by Laurie Lynch, N.D.

Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  is rapidly increasing to become the most common behavioral disorder in American children.

  •   In 1985, 500,000 children in the USA were diagnosed ‘ADHD’, today it’s around 6 - 7 million.

  •   ADHD may begin at birth and continue through adulthood, however, prevalence was highest among children over 8 years, and most prevalent among boys aged 16 and girls aged 11.

  •   A  classroom with 30 students will have between 1 and 3 children with ADHD.

  •   Boys are diagnosed with ADHD 3 times more often than girls.

  •   Emotional development in children with ADHD is 30% slower than in their non-ADD peers. This means that a child that is 10 years old will have the emotional development of a 7 year old, a 20 year old will have the emotional maturity of a 14 year old.

  •   One fourth of children with ADHD have serious learning disabilities such as: oral expression, listening skills, reading comprehension and/or math.

  •   65% of children with ADHD exhibit problems in defiance or problems with authority figures. This can include verbal hostility and temper tantrums.

  •   50% of children with ADHD experience sleep problems.

  •   Teenagers with ADHD have almost four times as many traffic citations as non-ADD/ADHD drivers. They have four times as many car accidents and are seven times more likely to have a second accident.

  •   21% of teens with ADHD skip school on a regular basis, and 35% drop out of school before finishing high school.

  •   45% of children with ADHD have been suspended from school at least once   (Dr. Russell Barkley )..

  •   After 4 years of psychiatry, 51% of children diagnosed with  ADHD have been shown to require tutoring, 34% will have repeated a grade, 15% will be in special classes, and 16% will have been diagnosed with a learning disability. Compared to children without ADHD, they will be 10 times more likely to have manic–depressive disorder, 8 times more likely to have depression, and 4 times more likely to have major anxiety problems.

One uncontrollable child with ADHD can so disrupt a whole class that learning becomes impossible for everyone, and can drive parents and teachers to their wits end. So I'd like to share an understanding of this problem and some tips on preventing and eliminating this dreadful "disease'.

 What is ADHD?
ADHD is not a specific disease that can be cured with a specific drug, but the name given to a group of symptoms caused by a variety of diseases and other causes.  ADHD "is characterized especially by difficulty in sustaining attention, by impulsive behavior (as in speaking out of turn), and usually by excessive activity" (Webster's Medical Dictionary).

How is  ADHD diagnosed?
“AD/HD is diagnosed using the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [of Mental Disorders], 4th Edition (DSM-IV).  ADHD is defined by symptoms only and not by causes.  According to the psychiatric association diagnostic manual (DSM), there are three patterns of behavior that indicate ADHD when they appear consistently.

  •   Inattentiveness
    a. often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
    b. often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
    c. often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
    d. often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
    e. often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    f. often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
    g. often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools)
    h. is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
    i. is often forgetful in daily activities
      (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) website).
  •   Hyperactivity
  •   Impulsiveness.

Signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity are:

  •   Restlessness, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming
  •   Running, climbing, or leaving a seat, in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected
  •   Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question
  •   Having difficulty waiting in line or for a turn

Because everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, the DSM contains very specific guidelines for determining when they indicate ADHD:

  •  The behaviors must appear early in life, before age 7, and continue for at least 6 months.

  •   The behaviors must be more frequent or severe than in others the same age.

  •  The behaviors must create a real handicap in at least two areas of a person's life, such as school, home, work, or social settings. So someone whose work or friendships are not impaired by these behaviors would not be diagnosed with ADHD. Nor would a child who seems overly active at school but functions well elsewhere.

ADHD can be associated with very risky behaviors. Those with ADHD can be a danger to themselves and to others. ADHD can totally demoralize children to the point of depression, substance abuse and related  motor vehicle and other accidents, other psychiatric disorders, and even suicide.

"The Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV)... has grown since its inception in the 1950s from 60 categories of abnormal behaviour to about 410" (Good news: abnormal behaviour is a disease, North Shore News, Vancouver, B.C, Sept. 6, 1999).

