Treating ADD and ADHD naturally is better than with traditional medicine
Introduction: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by an inability to focus, inability to control behavior, being overactive or all these altogether (Brunk, 2007). If the above issues are diagnosed as being beyond the accepted range, a person is said to posses the hyperactivity disorder. The issue of ADHD has given rise to controversies questioning whether it is a fact or an imaginary disease.
ADHD diagnosis and treatment modern methods (including the prescription of stimulant drugs in children), have been accused of misdiagnosis (Brimble, 2009). Wrong diagnosis of ADHD has also attracted controversies as specialists argue that it may prevent the treatment of the actual disease. The diagnosis and treatment factor is one of the main topics which have attracted a heated debate. This is especially concerning the effectiveness of natural and modern methods of dealing with AD and ADHD in children. As a result of these contentious points, this research paper seeks to investigate whether Treating ADD and ADHD naturally is better than with modern medicine. Having been an ADHD patient once, I believe that natural means of treating and managing ADHD are better than the use of modern medicine. This is because of a number of factors that I will address below.
To understand this research paper, there is need to understand what ADHD is, its causes, and types of diagnosis and medication. Attention deficit disorder is believed to be mainly caused by inheritance of the condition (Whitely, 2010). This is at least in 75% of the disease cases. This means that it is genetically transferred down to immediate generations. The LPNH3 gene is the one mainly associated with transferring this condition (Singh, 2003). When present, it takes the condition from parents to children. It is argued that this condition mainly develops in stressed women through natural selection (Moragne, 1996). This enables their children survive the unfriendly conditions that their mothers prepare them for, before they are born.
This makes the children have some very quick and noticeably queer explanatory behavior. It is also argued that women with this condition are naturally attracted to men who are risk takers (Singh, 2003). This makes the gene’s frequency increase in siblings of such a combination. This results its becoming dysfunctional due to the combination. This way, natural selection provides people with this condition a survival advantage. The disorder in individuals who obtain it genetically is very useful to them especially if they are born in risky environment. This enables them to react fast to danger, fight for what they rightfully deserve if someone was denying them the same (Brown, 2005). Despite this, it is disadvantageous to them as they become problematic when dealing with people and their level of attention is low.
Another cause of the attention deficit condition is the society in which a child is born and brought up. A society that subjects children to emotional abuse and violence causes them to develop this disorder. This could be due to events like; war, hatred and witchcraft. These eventualities are believed to make children get to see the repercussions of the same early in their age, like death (Brown, 2005). It could also follow when children are brought up by people who do not express love and compassion to them. This is mainly in children who are mistreated by their families, relatives or guardians, causing them psychological and emotional trauma. A society that takes their children to school too early, in classes where there are older students may have their children being diagnosed with this condition (Brown, 2005). This, unlike other cases, may not be actually there, but caused by the fact that the child’s brain is not as developed as the classmates’. Too high academic expectations on children by their parents, teachers or themselves could also lead to this condition (Bethesda, 2008). This is because it gives the children pressure in the mind, resulting to a feeling of fear for failure. Sometimes it causes them more confusion than focus in studies as it is expected of them .It is associated with scolding children when they do not meet expectations, instead of encouraging them and creating a positive attitude in them.
A child’s or teenager’s environment can also cause the development of this condition (Brunk, 2007). A child’s environment when the mother is pregnant can precipitate the development of this disorder through its exposure to alcohol and tobacco. This creates in the fetus a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder that is associated with development of the attention deficit disorder and problems with the central nervous system respectively. Infection of mothers during pregnancy and taking of some drugs like aspirin has been associated with causing this condition in children (Hallowell & Ratey, 1995). Low birth weight, infections when still very young and being born prematurely exposes children to acquiring this condition. In some children, it occurs when their mothers, during pregnancy, take certain food colorings. Artificial food sweetener aspartame and sugar in general, when taken too much by children of below six years lowers their level of attention.
Path physiology explains how the condition is in the brain. It generally has to do with dysfunctioning of the frontal lobe, involving the striatum too. It explains that children with this condition have low brain volume, especially on the left sided prefrontal cortex (Hallowell & Ratey, 1995). These people have an abnormal response to stimulus by the dopamine system. This is due to the low arousal thresh hold associated with a high number of dopamine transporters (Hallowell & Ratey, 1995). This low arousal is the one that causes hyperactivity and lower than normal level of attention in people with this condition. The high count of dopamine transporters is an adaptation to increased stimuli, like a harsh environment. These abnormalities have also been reported to be present in the nicotinergic and adrenergic pathways. It is argued that symptoms occur due to failure of proper functioning of brain processes that control and regulate the way one carries on their daily activities (Phelan, 1993). The signs best manifest themselves after the major brain developments are over. As a result, they are best seen in adolescence and adulthood.
