Natural Remedies for Children with ADD
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Simple solutions for children AND ADULTS who need help with focus, clarity, and behavior.....
Please know going into this that I am NOT a doctor nor am I from the healthcare industry. I am a mother of 5 children with one that is borderline ADD (he has not been diagnosed but he fits all of the behaviors used to diagnose the disorder) and I am determined not to medicate my child at the age of 5. I also need to note that I will never fault a parent for doing what they believe will help their child. I completely understand that there are situations which do require the medications as for some children, this may be the only answer. I simply advise that BEFORE you go to the medications, you take the time to investigate some all natural solutions and lifestyle changes that could be your answer to medicinal freedom.
Too easily today, active children are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Don't you remember the days when parents would excuse their active child by saying, "Sorry, he is a bit hyper". You never hear that anymore. It is always, "Sorry, he has ADD". IT IS ESTIMATED BY EXPERTS THAT OVER 1 MILLION CHILDREN ARE MISDIAGNOSED WITH ADD/ADHD EVERY YEAR! If they have issues in school-they are labeled ADD. If they like to move quickly from one activity to another-they are labeled ADD. If they have trouble sitting still-labeled. This happens as early as Kindergarten when some children are having their first school experiences. Most doctors will accompany this diagnosis with a prescription slip for a medicine with a LONG list of side effects. Some of these side effects include things like depression, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, mood changes, loss of appetite, and they go on and on. What is scarier is that in many cases these medicines that are meant to deal with the "mental" side of the disorder and having psychological side effects are prescribed by a family practitioner without the evaluation of a psychologist.
Many children who start on the drug end up taking it for the remainder of their lives as they get accustomed to the "clarity" effect it offers. I know adults in their 40's who can't kick the need to take it and take it daily before work. I should mention that a portion of tese started taking it in college to study and were never prescribed the medication. This only proves the addivtive nature of the medication. Do the Benefits of the Drugs outweigh the Side Effects? Only a parent can decide...first, you should better understand the disorder.
What is ADD/ADHD
ADD is the general term used to describe people with ADHD. They mean almost the same thing, but there are three types of ADHD.
- Inattentive Type
- Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
- Combined Type.
Some say that the disorder is genetic and is found mostly in children however some adults may be diagnosed as well. The easiest way to describe the disorder is to say that your brain is in constant communication with your body. It is always sending messages on how to think, act, and feel. In those with ADD/ADHD, those messages are not always sent clearly causing confusion.
What Causes ADD?
The disorder is still being studied extensively and scientists really aren't sure yet what exactly causes it. However, they have found that hormones also play a role. One of the causes for ADHD stems from problems in the gut (digestive issues) and food allergies or sensitivities. This is true in my son's case. We found that he has issues digesting lactose. I will spare you the details of what the symptoms that led us to figure this one out.
Other Factors Could Be things like:
- Smoking while pregnant.
- Other nutritional factors: preservatives, DYES-Specifically, Blue #1 and #2, Green #3, Orange B, Red #3 and #40, Yellow #5 and #6, and Sodium benzoate.
- Brain Injury
What are the Symptoms of ADD/ADHD ?
The list below shows the symptoms of the three types of ADHD.
Symptoms of inattention:
- distracted easily
- Bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
- Misplacing items often
- Don’t seem to listen when spoken to
- confused easily
- Difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
- Struggle to follow instructions
Symptoms of hyperactivity:
- Fidgety and squirmy
- Talk nonstop
- Trouble sitting still
- Difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities
Symptoms of impulsiveness:
- Inappropriate comments
- Show emotions without restraint
- Act without thinking about consequences
- Interrupt others
So- Now you understand the disorder a bit better. Here are some natural alternatives that MAY help to keep your child off the prescriptions! It is not true in every case but I can tell you the difference that I have witnessed in my son is amazing.
Natural Remedies for ADD/ ADHD
1.ROUTINE & RELAXATION- It is important to establish a routine for your child. Make everything as scheduled as possible so they understand what comes next. Meal times, chores, even bed time routines are so important. Keep your home as calm as possible and try calming activities like massage and warm baths.
This also goes for discipline. Make sure both parents and caregivers are on board with the method you choose. Be sure to thoroughly and CALMLY explain to the child what they did wrong and be sure they understand what the right choice would have been.
2. HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES - These were a lifesaver for me. We were having trouble potty training our son at the age of 4 (and still the occasional "accident" now) when we turned to what we called "feel better drops". He understood what to do but would be so busy with something that he would choose it over the restroom. There may be many versions of these but we used a product by Newton Laboratories called "Hypercalm". It is made from all natural ingredients and is available in a dropper or pellet form. The drops didn't put him into a coma and didn't give him a high, they just took the "edge" off and allowed him to think a bit more clearly to make the right decision.
Other suggestions are Herbs that calm and soothe the nervous system. They include lemon balm, chamomile, hops, passion flower, skullcap, brahmi, valerian, and St. John’s Wort.
3. DIETARY CHANGES - Again, we found that my son had issues with milk. I also noticed a HUGE difference when I began eliminating processed foods from his diet. Try to go as close to raw and organic as possible and eliminate dyes and preservatives. This doesn't mean that you have to make everything from scratch! There are so many all natural brands now and even "convenience" items available without the additives. There are even "ADD Diets" that are suggested. They include some of the following tips:
- Eat a high-protein diet, including beans, cheese, eggs, meat, and nuts. Add protein foods in the morning and for after-school snacks, to improve concentration.
- Eat fewer simple carbohydrates, such as candy, corn syrup, honey, sugar, products made from white flour, white rice, and potatoes without the skins.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and some fruits (things like oranges, tangerines, pears, grapefruit, apples, and kiwi).
- Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in tuna, salmon, other cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and olive and canola oil.
4. Nutritional Supplements - Even simple combinations of the "right" vitamins and minerals can make a quick improvement in your child's focus and behavior. While there are different methods that should be discussed with your child's doctor, the suggestions include:
- Omega 3's
- Calcium, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B (usually all found in a good multivitamin)
- Vitamin C
5. Exercise and Activity - get your child active in something that provides structure.
- Excercise: This may sound CRAZY but try taking them to a Zumba class. They do make this for kids and its called Zumbatomic or even the adult classes would be great. Martial Arts, Yoga, and sports also provide structured learning as well!
- Activity- Music classes and Art classes are fantastic. They get to be hands on with a project while they learn and explore. This keeps their minds and hands busy! Many of these children (and me) are Kinestetic. It is a tactile way of learning where the best learning takes place while physical activity is also happening. Give me a slinky during a lecture and I will absorb everything that is said. No slinky--my mind wonders and I doze off!
To close, I would like everyone to know that there is nothing "WRONG" with children with ADD. I wish that the disorder was better understood by people. These children are intelligent, bright, and happy just like other kids. They simply learn and process information differently than others might. In many cases medicine may be the only answer but if you are willing to go the drug route, why not try a few things that may naturally help your child first. These natural remedies can actually be beneficial to all children and adults so implementing them for the whole family will only increase their benefits!
Only you will know what is right for you so do your research and with your doctor make an educated decision for your child's method of care.
If you have any all natural remedies you sware by- PLEASE SHARE!