"The assumption is that these children have a dysfunction or disease.  Yet doctors prescribing Ritalin rarely, if ever, perform neurological tests.  Instead, they take the word of parents or teachers, whose judgments are invariably subjective.   The scores that are obtained from the various scales used to diagnose ADHD give the appearance of scientific precision, as though they were measuring something tangible, like blood sugar levels.  But in reality, ADHD is defined entirely in behavioral, non-medical terms….in fact, a number of studies have shown that when parents, teachers, and clinicians rate the same child, they frequently come up with wildly differing scores” (John Robbins, Reclaiming Our Health, p.163).  You may be "told that a medical laboratory test such as an EEG positively confirmed a diagnosis of ADHD in your child.  There is no brain wave pattern measured by EEG equipment that is distinctive to ADHD.  No laboratory test can positively confirm ADHD” (Kennedy, p. 32).   Many scientists refer to ADHD as a "fictitious medical disorder" invented to promote the sale of pharmaceutical  drugs, such as the formerly illegal amphetamine drug, "Speed", now called Ritalin.

What are the standard medical treatments and their harmful side effects?
Since 1991, prescriptions for ADHD medications quintupled (Ritalin use increased 700%). ADHD medications prescriptions for children ages 2 to 4 increased almost 300% between 1991 and 1995. (The PDR warns against its use in children under 6.) About one in eight children take ADHD medications.

Side effects of ADHD medications, such as antidepressants and Ritalin (the formerly illegal, addictive street drug, "Speed"), could include passivity, loss of appetite, loss of bladder control, heart problems, brain development abnormalities, suicide, psychosis, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, depression, mood swings, behavioral problems, aggression, mania, addiction,  make the hyperactivity worse, causes nervous tics, zombie-like behavior, and suicidal tendencies.  Plus each drug also has individual side effects.  "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokeswoman Susan Bro says GlaxoSmithKline's Dexetrine drug and Novartis AG's Ritalin must now include warnings about risks of serious heart problems and sudden death. ADHD drugs act as stimulants and can raise blood pressure, possibly triggering heart trouble. Users of the drugs are also at risk of displaying behavioral problems -- which the drugs are often prescribed to treat -- such as aggression and mania" (Robert Needlman, M.D).

  •   Ritalin is classified as a Class II controlled substance, along with morphine and other amphetamines, a neuro-stimulant, addictive, illegal amphetamine, formerly known as "speed". Ritalin  may cause the following side effects:  
    *  Cardiovascular side effects
    such as rapid heart beat (palpitations, tachycardia),high blood pressure (hypertension), unusual heart rhythm (arrythmia), and heart attack (cardiac arrest).
     Central Nervous System Side Effects such as
    altered mental state, psychosis, hallucinations, depression, over sensitivity, mania, excitement, convulsions  seizures from excessive brain stimulation, agitation, irritation, anxiety, nervousness, hostility, insomnia or drowsiness or "dopey" feeling, Zombie-like behavior, confusion, impaired mental abilities, jerky movements (Dyskinesias, tics, Tourette's syndrome), nervous habits (such as picking at skin or pulling hair), obsessive compulsive behavior, and/or decreased social interest.
    Gastrointestinal Side Effects such as eating disorders (anorexia), nausea, vomiting, stomach ache / cramps, dry mouth, constipation, abnormal liver function tests.
      Endocrine/Metabolic Side Effects such as growth problems (pituitary dysfunction), adrenal insuficiency, weight loss.
      Other Side Effects of Ritalin
    could include blurred vision, conjunctivitis, headache, dizziness, rash (hives), inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), hair loss, blood disorders (leukopenia), incontinence of urine, fever, joint pain, excessive perspiration.  The  issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August, 2007, published research that showed that Ritalin stunts the growth of children..
    A study at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, not only confirmed the similarities of cocaine and Ritalin, but found that Ritalin is more potent than cocaine in its effect on the dopamine system in the brain.

    Ritalin Withdrawal could cause insomnia, "evening crash", depression, hyperactivity, irritability, worsening of ADHD symptoms.  ADHD symptoms may be  under control early in the day, but as the medicine wears off and leaves the body, there may be a rebound effect. The withdrawal effect can cause ADHD behaviors to return, often worse than before.

With a 700 percent increase in the use of Ritalin since 1990, parents have been repeatedly told that their kids probably have ADHD and that Ritalin is the treatment of choice. In the most extreme cases, parents unwilling to give their kids drugs are being reported by their schools to local offices of Child Protective Services, the implication being that by withholding drugs, the parents are guilty of neglect (Lawrence H. Diller, M.D. ).

