash can back in and put a bag in it and I would find him standing in front of the television, the trash can outside the door where he dropped it.  When I asked him what he was doing, he would look at me and say, "What?"

It is a normal phase

When I talked to my grandparents about his problem, they both said not to worry about it, that it was probably just a phase he was going through, and that it would be something that he would outgrow.


I let it go for a while longer, and it only got worse. Finally, he was bringing home notes from the teacher that he was not paying attention in class. That was it, and off to the doctor we went.

The doctor had not seen the kids for a few months, and as soon as he observed him for a few minutes, he asked me some questions about his bedtimes, what he ate, and if anything in the household structure was different or had changed in any way. I gave him all the answers he asked for, and went out of the room. We sat for maybe ten or fifteen minutes and doctor returned with some forms, and he asked me to take them home to fill them out. They were to chart what he and his brothers were eating, everything they were eating, and for a two week period of time.

The first thing that always comes to my mind when I get something like this is was this problem my fault? Why did he want to chart their food?

By the end of the charting of meals, my son came to me and told me something that surprised me. Since we had been keeping track of what he was eating, he said that he noticed that every time he ate chocolate he didn't feel right. He also said that he thought that maybe sugar was making him feel funny.

That hit me rather strangely. The boy himself had noticed a change in how he felt when he was eating sugars.

Then and Now

This is him at the age we discovered his problem
This is him at the age we discovered his problem
This is him as an adult, graduating from naval boot camp.
This is him as an adult, graduating from naval boot camp.

To Our Suprise

    By this time, he was so flighty that just getting his homework done in the evening to completion was a feat in itself.  He would sit and do one problem, and then get up and go to the bathroom, and get sidetracked on the way out.  I would set him down with the homework again and the next time I turned around he would be gone again and I would find him half crawled into the refrigerator looking for something and he did not know what it was.

   Every night of homework was brutal on both of us, and our relationship was becoming strained.  It was getting to the point where I was wanting to punish him for disobedience, even though I knew he could not help himself.

  The doctor's appointment was informative.  I thought that he would suggest putting the boy on meds to control the hyperactivity and his inability to stay focused.

   When the doctor came in and spoke to us, I was not ready for the results of what he had to say.  "I think that your son is either extremely sensitive, and border lining on allergic to sugar, and he is allergic to chocolate."

   His extreme sensitivity to sugar was causing him to respond in a physical/emotional way and was the full cause of his Hyperactive episodes, which the doctor added could very easily have been misdiagnosed as a common ADHD condition and he could have been put on meds for it.

   In the end, we had to end his sugar intake to a bare minimum, and had to watch for anything that may have chocolate hiding in it.  To this day he remains a little hyperactive, for it is nearly impossible to eat food and not find any sugar in anything.  He is a grown man now, and he learned how to channel his hyperactive tendencies to benefit his life, for he is a sports photojournalist and needs all the "hyperactivity" he can get to keep the pace with the athletes.

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