Dr. Bell's Blog

ADHD: Are Drugs Really The Solution?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often referred to as ADHD, has been a fast growing diagnosis among U.S. children in recent years. Because there is no clinical test for ADHD, diagnosis is strictly done off of symptoms.  These can include distraction, fidgeting, daydreaming, non-stop talking, trouble concentrating in school, and trouble sitting still.  Does this sound like any child that you know?  Of course, these are common childish behaviors in perfectly normal children. This is why this problem is so misunderstood, and often over diagnosed.

The rates of ADHD diagnosis continues to rise. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the rates of diagnosis has increased by 3% yearly since 2003 when it was diagnosed in 7.8% of children.  In 2011 that rate climbed to 11%, and it continues to rise.

Traditional treatment for ADHD is prescription stimulant medication, most commonly Adderall or Ritalin. The medications, however, carry some serious side effects. These can include nausea, upset stomach, decreased appetite, insomnia, irritability, hallucinations, epilepsy, seizures, liver failure, and suicidal tendencies. In teenagers, and older adults they also become one of the highly abused drugs because of their stimulant nature.

What Are Some Other Choices?

First off, controlling ADHD symptoms with a healthy diet can be a highly effective approach.  Avoiding sugar, or food that turns into sugar (i.e. white bread, pasta, etc.), is extremely important.  Swings in blood sugar levels can dramatically alter mood and ones ability to focus. When it comes to diet, the second part is avoiding processed foods.  These foods can contain dangerous chemicals which can drastically alter normal body function. Lastly, be sure your child is getting adequate exercise.  This has been proven to help them focus better, and improve behavior.  If organized sports is not their thing, then take them for a daily walk/run.  This can have benefits for the child AND adult alike. 

Can Chiropractic Help?

Yes.  Paired with exercise and a healthy diet, Chiropractic has shown to have an enormous effect.  A study published in the April 27, 2014 edition of Vertebral Subluxation Research, documented chiropractic care helping 4 children in the study ages 8 to 12 years of age. The study showed each of the children improved under chiropractic care.  The following are the results:

  • Impulse/Hyperactivity decreased in regularity by 23.8%
  • Impulse/Hyperactivity decreased in severity by 24.1%
  • In-attention decreased in severity by 15.8%
  • Combined regularity and severity of symptoms decreased by 21%
  • Total dysfunction rating decreased by 17.3%

In closing, I urge you to be persistent, yet patient when helping your child.  Get their spine checked for nervous system interference, improve the quality of their diet, get them active, and you can start to see drastic improvements in them in no time.

LIVE well. BE well.