Q. I have a 17-year-old son that I have suspected for years has a mild form of ADD. He tells me he seems to be bombarded with information like hundreds of highways leading to his brain at one time.
He’s willing to try medicine to see if it makes a difference. I’d like to try a more natural approach if there is one. Where can I get information on natural remedies and self-help with this issue?
A. Diagnosing attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) is not simple. There’s no blood test or questionnaire that will definitively determine that a person has this condition.
Although there are medications that can help focus attention, they don’t work for everyone and they do have some side effects. Ritalin, for example, can cause nausea, insomnia, weight loss, anxiety, heart palpitations, headaches and increases in blood pressure.
We have interviewed Edward Hallowell, MD, one of the world’s leading experts on ADD and author of Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. He suggests dietary supplements such as fish oil, grape seed extract and pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). He is also a big advocate of exercise, adequate sleep and a structured environment.