ADHD

Hyperactivity and learning disorders have gone from rare occurrences to epidemic proportion in less than one generation. Approximately 11% of children aged 4-17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). And boys are 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.

Types of ADHD

Predominately Inattentive

  • failure to pay close attention to homework

  • trouble staying on task

  • appears not to listen

  • easily distracted and forgetful

Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive

  • has difficulty staying seated in one position

  • interrupts in coversations

  • talks too much in inappropriate settings-blurts out answers, interrupting the questioner

Combined

  • a combination of each type of behaviors

The Medical Approach

Stimulant medications are the most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD. Amphetamines (i.e. Adderall) and methlyphenidates (i.e. Ritalin) are the most commonly used drugs. It is important to remember that these medications can lead to unforeseen side effects such as sudden death due to administration of the medication to a child with an underlying heart defect. Additionally, there are concerns that these drugs are associated with a higher incidence of suicidal thinking or other signs of depression. 

The Non-Medical Approach 

The non-medical approach to treating ADHD includes a variety of therapies such as the following:

  • behavior therapy: teachers and parents can learn strategies designed to change behavior through reward systems, or role-playing to plan for difficult situations

  • psychotherapy: allows older children with ADHD to talk about issues that bother them and learn ways to deal with triggers

  • family therapy: designed to help parents and siblings deal with the stress of living with someone with ADHD

 

Additionally, other alternative approaches shown to help with the symptoms of ADHD are: 

  • implementing special diets limiting common allergens, or artificial food colorings and additives 

  • regular cardiovascular exercise

The Chiropractic Approach 

ADHD is a state of imbalance in the nervous system. Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two divisions: (1) sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our "fight or flight" responses, and (2) parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation and digestion. The presence of subluxations can put the body into sympathetic dominance, leading to hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. By reducing the effects of subluxations, the body is able to restore balance to the nervous system and activate the parasympathetics.

Additionally, research has demonstrated the existence of something known as the "brain reward cascade." According to one study , the brain reward cascade "results in feelings of well-being when operating properly." Interference in this cascade, termed Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS), has been implicated in compulsive disorders such as ADHD. It has been suggested that chiropractic adjustments are able to reduce pressure placed upon nervous system causes RDS and the compulsive behavior.

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