People who have the attention deficit disorder mainly have four signs; low level of attention, hyperactivity, impulsitivity and being disruptive (Brimble, 2009). Hyperactivity, sometimes simply described as restlessness is characterized by one being in motion most of the time, fidgeting when expected to be calm, inability to handle quiet tasks, being involved in some activity with everything they find around them, talking all the time and when alone they have to be in an activity like singing. Low attention is shown through daydreaming and getting easily distracted, having difficulty in following instructions, not paying attention when being talked to, getting bored with tasks after a short time, having difficulty organizing things and one’s activities, difficulty learning something new, forgetting a lot, like where one placed an item shortly after doing it and processing information and reasoning out issues in a substandard way or taking unusually long (High Point Hospital Symposium on ADD, Bloomingdale & Swanson, 1989).
Impulsitivity is manifested in the way one is impatient, being slow to anger and sometimes over reacting about tiny issues, disrupting others when talking and difficulty waiting for ones turn, like queuing in a bank really getting in one’s nerves. In general, these people have difficulty relating with others. This gives them a feeling of rejection and not belonging. This makes them do things to help get these feelings off their chest. These are mainly the people who get involved in criminal activities like robbery, drug abuse and truancy(Singh, 2003). However, they have very good concentration levels in the activity they get to like, especially that which physically involves them. As children, they are slow learners, have a poor handwriting and their development of speech takes long.
Attention deficit disorder unfortunately does come associated with other disorders in at least two thirds of victims (Phelan, 1993). These include substance use disorders that have to do with use of drugs like alcohol and cocaine. This is caused by an altered reward pathway in the brain. Mood disorders, especially characterized by deep depression and bipolar disorders especially in adults; Restless legs syndrome that mainly occurs in people with iron deficiency; sleep disorders that are characterized by insomnia or sleep that is too deep so that waking up becomes difficult. Medication for the attention deficit disorder could also bring about sleep disorders. Vigilance disorder is also known to come with the attention deficit disorder. This characterized by lack of setlines. The victim has difficulty in concentrating, paying attention, keeps on yawning and stretching and appears to be too attentive, as if they are always anticipating for a scenario to occur then they react (Moragne, 1996). This is where the victim is totally unsocial, so that they are very edgy, violent and engage in behaviors like stealing and lying. Obsessive compulsive disorder also appears often in people that have the attention deficit disorder.
Attention deficit disorder is sometimes explained to have been created, rather than naturally appeared (High Point Hospital Symposium on ADD & Swanson, 1989). Its definition is based on the expectation of the society in question. A society that does hunting a lot will really appreciate a person that reacts very fast as they are able to make the most kills, while in an environment that requires people to be composed and quiet, this person will be termed as sick. Other than the controversy surrounding the management of this disease, another source of controversy is the alleged hegemonic behavior of Psychiatric in the United States and the possible stereotyping held towards people diagnosed with the hyperactivity disorder (Whitely, 2010). ADHD and ADD have become common diseases associated with schoolchildren who behave differently from others considered normal in accordance with the community expectations.
Usually, children considered to have the disorder are those who appear bored, disinterested, and those who do not take part in normal school activities or activities mostly enjoyed by other children. On many occasions, these children are able to enjoy and appear to love activities that interest them, but they appear disconnected and bored when they are forced to participate in routine and monotonous activities. This may sound as a disorder to many, but it may not be the case. This is because most of young ones enjoy doing things they love or those that bring maximum happiness and satisfaction, and tend to fight or resist what they do not like. As once a victim of ADHD, I was diagnosis with this disorder when I was very young, and I think my feelings were mutual to any other kid diagnosed, or put through ADHD medication.
This is especially in forms of medication that I was required to take constantly and on a daily basis. Sometime it appears as if people are avoiding to take time to understand what makes their children happy, or else parents want their children to feel the same path they went through which has proved difficult with changes happening in the current world. Looking at children diagnosed with this disease leaves one wondering what is being treated since the child looks so perfect and normal. This raises concerns like exactly who benefits from all this between the parents, a child, psychiatrist or the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing drugs meant for ADHD treatment.
Some psychiatrists may at one time have mentioned that ADHD is a fictitious condition rather than a disease (Brimble, 2009). This means that there might be some aspect of exploitation in between the chain, where children are exposed severe stimulating drugs that may plant a seed of addiction even in their future life. ADHD condition is a real thing, but the moral ethics of those concerned with its treatment is questionable, since these people may be only concerned with profit making rather than helping the young patients. Another question is whether ADHD is being overrated due to the rising number of diagnoses among school children while pharmaceutical companies entrusted with manufacture ADHD drugs continue to make huge profits. This becomes a significant reason among many others why many parents nowadays are opting to subject their children to natural medication in addressing the disorder instead of pharmaceutical medication.
