(NaturalNews) Recent years have shown a significant rise in the diagnoses and treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In fact, from 2003 to 2011, prescriptions for ADHD have shot up from just under 30 million to approximately 55 million. Patients and parents are now faced with a decision: pharmaceutical or alternative treatment?
The ability to focus is the prime starting place in an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. Children that demonstrate a slow or non-existent development of this ability are often identified as having one of these conditions. To differentiate between the two, ADD is typically defined by being "easily distracted," and those who can't sit still are considered to have ADHD.
Prescriptions are the most widespread method of treatment today. The medications for ADD/ADHD are amphetamines meant to stimulate the portion of the brain that affects focus. The most common side effects are a decreased appetite, irritability, nausea, and insomnia, but typically these symptoms are mild. Studies have shown varying success in 70-80 percent of patients.
Some have concerns about the long-term effects of these medications on the nerves, since amphetamines can stimulate nerve cells to the point of exhausting their energy reserves, killing the cells. Several cases have shown that the medications can impair growth, maturity, and development of attention span, which can lead to adults with ADD/ADHD.
On the flip side, homeopathic treatment may pose its own set of benefits and problems. To pursue this holistic method, one must anticipate what is essentially a lifestyle change. It starts with cutting out toxins in the diet. Common toxins found in food are artificial sweeteners, caffeine, sugar (including corn syrup), MSG, and artificial coloring. Unfortunately, a heavy percentage of the edibles in grocery stores and restaurants include one or more of these, so it takes some label reading.
After the initial detox, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet, preferably one full of natural and organic foods. An established diet then leads to the appropriate supplements to properly increase focus and attention. Common supplements are choline, inositol, cod liver oil, and phosphatidyl serine. These are all natural sedatives.
The important next step is to re-train the brain, especially in children. The supplements need to be worked into the daily routine, and it is beneficial to stick to a bedtime/wake-up schedule. For children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, it is important to encourage activities that require focus and interaction. Opt for reading a book and active games rather than relying on "screen time" (such as video games and TVs) for entertainment.
It all begins with the diagnosis. When not investigated properly, ADD/ADHD has been named as the culprit when the patient was really suffering from such things as bipolar disorder or depression. Once a proper diagnosis is made; however, it is up to you - as the parent or patient - to decide which route to take for successful treatment.