by Deric D’Agostino, DC
Are there ADHD alternative treatments?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is apparently becoming some kind of a “plague” as the number of children diagnosed with ADHD continues to increase. The 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) reports that 6.1 million children ages 2–17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
Of this, 62% were taking medications, 46.7% were getting behavioral treatment, and 31.7% combined medication and behavioral treatment, and 23% have not received treatment at all. There was no mention of ADHD alternative treatments.
A study in 2007 showed that ADHD treatment plans and medication would could cost at least $14,576 a year.
This article makes the case for alternative approaches to caring for children with ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, general restlessness, inability to sit still, inability to focus and/or inattentiveness, physical and/or verbal aggression, inability to listen, impatience, difficulty in completing tasks, anxiety, and frequent emotional swings and outbursts.
What causes ADHD?
Below are some possible known causes of ADHD according to Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic, and clinical nutritionist.
1. Diet – The current American diet, which consists largely of a lot of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, wheat, chemical food additives, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and GMOs give us an insight as to why the prevalence of ADHD has been increasing through the years.
2. Environment – Lead and arsenic have already been proven to be unsafe to the human body, and exposure to these chemical elements and other polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has been evidenced to cause ADHD in later years. (Check the EPA website for a list of PCBs.) Also, constant exposure to cigarette smoke, and especially pregnant women who smoke, can cause ADHD in their children.
3. Brain Injury – We should not discount brain injury or a defect in the brain as a possible cause of ADHD.
How can ADHD be treated?
The quintessential question. A lot of families have probably tried different kinds of treatments, many of them palliative. Dr. Josh Axe thinks Western medicine only suppresses some of the ADHD symptoms and does not cure it. He also avers that “these medications are linked to delayed growth, sleep problems, decreased appetite and heart problems. To make it worse, the most common drugs prescribed, Ritalin and Adderall, are linked to personality changes, suicidal thoughts and other disturbing side effects.”1
There are certainly many ways to approach the ADHD illness. But ADHD alternative treatments have no side effects, are nature-based, and can therefore be a lot more cost-effective. Barring a brain injury, from the chiropractic perspective one needs only to look to the following methods for healing, which, if combined, can produce astonishing positive results:
1. Spine – Studies have shown how chiropractic treatment has dramatically helped children with ADHD. “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease,” said Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. The spine protects the spinal cord and spinal nerves. These nerves—all 32 of them—feed the body’s vital organs, muscles, and tissues. All of these are connected to the brain, which sends information to the rest of the body. A healthy body has a smooth flow of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This flow, called the “afferent/efferent neurological loop is how the body is able to respond and adapt appropriately to its environment.”2 When the spine gets misaligned —also known as vertebral subluxation—the bones in the spine pinch these nerves, hindering the smooth flow of communication between the brain and the rest of your body, resulting in a disease process. A chiropractor will then re-align the spine in order to keep the communication flowing again.
2. Diet – First rule is to avoid foods that are known to cause or aggravate ADHD, including candy, soda, deli meats, cereals, energy drinks—pretty much anything that contains sugar, artificial sweeteners, food coloring and dyes, soy, personal allergens, caffeine, MSG, A1 casein found in conventional dairy, gluten, hydrogenated fats, and (high doses of) salt. Nitrites, present in a vast majority of processed foods should be avoided at all cost. Click here for a list of foods to avoid.
Second rule is to binge on foods that heal and help with ADHD—primarily vegetables. Any diet that is highly dense in nutrients is the way to go. The Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS Diet is highly recommended by Dr. Axe. Here’s the guide to the complete GAP diet, which consists of organic vegetables and fruits, fermented foods, natural fats, animal fats, hormone-free/grass fed meats, fish, shellfish, and organic free-range eggs.
3. Lifestyle Change – A lot of illnesses are caused by certain lifestyles including smoking, sedentary living, stressful jobs, and stressful relationships, to name a few. The keyword to a lifestyle change in children or adults with ADHD is calmness. Introduce smells, sights, and sounds that calm the body, calm the mind, calm the heart, and calm the spirit. At the same time, introduce activities that help energize and stabilize the body. These include the use of essential oils, soft music, meditation, lots of sleep, and some physical exercises.
Not only will dietary and lifestyle changes help with a child who has ADHD, but will also positively affect the well-being of the entire family.
We hope this article enlightens you and will help you with seeking alternative treatments to ADHD.
1. Symptoms of ADHD, Diet and Treatment, Dr. Axe Food and Medicine, last accessed 3/2/2018
2. 3 Ways Chiropractic Improves Brain Function, Dr. Jockers Supercharge Your Health, last accessed 3/2/2018
1. ADHD Data and Statistics: General Prevalence, CHADD The National Resource on ADHD, last accessed 3/2/2018
2. ADHD by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You, Healthline.com, last accessed 3/2/2018
3. Symptoms of ADHD, Diet and Treatment, Dr. Axe Food and Medicine, last accessed 3/2/2018
4. Reprinted with permission from The Chiropractic Journal by Dr. Christopher Kent, Children, ADD/ADHD, and Chiropractic, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), last accessed 3/2/2018