(NaturalNews) According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), nearly one in ten of all U.S. children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is time a more natural approach was implemented.
Currently, diagnosis of ADHD appears to rely on observation of the child's behavior and attention span compared to his peers. A doctor will ask parents, caregivers and teachers to complete a questionnaire of the child's behavior in a variety of settings. The results are then compared to a diagnostics manual, currently the DSM-IV, and a treatment plan is prepared from there. With no definitive way to test for ADHD, there leaves great room for error and mis-diagnosis.
Children and Teens who are diagnosed with ADHD are often prescribed more than one medication. Those who express behavioral problems may be on a stimulant for the ADHD symptoms and an anti-depressant for mood problems.
Drugs used to treat ADHD often contain stimulants. These stimulant drugs come with side effects such as increased anxiety, irritability, stomach aches, headaches and decreased appetite. Worse still, stimulant drugs have been linked to an increase of sudden unexplained death. The National Alliance Against Mandated Mental Health Screening and Psychiatric Drugging of Children, lists the names of children and teens who have died from taking ADHD drugs.
Causes of hyperactivity
A hyperactive child may display symptoms such as unpredictable or unrestrained behavior, a short attention span, irritability, tantrums or depression. Medical symptoms may include aches, pains, dizziness, bladder problems or low grade fever.
Any form of abnormal behavior, such as hyperactivity in children, can be the result of a range of factors: emotional stress and psychological or physical abuse. These should be properly evaluated by a professional, such as a child psychiatrist or psychologist.
There is mounting evidence to show that exposure to chemicals such as food additives and/or poor nutrition can cause allergies or intolerances in children.
According to Dr. Ben Feingold of the Kaiser Permanent Medical Center in San Francisco, added chemicals could provoke a reaction in some children which manifests itself in hyperactive behavior. Dr. Feingold recommended a diet that consists of eliminating all foods known to contain chemical additives, colorants and preservatives or foods that are tinned or processed.
Some children suffer from abnormal blood-sugar levels and are hypoglycemic, which is usually the result of consuming sugar, refined carbohydrates or other blood sugar-elevating substances, especially when eating these foods on an empty stomach. The blood sugar level may fail to return to normal unless more sugar is eaten. During this period, the child is in a state of biochemical stress. These ups and downs can cause hyperactivity and make it difficult for the child to concentrate or study at school.
A few hyperactive children have been found to be allergic to fungi. After going on a yeast or mold-free diet and having their environment cleared of mold, their behavior is said to improve.
Deodorant sprays, hair sprays, oven-cleaners and other commonly used household products may cause an allergic reaction and hyperactive symptoms in a child. Not to be overlooked is lead from exhaust fumes and exposure to other heavy metals, which may affect children adversely and result in hyperactive behavior.
To diagnose and treat hyperactivity naturally, a thorough evaluation is necessary for each case. It is important to remember that each child is unique - biochemically as well as psychologically.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.