November 3, 2011
By Fleur Hupston
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), nearly one in ten of all U.S. children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is time a more natural approach was implemented.
Currently, diagnosis of ADHD appears to rely on observation of the child’s behavior and attention span compared to his peers. A doctor will ask parents, caregivers and teachers to complete a questionnaire of the child’s behavior in a variety of settings. The results are then compared to a diagnostics manual, currently the DSM-IV, and a treatment plan is prepared from there. With no definitive way to test for ADHD, there leaves great room for error and mis-diagnosis.
Children and Teens who are diagnosed with ADHD are often prescribed more than one medication. Those who express behavioral problems may be on a stimulant for the ADHD symptoms and an anti-depressant for mood problems.
Drugs used to treat ADHD often contain stimulants. These stimulant drugs come with side effects such as increased anxiety, irritability, stomach aches, headaches and decreased appetite. Worse still, stimulant drugs have been linked to an increase of sudden unexplained death. The National Alliance Against Mandated Mental Health Screening and Psychiatric Drugging of Children, lists the names of children and teens who have died from taking ADHD drugs.
Causes of hyperactivity
A hyperactive child may display symptoms such as unpredictable or unrestrained behavior, a short attention span, irritability, tantrums or depression. Medical symptoms may include aches, pains, dizziness, bladder problems or low grade fever.
Any form of abnormal behavior, such as hyperactivity in children, can be the result of a range of factors: emotional stress and psychological or physical abuse. These should be properly evaluated by a professional, such as a child psychiatrist or psychologist.
There is mounting evidence to show that exposure to chemicals such as food additives and/or poor nutrition can cause allergies or intolerances in children.
According to Dr. Ben Feingold of the Kaiser Permanent Medical Center in San Francisco, added chemicals could provoke a reaction in some children which manifests itself in hyperactive behavior. Dr. Feingold recommended a diet that consists of eliminating all foods known to contain chemical additives, colorants and preservatives or foods that are tinned or processed.