Ritalin Fraud - “The growth of Ritalin research in the 1970s and 80s was headed by Dr. Stephen Bruning [sic], psychologist at the  University of Pittsburgh. But in 1988, he was charged with, and subsequently pleaded guilty to, falsifying his research. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, five years probation and fined about $11,000. While he is no longer in a research or academic institution, his published research sparked the increased use of Ritalin in the United States and abroad" (

Other drugs given for ADHD include:

  • Strettera (atomoxetineHC1), is a  selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor,  Some of the "inactive" ingredients include sodium laural sulfate (a cancer-causing foaming agent), and several artificial coloring agents that area cause of ADHD.  Side effects could include nausea, vomiting, constipation, extreme fatigue, allergic reactions, hives, dermatitis, angioneurotic edema, weight loss, retarded growth, high or overly low blood pressure, increased heart rate, irritability, aggression, mood swings, dizziness, headache, somnolence, ear infections, influenza, cough, rhinorrhea, decreased appetite,    In September 2005 the FDA issued a public health advisory about reports of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents taking Strattera, and requested a warning label to be included on the drug label.

  •   Wellbutrin (Bupropion ) alters brain chemistry, Side effects—Rashes, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, irritability, sleep problems, and headaches. WELLBUTRIN XL (a different type of antidepressant) may cause seizure. Taking more than 450 mg/day increases the chance of serious side effects. Wellbutrin XL is approved only for adults 18 years and over. ...It could cause worsening depression, thoughts of suicide, or sudden or severe changes in mood or behavior, especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose.  Wellbutrin could also cause a variety of harmful side effects such as cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal problems, dermatological problems, genitourinary problems such as impotence, arthritis, and neurological problems (PDR, p1308).

  •   Clonidine (Catapress, Dixarit) inactive ingredients include coloring agents, weakness, fatigue, headache and withdrawal syndrome, fever, (a cause of ADHD), lactose (a major allergen and a cause of ADHD),. Side effects could include dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, sedation, retinal degeneration, various cardiovascular problems such as congestive heart failure; nightmares, anxiety, restlessness, visual and auditory hallucinations,  nervousness, agitation, depression, insomnia, behavioral changes, delirium, skin problems such as hives and hair loss, nausea, vomiting, liver problems, impotence, urine retention, weight gain, high blood sugar, muscle and joint pain.

  •   Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil),  Amoxapine (Asendin),  Clomipramine hydrochloride (Anafranil),      Desipramine hydrochloride (Norpramin),   Doxepin hydrochloride (Sinequan),  Imipramine (Tofranil),  Nortriptyline hydrochloride (Aventyl, Pamelor), Protriptyline hydrochloride (Vivactil), Trimipramine maleate (Surmontil), Dosulepin, and others) "disrupt neurotransmission to the frontal lobes of the brain. In many of their uses, the tricyclics are substitutes for the chemically related phenothiazine neuroleptics and their lobotomizing impact." (Peter R. Breggin, M.D.) Side effects could include dry mouth or metallic taste, blurred vision and dilation of pupils, high fever, muscle stiffness, or muscle weakness, drowsiness, nervousness, insomnia or headache, dizziness, weakness, sweating, or fatigue, tremors, allergic reaction (Swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; difficulty breathing, closing of your throat, hives, etc.), Rash, constipation or urinary retention, speech difficulties, or hypertension, mania or paranoia, heart trouble or liver problems, bone marrow malfunctions

According to information at the Education World website:
The number of preschool children being treated with medication for ADHD tripled between 1990 and 1995.
The number of children ages 15 to 19 taking medication for ADHD has increased by 311 percent over 15 years.
The use of medication to treat children between the ages of 5 and 14 also increased by approximately 170 percent.

Dr. Peter Breggin, in his testimony to the US House of Representatives, suggests that something other than a desire to improve the quality of the learning experience is the reason for these increasing numbers: “ADD/ADHD diagnosis was developed specifically for the purpose of justifying the use of drugs to subdue the behaviors of children in the classroom. The content of the diagnosis in the 1994 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association shows that it is specifically aimed at suppressing unwanted behaviors in the classroom.”

So why are so many taking these drugs? Is it because of persuasive marketing and political influence by the pharmaceutical companies, and grants of more than $450 a month for meds to low-income parents of ADHD children, and to schools of $400 for each child diagnosed with ADHD? 

