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Attention Deficit Disorder
Facts, Nutritional Support Strategies

ADD Facts and Statistics

For a term that was hardly known before the 1960's, learning disability has come to include everything from unexplained behavior patterns to clinical autism and everything in between. Learning disabilities have emerged as one of the most wide-ranging medical problems of children who live in developed countries where communicable disease is no longer a major threat.

Frequently, children with ADD/ADHD characteristics also have emotional instability.A learning disability is defined as a condition that effects one or more of the elementary processes involved in understanding and applying language skills—either spoken or written. Specific problem areas might include combinations of an inability to listen, to think, speak, write, read, spell or engage in mathematics. There might be dyslexia (the impaired ability to read or write causing the individual to reverse words or letters); or aphasia (a difficulty in speech or in understanding the spoken word).

Frequently, children with ADD/ADHD characteristics also have emotional instability. They display outbursts ranging from excitement to extreme anger, and are an enormous challenge for parents and educators who are not equipped to handle such situations. In distress, parents seek the advice of family physicians. The doctor, because of a lack of expertise in this field, frequently prescribes drugs in an attempt to corral the explosive behavior and decrease the learning handicap.

This disorder is reported to affect from 5-20% of school-age children ... and over 2 million American children (mostly boys) take the drug Ritalin.

This disorder has been reported to affect up to 20% of school-age children, but a conservative 5% figure is more widely accepted since the study that published that figure followed "improved diagnostic criteria." Boys show a 10 times higher incidence of ADD/ADHD than do girls. The drug "Ritalin" is the most common medical treatment with over 2 million American children (mostly boys) taking the drug. "Ritalin" prescriptions to children are controversial and the possible dangerous side effects are hotly debated.

The following excerpt from the Physician's Desk Reference makes it easy to see why Ritalin is so controversial:

RITALIN DRUG WARNINGS: "Sufficient data on safety and efficacy of long-term use (greater than 24 months) of Ritalin in children are not yet available ... suppression of growth (ie weight gain, and/or height) has been reported with the long-term use of stimulants in children. Therefore, patients requiring long-term therapy should be carefully monitored."

The frequency of accepting Ritalin as a solution for children is alarming.The frequency of just "accepting the drug Ritalin as a solution for children" is alarming for the following reasons:

  1. Adults are making a decision and a choice that will affect each day of a child's life. A "choice" for the child to take a drug that has severe adverse reactions associated to it (click here to read details on contraindications, precautions, and adverse reactions).
  2. This decision will affect the child each day he is on the drug and possibly even for years after he no longer takes the drug.
  3. Drug therapy has never cured a single case of learning deficit. Mask, cover, temporarily take away symptoms? Yes. But cure? No! Our society is filled with adults who were drugged as children. They still have the same learning problems. Some may have learned to hide, or otherwise compensate for their deficit over time, but for most the problems remain because the cause of the problems remain.
  4. Research shows that many children who have taken drugs for ADD/ADHD continually have drug addiction problems with either legal drugs and/or illegal drugs for the remainder of their lives. The reason for this could be that they are convinced they can solve life's problems and difficulties by taking a pill.

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ADD/ADHD Recognition and Associated Causes

Many learning disabilities go unnoticed because the behaviors are so subtle. A very sick child is generally accommodated, often cared for and helped; but the child with mild to moderate learning disabilities is frequently misunderstood and ridiculed. Their parents, teachers, siblings, relatives and friends often use them as scapegoats. Other children become a source of extreme emotional cruelty. When a classmate falls behind the accepted norm his peers may make remarks like "She talks like a baby", or "He can't even remember his own phone number."

The biggest complaint of parents and poorly trained teachers is that these children are constantly saying 'I won't do it'.The biggest complaint of parents and poorly trained teachers is that these children are constantly saying "I won't do it." They are punished physically and emotionally for what appears to be a rebellious attitude, when in fact the children are really saying "I can't do it," and they are just too embarrassed to admit it. Frequently, children with learning disabilities are capable of more sensitivity and caring than the so-called "normal" groups. They may excel almost to the point of being gifted in certain areas, but unfortunately they are functionally lost in other areas.

Criteria for ADD diagnosis cited in order are:

  • hyperactivity
  • perceptual motor impairment
  • emotional instability
  • disorders of attention (short attention span, distractibility, lack of perseverance, failure to finish things off, not listening, poor concentration)
  • disorders of memory and thinking

  • impulsiveness (action before thought, abrupt shifts in activity, poor organizing, jumping up in class)
  • specific learning disabilities
  • disorders of speech and hearing
  • neurological signs and EEG irregularities
  • self-destructive behavior
  • sleep disturbances
  • Although the causes of ADD are still under debate, research to date indicates the following associated areas:
    1.  Nine out of ten children are addicted to sugar and refined flour by age 4
    2.  Only 1 of 10 children get adequate gestational and early childhood nutrition. Studies prove that nutrition has made a difference of over 20 IQ points—which is the difference between idiocy, normalcy, average intelligence, and exceptionally bright. Which category would you choose for your child?
    Nine out of ten children are addicted to sugar and refined flour by age 4. 3.  Though the topic has been hotly debated for decades, studies definitively show that food additives are a major cause of hyperactivity.
    4.  Food sensitivities and allergies cause mood swings and concentration problems that are extremely difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are sporadic and last anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours.
    5.  Toxic exposure in one day (especially in cities with pollution) is more than our grandparents were exposed to in a lifetime (environment, food, air, water).

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    ADD Nutritional Support Strategies

    Our ADD Program will give you additional nutrient and lifestyle information. We also include the Center for Disease Control Framework for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Nutritional Support Strategies to help you understand on a large scale what the government is doing.

    You can also seek a professional who specializes in treating people with attention deficit disorders. Dr. Steven Whiting of the Institute of Nutritional Science in San Diego strongly advocates nutritional options for ADD/ADHD. The excerpts below are from his booklet "Trace Minerals and Learning Disabilities--A Third Opinion" and include explanations that will help you understand and evaluate ADD/ADHD circumstances:
    a) An Orthomolecular Approach for Evaluating an ADD/ADHD condition
    b) Good Trace Minerals and Bad Toxic Minerals
    c) Successful Clinical Experiences

    Other resource groups are:

    Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
    PO Box 972
    Mentor, OH 44061

    Children With Attention-Deficit Disorders (CHADD)
    499 Northwest 70th Avenue
    Suite 101
    Plantation, FL 33317

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    Related Links

    Site with multiple links to sources on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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