Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Also known as ADHD or AD/HD or ADD this most common of childhood psychiatric disorders is a neurobehavioral and developmental disorder. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD starting before seven years of age. The symptoms of ADHD can at times be difficult to define because it is hard to draw the line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

ADHD is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, affecting about 3 to 5 percent of children globally and is diagnosed in about 2 to 16 percent of school aged children. It is a chronic disorder with 30 to 50 percent of those individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to have symptoms into adulthood. Adolescents and adults with ADHD tend to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments. It is estimated that 4.7 percent of American adults are estimated to live with ADHD.

ADHD is diagnosed two to four times as frequently in boys as in girls, though studies suggest this discrepancy may be partially due to subjective bias of referring teachers. ADHD management usually involves some combination of medications, behavior modifications, lifestyle changes, and counseling. ADHD symptoms can, at times, be difficult to differentiate from other disorders.  This increases the likelihood that the diagnosis of ADHD will be missed in some cases while in others it may be over diagnosed.

Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, form the core of conventional treatment of ADD/ADHD, and we now consume over %80 of the world’s stimulants.


The following are the list of some of research based non-conventional treatments modalities which can be incorporated into treatment plans of patients with ADD/ADHD.

I. EEG Biofeedback (AKA Neurofeedback)

In this treatment, modality children receive biofeedback training to modulate their own EEGs. The research available on this method is quite promising, but it takes many sessions and can be quite costly.

II. Vitamins/Minerals

Studies indicate a benefit to non-verbal intelligence/academics with a simple multivitamin and mineral supplement.

III. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Eicosanoids that are produced from EFAs control the functioning of the pervasive prostaglandin system. These hormone-like substances mediate physiological functions throughout the body.

IV. Other Treatment Considerations

  • i. Thyroid hormone resistance: There seems to be a correlation of resistance to thyroid hormone and ADHD. If the child has a positive family history of thyroid disorder or clinical indicators, laboratory evaluation and appropriate treatment are indicated.
  • ii. Diet: I consistently recommend that parents clean up their child’s diet by reducing sugar, preservatives, dyes, and caffeine. I always recommend a high protein breakfast and more whole grains. Soda has no place for these kids. These simple changes can often make very significant changes in behavior and attention for challenged children.



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