Six Steps to a Natural ADHD Approach

add_sign_smallADHD is a religious experience and there are believers and nonbelievers. Different places have different approaches, and these are based on many factors, such as the country’s general cultural belief about children and learning or the economic system that supports healthcare or limits access to healthcare.

The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that the geographic difference is due to collection methods by the researchers rather than true geographical differences. Here is an example of the cultural divide and disparate approaches to prescribing ADHD medications:

Germany requires that parents who are concerned about the possibility of ADHD in their children must try to learn parent-training strategies before the doctors start writing prescriptions for medicine. In contrast, the US health economy is biased toward medication use and we don’t do that much counseling — parent training is not an element that is culturally validated by parents or practitioners.

Almost 11% of children ages 4 to 17 years in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD per a 2012 CDC report while the general worldwide incidence per the American Journal of Psychiatry is 5.29%. Why is there a two-fold difference in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States compared to the rest of the world? This is an important question since the annual societal ‘‘cost of illness’’ for ADHD in the US is estimated to be between $36 and $52 billion in 2005 dollars or between $12,005 and $17,458 annually per individual, according to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

I have been in private practice for 11 years and in two very distinct practice settings. When I worked in a traditional insurance-based office and saw 30-50 children a day, I wrote many prescriptions for Ritalin, Concerta and Strattera.  Once I switched to concierge medicine where I see six to ten kids a day, I had time to educate parents, work on parenting techniques, focus on diet as well as natural supplementation. As a result I have only had to place one child on ADHD medication over the past eight years.

Here is a list of natural approaches that have worked well:

1. Minimize Food Additives. A 2007 study of nearly 300 kids ages 3 to 8, published in The Lancet, found that those given drinks containing artificial dye showed significantly higher hyperactivity within a few hours. The British government now requires labels warning that children’s products containing dye may impair attention.

2. Consider an Elimination Diet. A first-of-its-kind 2011 study, also in The Lancet, showed that when 50 kids with ADHD were put on restrictive hypoallergenic diets free of allergens like gluten and dairy for five weeks, their symptoms improved far more than those in the control group. When the eliminated foods were reintroduced, symptoms returned in 63 percent of the children. Deichert says that ADHD patients with digestive problems, recurring ear infections or skin problems— all symptoms of possible food sensitivities—are particularly good candidates for elimination diets.

3. Reduce Electronic Media and Replace with Exercise. Very large studies have associated TV and video game use with a worsening of ADHD symptoms.

4. Buy Organic Foods. A 2010 study of 1,100 children, published in the journalPediatrics, found that the more pesticide residue children had in their urine, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with ADHD.

5. Check Iron Levels. Studies in the Archive of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicineand elsewhere have shown that children diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to have lower iron levels, and when those that are deficient take iron supplements, their symptoms either subside with- out medication or they react better to lower doses of medications.

6. Safe Supplements. Clinical research is still inconclusive but in my practice ADHD patients have benefited from zinc, ginkgo biloba, acetyl-carnitine and omega-3 supplements.

The diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is a result of cultural bias. Use a therapeutic prism to illuminate the different options available to you. The first step is to find a practitioner that is willing to invest time in your child and explore all the options available under the rainbow.

Are You Right or Happy?

1002645_750430854975010_433043976_nI think of the conundrum often – since I am a married man. I know I am right. Or so I perceive that I am right and this is the crucible. Perception.

I can still be right in my mind and not have to exert my ego to control the situation and the person. Using my ego would be wrong and thereby discount my rightness. I recall my dad saying, “You can be so right that you are wrong.” True words.

Now, after years of alchemy, also known as marital counseling and mental walkabouts, I choose happy. And happy is a choice. Rather happy is more of a verb.

I write this as we raise our children in a home with different people and different perceptions. Stop being right and start being happy so your children know what joy is like. When you stop you will see that your kids show you everyday what joy is about.

How School Kills Creativity

singapore-education-systemCreativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

Click here to view video.

 

Mysterious polio-like illness affects kids in California

child-polio-californiaDoctors believe they’ve identified as many as 25 California children suffering from a mysterious, polio-like virus capable of paralyzing limbs. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. The median age of those stricken is 12.

Parents should not panic. This is really very rare and is isolated to California. The CDC is watching closely but has not become involved yet.

The question in my mind is why has a rare virus affected these children and not affected adults – if this really is being caused by a virus.

Here are the facts as reported by the media. The cause of most of these cases is not known. Some clinical and laboratory features, such as the pattern of inflammation seen in the spinal cord on MRI, are consistent with a viral process. Samples from two of the children tested positive for enterovirus 68, a rare virus that has been linked to severe respiratory illness in the past.

The medical histories on these children are not available so I cannot look for pre-existing conditions to explain their vulnerabilities.  I can look to common sense though to shed practical light on this situation and to allay fears all parents must be having.

Assuming these were/are healthy children then they developed this condition as a result of a vulnerability to this bug while most people are not and/or they built up toxins that resulted in a neurological condition.

Here are some reasons that could make once susceptible:

1. They had an innate genetic vulnerability; and/or

2. They had a genetic mutation occur as a result of generational toxin exposure from living in a modern world; and/or

3. They had a genetic mutation occur as a result of the radiation from Fukushima melt down; and/or

4. They were unable to detoxify and eliminate these toxins because of genetics; and/or

5. They were unable to detoxify and eliminate these toxins because of poor diets and/or inadequate supplementation; and/or

6. They had a weakened immune system from environmental toxins such as pesticides, poor diet, poor supplementation, Japanese radiation, dysbiosis from previous antibiotic use, among others.

My point here is we live in a toxic soup and our bodies need help to maintain proper and healthy functioning.

  1. Eat organic to limit toxic exposure,
  2. Diet with plenty of phytonutrients to assist mitochondrial, antioxidant and detoxification functions,
  3. Limit carbs, gluten, dairy and animal fats,
  4. Exercise,
  5. Clean out the gut and restore balance of proper probiotics and microbiome since this is the major detox and immune pathway of the body,
  6. Educate yourself on a functional body,
  7. Hydration,
  8. Sleep for 7-9 hours a night with a regular bedtime,
  9. Health relationships and a strong sense of community, and
  10. Good fish oils to protect cell membranes and reduce inflammation.

Unusual illnesses like the one devastating children in California may be the result of our lifestyles, genetics and understanding of the body. Sometimes infections and disease are unavoidable but stack the odds in your favor. Find a doctor that will help you heal by addressing the missteps in biological and physiological functions at their root causes rather than throwing antibiotics and immune suppressants to cover symptoms from occurring.

It is hard to change your food culture, but if you want to keep your family safe then this must be addressed. The idea of eating and living in unhealthy ways because it feels good or because this is your family culture, only to seek a symptom-control approach once the body starts to break down is crazy thinking. Sadly this is the prevailing approach in this country and around the world. Fight your temptations to slothfulness and gluttony. Chronic disease and vulnerability to illness can be largely prevented. You make this decision by the small daily decisions on how you choose to personalize your life.

Why Are Boys Academic Misfits?

boy-in-schoolI have had several consultations with parents this semester about their boy not fitting into the classroom setting.  Some of these problems have been a teacher-pupil mismatch. Other problems have been maturity issues in the child. While other noted concerns are ADHD and learning disabilities.

In this TED talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain.

View TED Talk