Category Archives: Medication

ADD is often treated with prescription medication. Learn about the benefits and risks of treating ADD with pharmaceuticals.

Herbal Adjuvants in the Treatment of ADHD

It is a matter of concern for parents and medical professionals alike that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become increasingly prevalent among children.

The most recent report by the CDC based on parent interviews shows that about 4.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. From the children who were diagnosed by a physician, about 2.5 million of them are currently on medication.

Pharmacological treatment of ADHD is still a controversial topic due to its troubling side effects. For this reason, more and more parents are turning towards alternative treatments instead of standard medication for their children.

The most common ADHD medications prescribed today are methylphenidate or amphetamine. They are both stimulant drugs. While they have been proven to be effective in most of the children, they also have a high risk for abuse and have many side effects.

Side effects listed as frequent are weight changes, appetite changes, insomnia, and nervous tics not previously present. It is a fact that the number of children on these drugs is alarmingly growing and the total production of methylphenidate and amphetamine has increased by up to 2000% since 1991. Half of the drugs used for the treatment of ADHD are being prescribed by pediatricians.


Due to the significant side effects of these medications, many parents are now looking into alternative options for effectively dealing with ADHD. Research on herbal treatments has shown promising benefits while keeping the type and severity of the side-effects to a minimum.

Caffeine has been the focus of a lot of attention as a potential remedy because of its stimulant properties. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine is beneficial to children with ADHD.

Although it seems to help manage some of the symptoms, the benefits from caffeine are not nearly as good as those seen with pharmacological treatments. The many potential side effects from caffeine consumption in children are also a source of concern to parents.

There are a few herbal remedies that have shown some promise with hardly any side effects. They are ginkgo biloba, brahmi, siberian ginseng, gotu kola and green oats. All of these herbs enhance alertness without caffeine and appear to help those dealing with ADHD.

Ginkgo biloba leaves show promise because they increase blood flow to the brain and act as an antioxidant to nervous tissue. This herb is indicated for other brain ailments particularly in the elderly.

Brahmi also acts as an antioxidant and has been shown to facilitate learning and cognition.

Siberian ginseng, when used as part of a long term treatment, appears to increase brain activity in general and boosts work output.

Gotu kola is a mild adaptive, with antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is a gentle sedative and most importantly, a cerebral tonic. Also known as centella asiatica, it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety.

Green oats are known as a nervine and general brain tonic and demonstrate a stimulating effect over time. On the other hand, they have a positive short term effect in treating sleep problems.

The use of herbal remedies for ADHD shows great promise. Parents are trying to employ natural treatments in order to ameliorate the risk of abuse found in medications as well as possible side effects.

As always, enlist the help of an expert in the field. An herbalist may recommend other supplementation and dietary changes in addition to herbs for the treatment of ADHD.

For those who prefer a simple solution, there is an herbal formula for ADHD on the market. It is made by Native Remedies and it is called Focus Formula.  It contains extracts of the above ingredients and many others that are proven to help concentration and to provide balance to the nervous system and the brain. We highly recommend the product. To learn more click here.

References:

NaturalNews.com, “Use Herbal Remedies for ADHD” http://www.naturalnews.com/026081_adhd_remedies_herbal.html Accessed November 15, 2011

Fish Oil Supplements for a Healthy Brain

Among the many products on the market that advertise miraculous cures for almost any condition under the sun, there is no shortage that claim to be of benefit to those with ADHD.

It is true that different individuals respond differently to the same treatment, but there is a particular supplement that has remained uncontested as the best ADHD aid the world over. The product in question is the humble fish oil.

Chock full of omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil is extremely valuable as a preventative aid for a wide number of diseases. It is often combined with medications as part of a comprehensive protocol to fight against serious illnesses as well as chronic conditions.

No other supplement is so recognized as a major ally in the fight against brain deterioration and aging. There have been such a vast number of studies that its benefits are quite indisputable and are accepted by medical professionals everywhere.

A most revealing study was done at the University of South Australia. Researchers there tested a combination of omega-3 fish oil and evening primrose oil which is rich in omega-6 oil. In the study, 132 children with ADHD, ranging in age from seven to 12 were given this combination of oils. After the 30-week study ended, half of the parents reported that their children’s symptoms were improved and changes in behavior were noticeable.


During the study, the kids were divided into three groups. Throughout the first 15 weeks, the first group took the fish oil/primrose oil combination. The second group took the same combination plus a multivitamin/mineral supplement and a third group took a placebo. For the second 15 weeks, the kids on the placebo got the fish oil/primrose oil combination plus the multivitamin/mineral as well.

The results correlated to the amount of time the children were given the fish oil supplements. A 40% to 50% improvement in behavior for the two 30-week fish-oil groups was estimated. A 30% to 40% improvement for the 15-week group was also noticed. Compared with results of studies of Ritalin and Concerta, the drugs most often prescribed for ADHD, they found that fish oils were, in fact, more effective.

It has been reported that levels of omega-3s in the plasma and red blood cells of children with ADHD are significantly lower than in kids who don’t exhibit symptoms of the disorder. Since many parents make it a priority to find an alternative to stimulant drugs, it is vitally important that this information be known to them.

While Ritalin can have excellent results in some cases, it has been over-prescribed for a long time now. We must not forget that with a few benefits come many risks of such serious long term side effects as loss of appetite, insomnia, changes in personality and heart damage. There is also some evidence that it can stunt growth when the drug is taken from a very early age.