There are even unproven arguments that natural medication is much cheaper as compared to modern medicine, and it does not have adverse effects to children in the future. The number of Children who are being diagnosed with this disorder on a daily basis is worrying. This is because it has drastically gone up, according to various medical reports. A recent study in this matter has shown that almost one in every 5 high school teens is diagnosed with ADHD in the United States and over 10 percent of all school children have at one time received a medication for the disease (Brimble, 2009). This is according to statistics released by department for disease control and prevention at the federal level (Brimble, 2009).
The bad news is that approximately three quarters of the young patients diagnosed was put under modern medication that involved stimulating drugs in order to boost their concentration, but the drugs carry along adverse side effects. This revelation is very worrying especially for the future of these young children because their physical and mental health is in jeopardy. This is because ADHD medications such as use of Adderall and Ritalin have been associated with rapid weight loss and stunted growth (Brunk, 2007). Another worry is that use of behavior modifying drugs to control ADHD may disrupt children’s natural development areas of creative and social growth. Controversy continues to follow the disease as ADHD treatment is left in the hands of untrained pediatricians and family doctors who are often somehow(if not entirely) uninformed about the prevalence of the disease. These doctors provide no deep examination of the children and take no caution when prescribing or administering some of ADHD drugs to young children (Brunk, 2007).
Signs and symptoms of ADHD are not enough to label one as an ADHD victim. In fact experts say that the symptoms should be spontaneous or regular for them to be considered or even termed as ADHD. They should also be persisted for a long duration, and most essentially, the signs to cause major disruption or harm in the life of the child either in a relationship or in academics. Some medical experts see the current increase in diagnosis as a step towards recognizing and accepting the existence of the disease. Other people argue that many American children may be getting involved in ADHD medication purposely to perform well in academics and to relieve their behaviors (Whitely, 2010). Some of these ADHD pills going round classrooms especially in well-known performing schools are specifically dangerous and students risk long-term addiction.
Who is profiting from ADHD diagnosis?
Initially, ADHD was considered as a disorder for many years, but in the years between 1991 and 1997, several transformations occurred which increased awareness of the condition in the society. First change occurred when ADHD was listed not as just a disorder, but was also categorized among disabilities under the disability Act (Moragne, 1996). This guaranteed people suffering from the disease protection and treatment in both the society, and in American schools. In those days, a common person would know about the medication only if the doctor was aware, and a treatment for ADHD was compulsory. Increased awareness of ADHD medication by both parents and teachers encouraged increase of children diagnosed with ADHD disorder. Immediately, teachers got full information existing for treatment of this disorder in children, it increased ADHD diagnosis. Generally, pharmaceutical firms were not wrong to give attractive offers to physicians who prescribed their products for medication. Diagnosis of ADHD leads to certain behaviors such as customized learning environment, accessibility to teachers and closeness to mental and sociological assistance, as well as treatments to regulate the behavior and assist the child concentrate (Whitely, 2010).
Treatment of ADHD
Modern Medication has had severe side effects on the patients. Medication for ADHD can be classified into stimulant and non-stimulants groups (Singh, 2003). These groups can also be viewed as natural and modern medication methods. A good example of modern medication for ADHD would be Ritalin. This drug has been prescribed to almost every kid in the United States who has been diagnosed with the disorder. However, the worrying fact is that this disorder has many known side effects and doctors continue to use it for ADHD management. Its side effects are as follows;
- Loss of appetite
- Cause mood swings
- Increased weight loss
- Addiction and
- Insomnia among others
Research has also shown that some drugs especially stimulants may disrupt children’s sleeping behaviors therefore, raising the need to undergo more medication to facilitate sleep in children (Betesda, 2008). Non-stimulants on the hand may result to severe stomach ache to the user, such that at times the patient may end up abandoning the whole treatment process due to persistent side effects. For instance, I was put under ADHD medication at the age of around seven years. I could not keep up with the medication especially with one drug called stratella. This was because it gave me constant headaches and I never felt like feeding on anything. I had lost several pounds of my body weight within a short period of medication and sometimes I could not get even an hour of sleep.
However, as patients and those concerned for their health continue to complain about the side effects of pharmaceutical products which have been adopted as treatment of ADHD, manufacturers of these drugs are in big business. Despite the clear side effects of stimulant drugs on children, manufacturers continue to produce them in large quantity at the expense of future productivity of victims and loss of finances as a lot is used for the purchase of these drugs. Taxpayers also continue to lose in the context of Medicaid since according to statistics; over 10% of children benefiting from this program are those diagnosed with the disorder (Bethesda, 2008). This is approximately 25 percent of the population. Another controversy associated with ADHD is that the United States is ranked at the top as the biggest user of this medication (Whitely, 2010). This is disheartening bearing in mind that there are many forms of natural treatment that can be used to manage this disorder in children.