Now any parent of an ADHD child will tell you that this is a real problem that must be dealt with.  However, even though the drugs appear to help control the systems at first, the use of man-made chemical brain stimulants that eventually damage the brain, become addictive, and make the causes worse, is totally illogical. The common sense approach would be to find the underlying causes and eliminate these causes with natural remedies that have no harmful side effects.

What are the Causes of ADHD?

  •   Medicinal drugs, such as allergy medicines, antibiotics, anesthesia, vaccinations, anti-seizure drugs, steroids, antidepressants, and even the very drugs used to treat ADHD are considered the most common medical cause of ADHD symptoms.

  •   Seizures - A petit mal seizure causes a child to stare with a blank look for several minutes and lose track of what's going on.

  •   Sleep problems

  •   Vision and hearing deficits can interfere with the child's ability to make sense of what he hears or reads.

  •    Anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, chronic fear, or abuse.

  •   Brain damage/brain chemical imbalances such as malfunctioning brain neurotransmitters inhibit transfer of information from one brain cell to another. 

  •   Spinal Problems, if the spine is not connected to the brain properly. 

  •   Glandular/hormonal imbalances such as thyroid problems, sex  hormone imbalances, and  low blood sugar.  Consumption of refined carbohydrates will cause a sudden raise in blood sugar, triggering the production of pancreatic and adrenal hormones that bring the blood sugar back down too low and too quickly, removing necessary glucose from the brain, and wearing out these glands. 

  •   Chemical pollution, from ozone, industrial smoke, burning garbage; fumes from gasoline, glue, marking pens, window cleaners, paint, urethane; chemicals in  plastic toys, teethers; pesticides, herbicides; disinfectants; furniture polishes; new carpets, furniture, bedding; and air fresheners. Scientists have shown on EEGs  that toxins cause abnormal brain wave activity within fifteen seconds of exposure . Children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults.  Toxins can cause hyperactivity, attention deficits, irritability, and learning problems.

  • Carbon Monoxide poisoning - Thousands of children each year are exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide from auto exhaust, cigarette smoke, gas heaters, and other gas appliances such as fireplaces, dryers, and water heaters.

  •    Infections such as encephalitis (a viral infection of the nervous system), or bacterial infections, such as a chronic middle ear infection ,can also make a child seem inattentive, distracted and uncooperative.

  •   Fungal infections, whether from mold, antibiotics, vaccinations, anesthesia, steroid drugs, or processed foods, can be a cause of ADHD.  Fungi produce "mycotoxins (neurotoxins) that affect nerve action, cause immunosuppression, and may contribute as a co-factor in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, and to ADHD. Mycotoxins are secondary toxic metabolites produced by many species of fungi that are increasing in processed foods at an enormous rate. ... Mycotoxicosis has clearly been demonstrated to have been the cause of several major human epidemics, usually involving ingestions of foods prepared with mold infested grains and cereals, or from the consumption of livestock which had been fed mold infested feed.

    "Iris R. Bell, M.D. from the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center and other researchers were able to trigger abnormal brain wave activity when a patient was exposed to a immunologically-active mycotoxin or other toxins. Abnormalities (appear) on EEGs and other objective neurophysiologic modalities within fifteen seconds of an exposure, even when administered in a double blind fashion. This research documents that mycotoxins and xenobiotics have direct, biological roles in initiating and/or perpetuating nervous system-related illness" (Paul Yanick, Jr., Ph.D., N.D., C.N.C., 2001).

  •   Allergy to foods such as cow's milk, wheat, sugar, chocolate, eggs, corn, artificial colors/additives/flavors, molds, and cigarette smoke.

  •   Heredity - Genetic disorders can exhibit some of the same symptoms of ADHD.. For example, Thyroid problems, pancreas problems, Turner's syndrome, sickle-cell anemia, and Fragile X syndrome. as they can disrupt brain functions directly, through a variety of paths.

  •   Complications of pregnancy and/or a mother's use of cigarettes, alcohol, lead exposure, or drugs during pregnancy. 

