Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is essentially a dysfunction of the
Central Nervous System (CNS). It is felt to be related to a problem in the
Reticular Activating System (RAS), which results in difficulties of maintaining
attention and concentration, learning and memory, as well as involving an
inability to process and sort out incoming information or stimulus from both an
inner (subjective) and outer (objective) worlds. It may manifest itself in
undue passivity or inattentiveness, or unruly, uncontrollable, aggressive
hyperactivity in an affected child and disorganization in a child or an adult.
Interestingly, some of the Worlds most influential people were speculated to
If the person you are interested in has
eight or more of the below listed traits, then it is advised that you make an
appointment with your physician for a possible ADD/ADHD disorder. (I realize
that some of these traits may describe many of us on certain days)
1: Gives up easily on tasks, assignments and self-interests.
2: Poor reality testing skills, and avoidant of reason or logic.
3: Poorly developed skills of integration, interpolation and extrapolation.
4: Poor skills of attention and concentration, unable to sustain focus of
5: Difficulties in short term and long term memory acquisition and management.
6: Difficulty in making up their mind, or making choices without undue anxiety.
7: Poor planning abilities, unable to follow through consistently or complete
8: Difficulty in differentiating between competing, extraneous stimulation.
9: Easily distracted from tasks, conversations or social interactions.
10: Often over-stimulated and over-sensitized to their surroundings.
11: Poor listening skills, often interrupts others, abruptly changes topic.
12: Overly excitable, reactive and easily perseverating
from one situation to another.
13: Inability to manage emotional responses, temper tantrums.
14: Easily frustrated, emotionally labile/unstable leading to immediate
changeable moods and behavioral inconsistencies.
15: Often hyperactive, fidgety,overwhelmed with
feelings of restlessness.
16: Inability to maintain appropriate social conduct, often disruptive in
17: Experiences difficulty in following instructions and guidance.
18: Impatient, continuing difficulties in delaying gratification.
19: Overlydemanding, may become self-destructive and
20: Poor sleep patterns, often not rested, angry or despondent upon rising.
ADHD is felt to be secondary to a possible metabolic dysfunction of the
Reticular Activating System. The RAS is the center of consciousness that
coordinates learning and memory, and which normally supplies the appropriate
neural connections necessary for information processing and clear,
non-stressful attention. When abnormalities exist in this particular area of
the brain, it may interfere with the efficient processing of information, and
frustrate the child or adult.
There are many things that
may be of some benefit to people with ADHD. I can only go into some of them.
Fatty Acids (EFA) have been linked to brain health, including ADHD, depression,
Alzheimer‚Äôs Disease and infant development. Researchers
found not only a Docosohexanoic acid (DHA) deficiency
in Alzheimer's sufferers (Conquer, J. et al. Lipids, 2000), but found that fish
oil supplementation may be a promising alternative to standard antipsychotic
drugs used in schizophrenic patients (Joy, C. et al. Cochrane Data Sys Rev,
2000). Omega 3deficiency was prevalent in a study
conducted on patients with minor and major depression, indicating an abnormal
intake or skewed metabolism of EFAs in major depression (Maes,
M. et al. J Affect Disord, 1996). Omega 3 EFAs, like
DHA, increased the rate of transmission of a brain wave linked to memory and
learning and ADHD. This improved transmission slows down the progression of
dementia (memory loss) (Intl Conf on Highly Unsat Fat
Acids in Nutr and Dis Prevent, Barcelona, 1996).
Deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids has been linked to behavior and sleep
problems in children between ages 6 to 12 years (Stevens, S. et al.
Physiol Behav, 1996). New born
infants are deficient in DHA and breast milk is a good source of DHA and
scientists have discovered that breast fed children had higher IQ scores (For
additional details see our powerpoint presentation in
our Educational Resources section on "The Skinny on Essential Fatty Acids"
There are some supplements
that may increase seretonin levels which are
speculated to be of some benefit in people with ADHD. Supplements like
vitamin B12, B6, B3 - the B
group vitamins, but particularly B12.
also highly recommend Body Language Vitamin Co. Anti-age Energy, Antioxidant,
and MVI formulae to supply just about everything you need to help from a
from St Johns Wort may be of some benefit for some people. One of the primary
phytochemicals in St Johns Wort is Hyperforin. Hyperforin
has been shown to exhibit antidepressant activity.
, Ghosal S.
Antidepressant activity of hyperforin conjugates of the
Hypericum perforatumLinn.: an experimental study.
Indian J Exp Biol. 2001 Dec; 39(12):1302-4.
demonstrates that hyperforin - like many prescription antidepressants -
inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine,
serotonin, and dopamine.
Laakmann G, Jahn G,
Schule C. Hypericum perforatum extract in treatment of mild
to moderate depression.Clinical and pharmacological aspects.
Nervenarzt 2002 Jul;73(7):600-12.
¬†All three of these compounds are naturally
found in the brain and regulate mood and emotion. They are called
"neurotransmitters" because they are chemical messengers that
transmit information between nerve cells. An imbalance of serotonin,
norepinephrine, and/or dopamine can cause ADHD (some
speculation) as well as depression. ¬† By
acting as a "reuptake inhibitor", hyperforin increases the levels of
these neurotransmitters in the brain, which can improve mood and restore
emotional balance. -Mayer R, Gleitz J. Effects of long-term
administration of hypericum extracts on the affinity and density of the central
serotonergic 5-HT1 A and 5-HT2A
receptors. Pharmacopsychiatry 1997 Sep;30 Suppl
(4) Calapai G, Crupi A,
Firenzuoli F, et al. Effects of Hypericum perforatum on
levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine, noradrenaline and
dopamine in the cortex, diencephalon and brainstem of
the rat. J Pharm Pharmacol
also inhibits the reuptake of GABA, a neurotransmitter that increases
relaxation and has anti-anxiety properties.
The natural hormone Pregnenolone
may aid in memory retention. Pregnenolone is also
important for neural genesis, growth and reconfiguration. Pregnenolone
has cortisol neutralizing
effects, with age cortisol affects brain leading to
depression in early stage Alzheimers.
Preg S enhances post training memory processes
There are many other natural compounds that may be of some benefit.
releases acetylcholine from nerve terminals in the brain and increases brain
simiar action as DMAE (Ferris 1977)
liver) vital to acetylcholine prod, may help with memory (de la
Alpha lipoic acid
(Used since 206 B.C.) stimulates
circulation and promotes healing.
Sedative and reduces irritability, prevented age-related learning
problems (Nomura 1997)
caffeine, leads to increased physical activity, enhanced memory in mice (
There are many other things
from diet and exercise to meditation, hypnotherapy and acupuncture that may
help to varying degrees. ¬† It is always
advisable to seek medical attention prior to delving into the alternatives to
verify that there is not a dangerous problem that could be missed.