Natural forms of ADHD treatment
One of the alternative methods of handling ADHD is both therapies. For both the family and the patient, therapy can help everyone to control and understand feelings related to ADHD are stressful. Behavioral therapy is a type of therapy commonly used for ADHD. It provides tips and techniques to parents on issues to do with managing and handling disruptive behaviors (Brunk, 2007). Additionally, it teaches parents and children on healthy behavior. Alone, behavioral therapy sometimes can be used effectively for treatment of ADHD cases that are not severe. Families and patients can be helped by support groups to connect or unite with people having similar problems. There are other different tips that can assist children with ADHD, they include:
Holding regular talks with the teacher of the child can be very helpful. It helps monitor the progress of the child in the class. Children with ADHD have trouble following instructions, are attention seekers and forget to do homework or complete homework. Note taking is also a difficult task for children with ADHD; this is manifested by their poor handwriting because of lacking good motor skills. It is also hard for these kids to participate fully in-group work and require a lot of direct supervision in projects that are long term. Ensuring that parents hold regular talks with a teacher can help in monitoring the progress of a child with ADHD (Brunk, 2007). Parents can also be encouraged to assist their children when doing their homework’s and also encourage them to try out news positive things in school and at home. This can be by having group discussions on what the teacher teaches in class and also on other constructive activities to enhance their emotional, physical and psychological development.
Parental support and education
Educating parents and offering support is another essential step of natural treatment of children with ADHD. Children with ADHD disorder are likely to respond differently to parental guidance than normal children. Providing education to parents is highly recommended by psychiatrists as it offers additional and special parental skills when it comes to dealing with overactive children (Brown, 2005). This technique has been helpful in guiding parents on how to behave towards their children in different situations and guide their children towards better-coordinated life, establish problem-solving skills, and cope with the side effects or symptoms of ADHD. Parents can be educated as either a group, as individual families or experienced therapists in organized topics and in special environment should conduct the classes. People suffering with Attention Deficit present a special educational program to enable parents and guardians to go through difficult periods and through the problems of the disorder throughout the life cycle (Brimble, 2009). This would help these parents to bring up their kids with ADHD in an educative environment.
This involves the elimination of some types of food from the diet of an ADHD patient especially on children’s diets. This is necessary only when parents or physicians believes that some certain types of food are the root cause of the disorder, or the diet makes the condition more severe. Some types of foods are believed to influence peoples’ behavior negatively while some may have a beneficial effect to the user (Brimble, 2009). However, this theory has been criticized by some researchers who argue that the behavior of a child may be due to the improved attention when dealing with the child subjected to a different or a special type of food. There is a popular believe that removal of a particular food from a child’s diet improves the child behavior based on behavioral changes, and not because of the diet. In addition, too many restrictions on what an ADHD child take may deny the child some essential nutrients found in these foods hence lead to nutritional deficiencies. Parents or those entrusted with ADHD children should make sure to consult their child’s medical specialists before attempting to experiment on any nutrition related ADHD medication. Experienced or registered nutritionist can assist an individual to plan a healthy food plan for ADHD children (Singh, 2003).
Attention deficit hypersensitive disorder is real and not a fictitious disease as time people tend to think. However, the increasing diagnosis may be explained in two ways, either people have started to recognize and accept the fact that ADHD is real among people in the society or some people especially pharmaceuticals are overrating the disease in order to gain huge profits from concerned parents. Looking at children diagnosed with this disease leaves one wondering what is being treated since the child looks so perfect and normal. This raises concerns on exactly benefits from all this between the parents, a child, psychiatrist or the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing drugs meant for ADHD treatment. Medication of ADHD patients using stimulant drugs have many side effects on children hence should only be used on strict instructions from the doctor.
Alternative treatments for ADHD are also available and include educating and offering support to parents, elimination of some foods, and behavioral therapy. Some psychologists argue that using modern medicine on children with the ADHD disorder is better because its results are experienced within a short time regardless of the side effects. Those supporting natural form of medication argue that yes; natural medication may take a longer time. However, the same results achieved of modern medicine can also be achieved through modern medication without taking a patient through discomforts such as; insomnia, loss of appetite, addiction and mood swings among other side effects. Natural versus modern medication of individuals with ADHD is a very controversial topic. However, having looked and analyzed the above facts presented by the research keenly, I am left with no choice other than to agree that natural ADHD medication is better than traditional medication that has been on the use.
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