  •    Heavy metal exposure (such as lead, cadmium, and mercury can reduce learning and memory, and impaired functioning of the central nervous system that can cause ADHD symptoms. Lead poisoning is not solely caused by eating paint chips. Lead is used in manufacturing of various products such as hair coloring, miniblinds, crayons, electronic products such as TVs and computers, soldering, water pipes, vinyl raincoats, hats and backpacks, children's toys and teethers made from PVC plastic, brass, bronze, glass, and ceramic products; pigments in inks, textiles, plastics; and adhesives. Aging and sun exposure can cause these products to deteriorate, releasing toxic metal dust to their surfaces. Mercury is as a preservative in vaccinations and in silver amalgam dental fillings that continually breaks down and is absorbed into the blood stream.

  •   Disturbing circumstances such as death of a loved one, living with family members who are-  physically abusive or addicted to drugs or alcohol, or being picked on at school.  

  •   Diet influences brain functioning, learning, and behavior. Studies show ingestion of genetically engineered foods linked to learning disabilities, abnormal behavior in children, and. ”a 3-fold increase in attention deficit disorders" (EHP Supplement 3, Vol. 110 June 2002, pgs. 441-449; (R. Cummins, p. 46). Other studies show that processed foods, sodas, sugar, food additives, and nutritional deficiencies (especially of B complex, chromium, and essential fatty acids), and foods prepared with mold infested grains and cereals, or livestock which had been fed mold infested feed, can trigger ADHD behavior.  A 1996 study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, revealed significant deficiencies in essential fatty acids, amino acids, and zinc, in  ADHD children.

    A scientific study of 15 children suffering from food induced ADHD, were given topographic EEG mapping of brain electrical activity "following avoidance and ingestion of previously identified provoking foods. ... During consumption of provoking foods there was a significant increase in beta1 activity in the frontotemporal areas of the brain, showing an association between brain electrical activity and intake of provoking foods in children with food-induced attention deficit hyperactivity disorder".  These data suggest that certain foods may not only influence clinical symptoms but may also alter brain electrical activity (Uhlig, T, 1997).

What are the safe natural methods to prevent ADHD and to remedy the problem?

  •   Avoid the above causes.

  •   Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day of organically grown whole grains, and fresh vegetables.

  •   A wellness consultation  with Laurie Lynch, ND. can give information on how to eliminate causes and on the best foods and nutritional supplements for each individual to quickly eliminate the problem. This may take some effort, but the future of our children, their health and happiness, are well worth it

  •   Hypnotherapy with Laurie Lynch, ND, CHt. can also be a helpful adjunct to the wellness program.

Call now to start on the right path to total health and happiness! (910) 426-5159

   Recipe to help ADHD

   An example of a good breakfast: that helps regulate blood sugar levels and moods: and makes the day go better:
   whole OAT GROATS                                                                  raw SUNFLOWER SEEDS (soaked 24 hours)
   raw HONEY                                                                                CINNAMON
   TOFU MILK                                                                              freshly ground FLAX SEEDS

    Cook oats (1/3 cup per person) in twice as much water for ½ hour or until water is absorbed. Add honey, cinnamon, seeds, and organic tofu that has been   liquefied in a blender.

Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D. Professor, Depts. Of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Taking Charge of ADHD,
* The concerned parents' guide to childrens' attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD),
Steven Parker, MD, director of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. Richard Sogn, MD, a clinical specialist in ADD/ADHD, 2005.
Lawrence H. Diller, M.D., Schools Pressure Parents To Force Ritalin Use
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokeswoman Susan Bro, News Target
Bio-Medical Instruments Company website
Peter R. Breggin M.D., Testimony September 29, 2000 before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives.
*  Uhlig, T.; Merkenschlager, A.; Brandmaier, R.; Egger,J., Topographic mapping of brain electrical activity in children with food-induced attention deficit hyperkinetic disorder, European Journal of Pediatrics, 1997, Vol. 156 Issue 7, p557. 
*  Paul Yanick, Jr., Ph.D., N.D., C.N.C., 2001,
Mycotoxicosis: A New Emerging CoFactor in Alzheimer’s, Environmental Illness, and Treatment-resistant Syndromes
Robert Needlman, M.D., F.A.A.P., Things That Cause ADHD-Like Symptoms
Jim Chandler, M.D., 2002, Treating ADHD With Medications
American Psychiatric Association, 1987, DSM-III-R
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August, 2007
*  Physicians Desk Reference

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