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Alternative Treatment Options for Attention Deficit Disorder

By Ilana Amar-Leshem

The Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children of all ages has, in the last decade, become virtually as frequent a diagnosis as for the common cold. Unfortunately, its treatment with Ritalin, Concerta, Attent, and similar medications has multiple adverse side effects, such as appetite suppression, weight loss, tics, depression, and more. These meds are subscribed too lightly, in my view, and are not suited for all. I would like to bring to your attention some alternative medicine methods and treatments that can help your child or student concentrate and thrive in the classroom and at home. 1. Biofeedback Biofeedback is one of my favorite treatments for children over the age of 10 with ADD. This is not a passive treatment but a lesson. The child is connected to a computer with cords attached to their fingertips. These cords record the child’s pulse, breaths, and perspiration, which are displayed on the computer screen in a very graphic kid- friendly way. These parameters are indicative of the child’s state of calm—the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The child is taught techniques of breathing, meditation, and visualization and learns how to instantaneously calm himself (relax the Sympathetic nervous system). The teaching is done in a very fun way via computer games; the more the child succeeds in calming himself, the more he advances in the game. The purpose is to teach the child how to calm themselves in any situation inside or outside the classroom, whenever they feel they are out of focus, restless, or emotionally vulnerable. It is a lesson for life! Suitable for children over the age of 10 who are motivated and are willing to actively participate in the process of improving their span of attention. Usually 8 to 10 sessions are enough to learn the technique. 2. Massage Treatments Shiatsu Massage is a Chinese Medicine massage technique, part of the 3000-year-old Chinese Medicine system. Shiatsu is performed by the therapist pressing on the Chinese meridians of the body, from head to toe. Traditionally, it is performed while the child lies on a thick mattress on the floor. In children characterized by dreaminess, slow mental and physical abilities, lack of concentration, and difficulty in movement, Shiatsu helps the child to "wake up" by moving the blood flow and the fluids of the body. The Shiatsu pressure strengthens the child and pushes the bodily processes forward. In the case of the hyperactive child (ADHD), the Shiatsu touch helps in relaxing the sensory system and attunes balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Regular deep tissue massage and reflexology are effective in the same way. Reflexology is done as the therapist presses on the child’s feet in certain points, which triggers a reflexive response in other parts of the body. In the case of an ADD/ADHD child, the pressure would be focused mostly on the feet points corresponding with the brain. 3. Naturopathy Unfortunately, many children today are lacking a balanced diet, which can lead to all the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and general learning disabilities as well. This is due to insufficient amounts of certain Amino acids, Omega 3, and more; it can also be caused by an excess of other ingredients, such as sugar, food dyes, gluten, and more. According to scientific research, the lack or surplus of these ingredients affects brain wave patterns. Any child who doesn’t have a balanced diet could benefit from a naturopathic consultation, in which their parents would be instructed on the beneficial foods to be encouraged, the detrimental foods to be avoided, and supplements that could help improve learning abilities and ADD/ADHD. 4. Homeopathy, Bach Remedies, and Homeotoxicology These methods use highly diluted substances (plants, minerals, metals, animal substances, and more). The treatment is individually prescribed, not by the diagnosis but rather by the individual characteristics of the child. Henceforth, 100 children diagnosed with ADD might each receive a different remedy--one that corresponds to their personal characteristics (perspiration, food cravings, bodily movements, dreams, etc). Homeotoxicology works by neutralizing environmental toxins. In our era of high-speed internet, children are exposed to smart phones, fast food, and antibiotic overtreatment–all considered to be toxic for normal brain function. Screen exposure of smartphones has been shown to directly affect brain wave patterns. Daily time spent watching TV has also been proven to affect children's attention span and concentration. In homeotoxicology, the therapist takes a look at all of these factors when treating each individual. It is not just about prescribing a remedy but also instructing the parents how to minimize the child’s exposure in his home environment. I hope this helps. For any questions on this issue you may email me at [email protected].

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09/01/2018 - Dr. Gabriel Maldonado
TIE should not be posting commentary on medical or psychological matters of devastating consequences by someone with no medical or psychological expertise. The concept that nonsense, no evidence based remedies, based on impossible plchemical principals, like homeopathy, would be proposed as cures for ADHD (or anything) is shocking. Homeopathy is complete and total hogwas. Several other remedies proposed in this article also have no scientific evidence to support them - for ADHD or anything else, for what matters. ADHD may be the most overdiagnosed cognitive dysfunction in history, but it doesn’t help matters to mix this problem with snake oils and chanting to the gods of cognition. TiE should publish medical reviews and meta studies of effective treatments if it wants to educate its members, given the weight and impact such information might gave on the millions of children with cognitive dysfunctions.