Attention Deficit Disorder


Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder

   See also: Books About ADD & ADHD | Other Resources

ADD & ADHD: An Alternative View

Way too many children are prescribed Ritalin for hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. It is a stimulant which speeds up their brains so fast they shift into neutral. I wonder how often their doctors make any attempt to find the actual cause. It's certainly not a Ritalin deficiency!!

One of the most common possible causes of hyperactivity is magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a mineral which is normally in the soil and is absorbed by plants and then into people. The plants which have the most magnesium are green leafy vegetables. Chlorophyll, the molecule which makes plants green, is almost identical to hemoglobin, the molecule which makes our blood red. The only difference is that the center of the chlorophyll molecule is magnesium, the center of the hemoglobin molecule is iron.

Even if your kids eat lots of green leafy veggies, how much magnesium is in them depends on how they were cooked. If they were boiled in water and the water was discarded, some or all of the magnesium went with it! If you prefer to cook your vegetables this way, save the water and add it to soup or rice in place of part of the cooking water. Better yet, steam them to preserve both flavor and nutrition! You can do this by putting the vegetables in a pot with about a tablespoon of water, and once it gets hot, cover the pot and turn the heat as low as it will go to cook. Do not overcook the veggies. As long as their color is bright, they are good. Once the color changes or turns dull, they are overcooked.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency? According to "Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit" by the late biochemist Adelle Davis, "persons only slightly deficient in magnesium become irritable, high-strung, sensitive to noise, hyperexcitable, apprehensive, and beligerent. If the deficiency is more severe, or prolonged, they may develop twitching, tremors, irregular pulse, insomnia, muscle weakness, jerkiness, and leg and foot cramps; their hands may shake so badly that their writing becomes illegible. Electroencephalograms, electrocardiograms, and electromyograms, or the records of electrical waves in the brain, heart, and muscles, all become abnormal. If magnesium is severely deficient, the brain is particularly affected. Clouded thinking, confusion, disorientation, marked depression, and even the terrifying hallucinations of delerium tremens are largely brought on by a lack of this nutrient and remedied when magnesium is given." She continues, "improvement is usually dramatic within hours after magnesium is taken."

Another common problem in children which can be caused by magnesium deficiency induced muscle weakness is bedwetting. Miss Davis also mentions hyperactivity and colic in relation to magnesium dificiency.

A word of caution. If you decide to add a magnesium suppliment to your diet, do not make the mistake of thinking more is better. Do not take more than the RDA (400 mg. per day) without instructions from you doctor. Magnesium and calcium work together to make the nerves and muscles function properly. Too much of one or the other can make the nerves and muscles malfunction or even stop working. (Your heart is one of those muscles! Too much or too little magnesium can make it stop beating!) The generally recommended balance of calcium to magnesium is 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium. The most popular suppliments will have about a gram (1,000 mg.) of calcium and 400 mg. of magnesium. This is usually fine. Some people need more magnesium than calcium. You can purchase suppliments with the ratio reversed, with twice as much magnesium as calcium. This is also within reason, especially if you diet has more calcium in it than magnesium. Most Americans do.

The simplest thing to do is add 200 mg. to 400 mg. of magnesium per day and see what happens. For my kids, I used a magnesium oxide powder from the health food store, which I stirred into kool-ade. Not that I recommend kool-ade, but kids like it, and the magnesium is tasteless if they drink it right away. Left to sit in a liquid, it gets a noticeable flavor. I have put it in orange juice, but it seems to me it made it taste different. It's been many years since I've used it, so I'm not sure about that, and it's certainly worth trying in various juices to see if that works for your kids. (Note: avoid magnesium oxide if you have tummy trouble; take magnesium citrate instead. It absorbs better anyway, so even if you don't have tummy trouble it's a good choice.)

I have used it on other kids too, with their parents permission, and always, without fail, everyone present can tell a remarkable difference in the child who has taken it. The child calms down, and his/her attitude improves dramatically! It happens within a few minutes of taking it in powder form. Tablets may take longer, and you never know if they're being broken down or just pass through undissolved, so I prefer powders. Just make sure you measure carefully and mark any containers you put the powder into carefully, including the recommended dosage, and a warning not to exceed this dosage.

