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Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Updated on April 7, 2011

ADHD is a severe specific learning difficulty affecting many aspects of behaviour: attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Children with ADHD often have poor attention or inattention, lack of impulse control, and hyperactivity.

Food and drug treatments for ADHD could be both appealing and worrying.

One of the most appealing options to many parents is to give fish oil or Omega3 supplements. This treatment is based on the theory that children with learning difficulties are not able to easily metabolise essential fatty acids from their diet. Study by psychologist Dr Alex Richardson showed that large doses did indeed lead to some improvements in concentration and motivation among children with mild to moderate attention problems. Large doses of fish oil might have some harmful effects on health.

It is a widespread belief that Japanese children are very smart and healthy because of eating a lots of fish. In Japanese fish market, people often hear this tune: "Fish. Fish. Fish. You get smart when you eat fish. Smart Smart Smart. Fish Fish Fish. You get healthy when you eat fish. Healthy. Healthy. Healthy."

Fish oil are also very effective in treating dyslexia and dyspraxia (problem of physical movement).

Drugs have been widely used for treating ADHD, and attracted a lot of attention, particularly in the press. The most usual medications are Ritalin and Concerta. Both of these are stimulants, creating 'highs' in adults, and could damp down impulsive and overactive behaviour while helping the child to focus. Ratilin is generally short acting and needs to be taken twice a day. Concerta, by contrast, is released more slowly into the bloodstream so its effects last all day without the need for a lunchtime top-up.

Study revealed that taking Ritalin over a number of years showed no long-term benefit on children's behaviour and a physical side-effect of slower growth rate.


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