It’s normal for kids to be hyper and fidgety sometimes, but when it becomes a problem for parents, teachers and the child themselves, it might be time to look into things. The official criteria for having ADHD include two categories: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Your child may have symptoms from one or both of these categories, and a naturopathic doctor can help decide if an official diagnosis of ADHD is appropriate for your child.
We all get inattentive and bored with things sometimes but if the inability to pay attention, and the what-look-like-signs have been there for at least six months, your Doctor will look for symptom signs like:
The guidelines for very young children have been changed to suggest behavioral therapy before medications, which is great, but the most common treatment for ADHD is still medication first. ADHD medications are stimulants, which work to stimulate parts of the brain that help control focus and decrease hyperactivity.
More and more parents are looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for their children. Although they can be very effective at controlling symptoms, many parents, as well as children, don’t want to use drugs to treat it. The good news is there are many alternatives to medications, and many children get better without conventional pharmaceuticals.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to look for the root cause of any medical condition. With ADHD, diet plays an enormous role in your child’s brain function. An ADHD assessment and treatment plan will likely include food sensitivity testing so you can help your child avoid those foods that are contributing to hyperactivity and distraction.
Sometimes an elimination diet is the first step, where common allergens and foods containing artificial dyes and high levels of salicylates are removed from the diet for a period of time. Other strategies can include making sure blood sugar levels stay regular and bring in the good veggies for a healthy brain.
Supplementation with things like magnesium, B-vitamins, and fish oils may be appropriate. Herbal medicine can be used to help calm restless energy, and acupressure (in younger kids) and acupuncture (in older ones) can help release pent-up energy and balance the body. Collaborating with behavioural therapists can help as well. We aren’t all perfect, so it’s great to help with weaknesses and develop for the future!