Good food sources of magnesium other than green leafy veggies are seeds and nuts if the magnesium was in the soil where it could be absorbed by the plants. The chemical fertilizers commonly used in agriculture often drive magnesium so deep into the soil that the plants can't reach it. And our soils have become depleted.

One more common cause of magnesium deficiency is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics waste tremendous amounts of magnesium. And often children with one health challenge also have others, such as allergies and ear infections. If your kids are having lots of ear or respiratory problems, take them completely off dairy products for three weeks and see what happens. It usually takes two weeks for the mucus to clear significantly. You could get an herbal expectorant from a health food store to facilitate this process. Dairy products, including milk, cheese and the ingredients cassein and whey (read all labels carefully!) promote congestion.

Another reason to avoid dairy products is that milk has lots of the antibiotics in it that were fed to the cows. Over half the antibiotics used in this country are used on farm animals raised for food. Children do not need milk to be strong and healthy, and in fact, milk is not a good source of calcium, contrary to the propoganda the dairy industry would have you believe. If you don't believe me, ask a Natural Food Hygenist or take a look at Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's excellent bestselling book, "Fit for Life".

Educate youself. Ask questions. Talk with others. See if a local health food store has a discussion group or is willing to form one. Start you own discussion group! (Notice I didn't say support group. "Support groups" sometimes attract people who only want to vent their frustrations. You want a group which is seeking solutions, looking for what works!)

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Available in association with

Healing ADD adult attention deficit disorder children kids hyperactive hyperactivity 6 types sixHealing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the Six Types of Attention Deficit Disorder
by Daniel Amen M.D.

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness by Daniel G. Amen also has good information about ADD and ADHD.

Why Your Child Is Hyperactive
by Ben F. Feingold

No More Ritalin: Treating ADHD Without Drugs (author of No More ADHD)
by Dr. Mary Ann Block

"What does a mother do when doctors make her daughter gravely ill with drugs, then can't get her well? If you're Mary Ann Block, you become a physician to get your child well yourself. Dr. Block was compelled to go to medical school at the age of 39 to save her daughter. Today, her daughter is a healthy adult as a result of her mother's determination and devotion.

In her ground breaking book, No More Ritalin-treating ADHD Without Drugs, A Mother's Journey, Dr. Block shares her painful and shocking journey through the dark days of her daughter's doctor-induced illness. She goes on to shatter the conventional view of drugging children who have been labeled with ADHD.

Dr. Block, medical director of the Block Center, looks for and treats the underlying health problems causing the ADHD symptoms. In her book, she discusses the causes of these symptoms, explains her medical approach and offers parents many things they can do themselves, at home, to help their child."

   - Steven Zacharius, Kensington Books (used with permission)

The Natural Approach to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Drug-Free Ways to Treat the Roots of This Childhood Epidemic
(Keats Good Health Guide)
by Ronald L. Hoffman

Ritalin Free Kids: Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems
by Judith Reichenberg-Ullman, N.D., M.S.W. & Robert Ullman, N.D.

Talking Back to Ritalin: What Doctors Aren't Telling You About Stimulants for Children
by Peter R. Breggin

Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle
Deborah Moss, Carol Schwartz (Illustrator)

Your Hyperactive Child: A Parent's Guide to Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder
by Barbara Ingersoll, Ph.D.

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The Mozart EffectThe Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind and Unlock the Creative Spirit
by Don G. Campbell

See also: Mozart Effect Music

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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can respond to a diet change
ADD / ADHD & Behavioral Problems: Nutritional Causes, Prevention and Therapies
Common Conditions That May Result from a Magnesium Deficiency: ADD
Attention Deficit Disorder ADD/ADHD
Magnesium supplementation as a treatment for ADHD

PubMed Abstract: The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test. - "The Mozart Effect is the definitive book on the astonishing powers of music - from Mozart to Jazz, New Age, Latin and even Rock - to heal the body, mind and spirit."
See also: The Mozart Effect at Amazon

The Tomatis Method builds strong listening skills through auditory stimulation, to improve learning and language abilities, communication, creativity, and social behavior. Has sections on Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), Autism, Depressive Tendencies, Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia.

List of the North American Tomatis Listening Centres

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