Helping patients alleviate the stress that a diagnosis of ADHD can bring to a family
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a condition beginning in childhood resulting from an imbalance in the brain chemical transporters; dopamine and norepinephrine. Found more frequently in boys than girls, both adults and children may be diagnosed with ADHD. The terms ADHD and ADD are often used interchangeably but ADHD is the official name recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
The core symptoms of ADHD are impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. The symptoms may combine or change over time. These features disrupt at least two areas of daily living to include school, family, work, and social relationship. the three subtypes of ADHD are:
ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive- Impulsive
Have difficulty remaining seated, interrupt frequently, always “on-the-go”. Appear restless and fidgety.
ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive
Have trouble paying attention, finishing tasks, are easily distracted and forgetful. Appear day dreamy, careless and disorganized.
ADHD, Combined Type
Have both inattentive and hyperactive/ impulsive symptoms
No single cause or standardized assessment has been established for ADHD, making diagnosis difficult. A child presenting with symptoms of ADHD may have an unresolved, underlying issue needing to be identified and addressed first. A child’s impulsivity may be related to stressors at home or school, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, environmental exposures, food triggers, or even boredom. These factors can co-exist with ADHD, complicating the diagnosis, but do not cause ADHD.
Whole Life Health Care offers both traditional and non-traditional interventions for the management of ADHD. AS a team, our practice can work with you and your child to alleviate the stress that a diagnosis of ADHD can bring to a family.
See what our integrative providers have to say about ADHD…
An ADHD diagnosis is made over several visits by a detailed evaluation and review of persistent behaviors of home life, teacher feedback, and parental reports of social interactivity. The Nurse Practitioner may recommend brain chemistry neurotransmitter testing using a simple urine test as well as educational and neuropsychological testing. Medication (Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera etc.) is another option that can be explored as part of an individualized treatment plan.
Nutrition therapy may recommend elimination diets for food sensitivities and allergies. Sometimes artificial colorings or additives are the culprit. Adding fish oils, vitamins and minerals or supplements such as magnesium, zinc and the B vitamins can also alleviate symptoms. A new field of nutritional science suggests amino acid therapy for balancing neurotransmitter levels. Reducing sugar and caffeine intake can also make a powerful difference in children with ADHD.
CranioSacral Therapy addresses restrictions between the skull and cervical vertebrae that may have occurred due to birth trauma. These restrictions may compromise blood flow within the skull and contribute to increased pressure and brain irritability. This may result in symptoms such as hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating. Therapy will include self-help techniques that the child or parent can do to help relax the child’s body and support brain health.
Chinese Medicine defines ADHD as a deficiency of heart (spirit) and spleen (energy), stagnation of liver (temper) or insufficient development of kidney (growth). The goal of acupuncture is to harmonize these imbalances. Improvements may be seen in appetite, immunity, mood, energy, sleep and self-esteem. Acupuncture can also reduce side effects of some prescribed Western medications.
Bowenwork creates a dynamic rearrangement of the nervous system which ultimately facilitates the body in accessing its own intrinsic ability to heal itself. Frequently improved sleep, focus and patience are observed in children with Bowenwork therapy. Often anxiety and the need for medications are reduced. Children respond positively to non-invasive and gentle procedures and look forward to sessions.
Homeopathic remedies help to balance underlying mental and emotional issues that may be contributing to behavioral issues, restlessness or sleep disturbances. Children may be evaluated for toxicities (lead/mercury), neurotransmitter imbalance, and Lyme disease as underlying causes of ADHD. A Naturopath assists parents in selecting effective nutraceuticals to improve a child’s performance, social interactions and general health.
Massage is used to create a sense of internal calm and increased physical stillness in children. Massage benefits children with ADHD by improving short- term mood states, lessening social arguments and hostility, and supporting long-term classroom behavior as children become less hyperactive. Massage is also effective in addressing issues with depression, anxiety and insomnia which often co-exist in children with ADHD.
Chiropractors offer non- invasive treatments for ADHD that target underlying muscoskeletal problems, not just symptoms. Motor activity, especially development of the postural muscles, is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting the postural muscles will influence brain development. Muscoskeletal imbalance will also create brain activity imbalance, and is often an underlying mechanism in ADHD. Chiropractors help to ensure optimal spinal health by addressing this aspect of brain function.
Psychotherapy can help determine the cause of certain behaviors related to ADHD, whether they are environmental or biological. Patients with ADHD often do not fully appreciate the nature of their deficits and are not always able to monitor the dysfunctions caused by them. Individual therapy can help patients learn the best ways to manage their symptoms and become educated on treatment. Family or couples therapy can help manage stress or difficulties that may arise when living with a loved one with ADHD.
Energy Medicine can break the cycle of stress in a child by creating deep relaxation and a sense of well- being through energy balance. Educating a child to use self- coping and self-care mechanism can help them to discover inner calm and clarity. By using energy medicine this sense of balance can be achieved daily and help even at times of high stimulation.