Therefore, it is generally recommended by pediatricians that a quality multivitamin as well as a good pro-biotic be taken along with a quality fish oil supplement. Most importantly, always make sure that you are purchasing a high quality, mercury-free, fresh fish oil that will deliver the most benefit to your child’s brain. To purchase the fish oil brand I recommend click here.

Cold Hard Facts About ADHD in the United States

The American Psychiatric Association recently stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) an astounding finding regarding ADHD.

Its newly gathered data showed that 3%-7% of school-aged children have ADHD. Furthermore, several other studies simultaneously estimated even higher rates in community samples.

When parents were surveyed to better estimate the incidence of this disorder, the results were as follows:

  • Close to 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD in one point of their lives, as of 2007.
  • The number of children with a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis increased by 22% between 2003 and 2007.
  • Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an even more severe 5.5% per year from 2003 to 2007.
  • In general, boys(13.2%) were much more likely than girls (5.6%) to receive a diagnosis of ADHD from a healthcare provider.
  • Interestingly, rates of verified ADHD increased at a greater rate among older teens compared to younger children.
  • The highest rates of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis appeared among children covered by Medicaid as well as multiracial children.

  • Parent-reported ADHD diagnosis varied in frequency depending on geographic factors. Nevada reported a 5.6% while North Carolina reported a record 15.6%.

Medicating Our Youth

  • In 2007, 2.7 million children ages 4-17 years were receiving medication treatment for the disorder. That is an estimated 66.3% of those with a current diagnosis.
  • Children aged 11-17 years of age received medication more often than those 4-10 years of age. Boys are 2.8 times more likely to take medication than girls.
  • In 2003, geographic variability indicated that medication was used most prevalently in Arkansas (6.5%) and least in in California (2.1%)

ADHD and Peers

  • Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD report almost 3 times as many peer problems as those without a history of ADHD.
  • Parents also report that children with a documented history of ADHD are 10 times more likely to have difficulties that interfere with friendships.

Accident Prone

  • A higher percentage of parents of children with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder reported non-fatal injuries for otherwise healthy children.
  • Children diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to have major injuries that sometimes required hospital inpatient care as well as hospital outpatient and/or emergency department admission.
  • Data from international sources clearly suggest that young people with high levels of ADHD related difficulties are at greater risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash, drinking and driving, and traffic violations.

These are all sobering statistics that urge parents to take a closer look at a problem that can and should be treated in order to improve the quality of life of the child as well as the family as a whole.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)” http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html Accessed September 27, 2011.

American Psychiatric Association, “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” http://www.psych.org/MainMenu/Research/DSMIV.aspx Accessed September 27, 2011.

What is ADHD

What is ADHD? An Overview – Part 2

What is ADHDADHD Treatment

Successfully treating ADHD takes focus and guidance on the part of the parents. A strong partnership between the health care provider, parents or caregivers, and the child is essential.

For therapy to succeed, it is very important to set specific, appropriate goals to be followed by everyone involved.

A combination approach that includes medication and behavior therapy has a higher rate of success than either one of these tools alone.

Regular medical follow-ups are needed to check on goals, results and any possible side effects if medications have been prescribed. These check-ups are vital in order for the doctor to update information from parents, teachers and also the child.

In the event that treatment does not appear to work, the health care provider should reconsider the original diagnosis to verify that the child indeed has ADHD. In addition, it is wise to check for possible medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms but need to be treated differently. Furthermore, always make sure that the treatment plan is being followed as indicated by the physician.

Medication

Nothing is as controversial in the field of ADHD studies as the use (or misuse) of medications. Experts believe that a combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best for most patients. To further improve the chances of success, there are now several different types of ADHD medications in the market that may be used alone or in combination.

Stimulants are the most commonly used ADHD drugs. They have been prescribed the longest and their side effects have also been observed for a long time. Although these drugs are called stimulants, they actually have a calming effect on the brains of individuals with ADHD.

The most commonly prescribed drugs in this category are amphetamine (Adderall), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana).


There is currently a non-stimulant drug called atomoxetine (Strattera) that appears to work as well as stimulants and is less likely to be misused by patients.

Many parents faced with the prospect of medicating their children are concerned about ADHD medicines because some have been linked to rare sudden death in children with heart problems. Always talk to your doctor about which drug is best for your child.

Therapy and Changes to Family Routine

Do not overlook the importance of talk therapy for both the child and the family. It can help everyone understand the situation and gain control of the stressful feelings related to ADHD.

When parents realize that there are modifications they can make, such as a system of rewards and consequences, they feel empowered and in control again. As a result, they can better guide their child’s behavior by learning to handle disruptive behaviors. Support groups can help you connect with others who have similar problems.

Other useful ways to help your child with ADHD include making a point to communicate regularly with the child’s teacher as well as keeping a consistent daily schedule, including regular times for homework, meals, and outdoor activities. ADHD children also benefit from limited distractions in the child’s environment such as restricted access to TV or video games.

Always make sure the child gets a healthy diet with the inclusions of fruits, vegetables and fish. Regular patterns of sleep are key to a healthy brain in both children and adults. Try to “catch” your child doing things right. Always praise and reward good behavior.

It will be easier for the child to fulfill your expectations if you provide him or her with clear, concise guidelines.

References:

National Institute of Health, MedlinePlus. “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001551.htm Accessed September 21, 2011.