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AK, ADD and ADHD

ADD is attention deficit disorder. It is characterized by a poor or short attention span and impulsiveness inappropriate for the child’s age, with or without hyperactivity. (With hyperactivity, it is called ADHD.) Hyperactivity is a level of activity and excitement in a child so high that it concerns the parents or caregivers. The diagnosis of ADD usually requires that the child display at least eight of the following symptoms.

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms while sitting (restlessness).
  • Has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.
  • Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn in games or group situations.
  • Has difficulty following instructions from others, even if the instructions are understood.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
  • Often shifts from one uncompleted task to another.
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others.
  • Often doesn’t seem to listen to what’s being said.
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home.
  • Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences.

Diagnosis is based on the number, frequency and severity of symptoms. Of course this “diagnosis” depends on the subjective opinion of the observer. The symptoms are not unique to a child with ADD and a child without ADD may have one or more of the symptoms.

The main symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms appear early in a child's life. Learning disabilities may be present, although these children usually have normal or above normal IQ. Because many normal children may have these symptoms, but at a low level, or the symptoms may be caused by another disorder, it is important that the child receive a thorough examination and appropriate diagnosis.

The child may also have very poor coordination. Sometimes this symptom is blamed on the child being clumsy or inattentive. Closer observation may show that he or she has problems coordinating the right side of the body with the left. Watch for difficulty buttoning clothes, difficulty getting dressed, or trouble with writing and drawing.

Often the child is poor in sports. Sometimes, if you watch the child run, you will notice a homolateral pattern (i.e. the right arm and right leg move forward at the same time, and the left arm and left leg move forward at the same time). It is normal for the opposite arm and leg to move forward at the same time when running. Your chiropractor trained in applied kinesiolgy can help find and correct this pattern.

Sometimes the child has poor sleep habits, waking often during the night. The child may resist going to bed. By using kinesiology to find and address the child’s nutritional needs, sleep problems and other health issues can often be corrected.

One of the common drugs prescribed is methphenidate hydrochloride. It is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat ADD. Side effects of the drug include nervousness and insomnia; hypersensitivity (including skin rash, hives, fever, joint pain, dermatitis,); anorexia; nausea; dizziness; palpitations; headache; dyskinesia; drowsiness; blood pressure and pulse changes, both up and down; angina; cardiac arrhythmia; abdominal pain; and weight loss during prolonged therapy. There have been rare reports of Tourette’s syndrome. Toxic psychosis has been reported. Instances of abnormal liver function, isolated cases of cerebral arteritis and/or occlusion; leukopenia and/or anemia; transient depressed mood; a few instances of scalp hair loss have also been reported.

In children, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss during prolonged therapy, insomnia, and rapid heart rate may occur more frequently; however, any of the other adverse reactions listed above may also occur.

Suppression of growth has been reported with the long-term use of stimulants in children. Methylphenidate should not be used for severe depression. Methylphenidals should not be used for the prevention or treatment of normal fatigue states. There is some clinical evidence that methylphenidate may lower the convulsive threshold (that is, increase the likelihood of seizures) in patients with prior history of seizures, with prior EEG abnormalities in absence of seizures, and very rarely, in absence of history of seizures and no prior EEG evidence of seizures. Safe concomitant use of anticonvulsants and methylphenidate has not been established. In the presence of seizures, the drug should be discontinued.

Visual disturbances have been encountered in rare cases. Difficulties with accommodation and blurring of vision have been reported. Marked anxiety, tension and agitation are contraindications to methylphenidate hydrochloride, since the drug may aggravate these symptoms.

Clearly the decision to take this drug should not be taken lightly. There are other drugs now being used. Even if you don’t consider the side-effects and toxicity of the drugs, the drugs still do not address the cause of the problem.

Applied kinesiology: Address the cause, not merely the symptoms 

Neurologic disorganization:

The nervous system develops in specific stages. The spinal cord and medulla (lower brain) develops from before birth until the age of 16 weeks; only reflex actions are possible at this point. Between 16 weeks until six months the pons develops making homolateral activity, and visual and auditory function possible. The midbrain develops between six months and one year, making cross pattern (crawling) activity possible. Between one and five years there is early cortical development; there is still mostly homolateral activity. Between the ages of three and eight years cortical hemispheric dominance (handedness) develops. 

Problems with neurologic development can be created with the developing nervous system by bottle-feeding a baby (always on the same side), use of walkers, trying to get a child to walk before he or she is ready, forcing a child to use eating utensils before he or she is ready, and trying to control handedness. In short, interfering with a stage of development or trying to hurry the next stage of development can create problems. Neurologic disorganization can be caused by injury or illness as well. 

When neurologic disorganization is present the eyes may not function well together. This can create difficulty for the brain in perceiving the environment and possibly lead to learning disability. It may create problems coordingating the extremities and getting them to work well together. The child may be uncoordinated, have trouble dressing, or have trouble reading. 

Nutrition:

If your child has the symptoms of ADD or ADHD, the first place to look is nutrition. Hydrogenated oil (a source of trans fats) can contribute to the problem. These toxic fats get incorporated into the cells of the nervous system (cell membranes contain a lot of fat), affecting function. Very often the child needs supplementation with essential fatty acids. 

The worst culprit is refined sugar (and other refined carbohydrates). “White” food is very bad. This includes white bread and noodles, white rice, white sugar and refined foods made with sugar and starch. Consuming them can also lead to intestinal yeast overgrowth and allergies. These foods deplete vitamins B, C and minerals. Many of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD are simply the symptoms of nutritional deficiency, or toxicity brought on by a poor diet. 

Structure:

Correcting structural imbalance in the spine and cranial faults (see the article on cranial motion) improves the function of the nervous system. Applied kinesiology provides us with the tools to effectively balance the nervous system. 

Balancing the body’s structure and chemistry utilizing applied kinesiology and chiropractic can solve many health problems by addressing the cause. Please feel free to call our office to schedule a consultation to discuss this or any other health issues you may have.