What is ADHD and can it be helped naturally?

ADHD is a diagnosis based on symptoms; there are no lab tests, brain scans, etc, to diagnose it. It’s an example of a diagnosis that happens because they really don’t know what’s causing it or how to treat it, except to look for drugs to make the symptoms “go away”.

ADHD is a jazzed-up nervous system. In my generation (I’m 67) it was rare in kids, but now it is being diagnosed in greater & greater numbers of kids and adults. Because I started my naturopathic career in 1990, I’ve personally watched the trajectory of ADHD and other “jazzed up” nervous system issues, like anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia, shoot up in a hockey stick graph! As I watched this happen in my clients and the world around me, I had to ask, Why?

Because all of these conditions originate in the nervous system, as a naturopath I began to look at the environmental nervous system stressors. Interestingly, several of these have also increased and show a similar hockey stick graph. Hmmmm! Here are the underlying causes from a naturopathic perspective: Increased electromagnetic fields are a huge contributor. In 1990 we really didn’t have personal computers, cell phones, Wi-Fi, or “smart” meters or appliances. The more I’ve watched these EMFs increase, the more I’ve seen all the neurological conditions increase, including ADHD and even more serious conditions like Dementia and Parkinson’s. People now spend a lot of time on computers and phones for entertainment as well as work. Even if you limit this, you’re surrounded by Wi-Fi 24/7.

The second causative agent is pesticide use. In 1990, services like ChemLawn were just getting started. Even when I was a kid the city would fog for mosquitoes, but pesticide use in homes, stores, public parks, and on our food crops has dramatically increased over the last few decades.

Next is MSG, which has been added more and more to processed foods and all fast foods, including “healthier” Chic-Fil-A. MSG excites nerve cells and they cannot calm back down. They just excite until they die. Artificial sweeteners do the same thing and are in items you might not suspect like some yogurts and medicines, not to mention sugar-free gum.

Vaccines are a culprit, too, and the increase in the childhood schedule and yearly flu shots do contribute. Vaccines contain heavy metals, formaldehyde, and other toxins that irritate the nerves. 

Nutritionally, if your Vit D levels are not between 60 and 80 on a blood test your nerves are vulnerable. If your Vit B12 is not at the high end of normal, your nerves are also vulnerable. Insufficient minerals which lead to an overly acidic condition also irritates the nerves. And lack of the right fatty acids or too many of the wrong fatty acids contributes, too.

From a study/learning perspective, some people need more hands-on work than the classroom commonly provides. Many people can’t focus because they simply don’t understand some of the meanings of the words. It’s an interesting exercise to ask a school child what the definition is of some of the words in their textbooks. Or even the definition of the name of the subject itself, like Math! Keeping a good, simple dictionary handy while studying and looking things up that you have a question about is very helpful. Trying to determine the meaning from the context of the sentence (the way I was taught) leads to many misunderstandings and difficulty focusing.

ADHD medications like Ritalin and others are stimulants, in the same category as cocaine. They jazz the nerves even more, and also interfere with apatite. The symptoms “feel better” (Heck, stimulants like cocaine and speed really do make you focus and work harder, but at what cost?) Sadly, many well-meaning students end up abusing their ADHD meds because they make them “feel so good”. Many people turn to these meds out of desperation, and the meds are so “normal” and even recommended by doctors that it can be easy to go down that road. 

So, what is the answer? 

Short term, there are vitamins that can start to help. Long term, it means minimizing exposure to these nerve irritating factors where you can, then working to detox the residues of what you’ve been exposed to out of your body. If you or your child are already on these meds, it’s possible to wean off successfully with the proper support and under the supervision of your doctor or pharmacist.

I can test pH, nerve function, and B12 status easily in the office if you want to come in for a visit. If that’s not possible, let me know and I will create a general program for you to follow. I’d love to help you to find answers that absolutely allow you to reach your potential!! And do so in a healthy way.

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