What is ADHD?
Although many people occasionally have
difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior, these behaviors are so persistent in people with ADHD that they interfere with daily life.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed
behavioral disorder of childhood, with the possibility of continuing through adolescence and into adulthood. The prevalence of children ever diagnosed with ADHD increased by 42% between 2003 (7.8%) and 2011 (11.0%). It affects males three times more often than females. The overall prevalence of current adult ADHD is 4.4%.
The core symptoms of ADHD include:
difficulty staying focused and paying attention
difficulty controlling behavior
Generally, these symptoms appear before the age of 7 years and cause significant functional problems at home, in school, and in various social settings. One third of all children with ADHD will continue to exhibit ADHD symptoms into adult life.
About 70% of children will end up on a prescription medication, such as a stimulant, which may have undesirable side effects including irritability, aggression, growth suppression and more.
Why use integrative medicine
to treat ADHD?
ADHD is a complex condition with numerous possible etiologies, which are often not pursued by conventional medicine. With most conventional doctor's recommendations not going beyond stimulant medications, there is often no attempt to move beyond symptom management.
However, people deserve more than lifelong medication recommendations! Possible considerations include genetics, undiagnosed learning disorders, environmental neurotoxins, phthalates and bisphenol A, neurotransmitter imbalances, inadequate phase 2 liver detoxification mechanisms, gastrointestinal sources of inflammation eliciting an excitatory response, and more. Remember, interventions don't have to be just prescription medications; naturopathic physicians treat with compounds found naturally occurring in the body, including amino acids, neurotransmitters, vitamins and minerals.
Support for patients with ADHD
Neurotransmitter testing & balancing
Nerve cells send messages via electrical signals and the release of chemicals called 'neurotransmitters'. Medical science has discovered that neurotransmitters are at the foundation of many psychiatric and neurological disorders. Imbalances in neuro-transmission, due to excessive or deficient levels, are associated with many brain-related concerns. Thankfully, their levels can be measured in a non-invasive way using a urine collection. When abnormalities are discovered, nutritional supplements can be used to influence neurotransmission. Nutritional neuromodulators include various amino acids, standardized herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, and phospholipid derivatives.
Nutrient deficiency testing
Various essential fatty acids and minerals have been shown to be low in patients with ADHD. These can often be tested in multiple ways including blood, urine, or hair.
Exploring neurotoxins, environmental contaminants, and how we detoxify them
A wide variety of compounds can have effects on the central nervous system including man-made chemicals, heavy metals, infectious disease and inflammatory foods, to name a few. In many cases it is advisable to seek beyond the snapshot of inflammatory activity and consider what may be provoking the imbalance from a more fundamental level. Some of the liver pathways we rely on to clear these compounds can be also be directly involved in the production of multiple neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin. If possible causative agents can be identified, these become substantial ways to try to make progress.
Dietary trigger and sensitivity evaluations
What we eat can have tremendous repercussions on our health! The sugar content, or glycemic index, of foods is a primary consideration for mood and cognitive impacts, as are food additives, processing, allergies and sensitivities. Disruptions in gut health can open the door for some of the symptoms above. This is because there is tremendous interplay between the digestive and neurological systems, with, for example, 95% of the body's serotonin neurotransmitter being made in the gut. 'Allergies' are technically also different from 'sensitivities', as they involve different types of antibody production, IgE and IgG respectively. Comprehensive dietary analysis will likely test for not just one but both types of reactions to see which may be contributing to neurotransmitter dysregulation.
So if you are seeking guidance, support or treatment, consider contacting our clinic at the number above.
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National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd#part_2550. Accessed 09- 28-2022.
Center for Disease Control. Data and Statistics on Children's Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html. Accessed 09-28-2022.
Camilleri, Michael. “Serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract.” Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity vol. 16,1 (2009): 53-9. doi:10.1097/med.0b013e32831e9c8e