The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 986: Treating ADHD Naturally

Find out how children with ADHD can be helped with natural treatments.
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Treating ADHD Naturally

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An amazing number of American youngsters is considered to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In some states, CDC data show that more than 10 percent of school children carries this diagnosis. You will find a thorough discussion of the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and potential consequences of ADHD here.

Alternatives to Ritalin

The usual treatments for ADHD are stimulant drugs such as Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin. While they can be helpful in some cases, there is a suspicion that they are being overprescribed. Approximately two million children are currently taking them and are expected to continue on them for years.

Not surprisingly, parents are often reluctant to start down that path. They worry about side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, or effects on growth.

Treat the Whole Child

What are the alternatives? Integrative pediatrician Sanford Newmark has found that with treating the whole child by considering family situation, nutrition and behavior modification techniques, it is often possible to help kids manage their symptoms of ADHD and succeed even without taking medications.

This Week’s Guest:

Sanford Newmark, MD, is director of clinical programs at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center. He is also the director of the pediatric integrative neurodevelopmental program at UCSF.

His book is ADHD Without Drugs: A Guide to the Natural Care of Children with ADHD.

Listen to the Podcast

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Habra posibilidad de este libro en epanol? Gracias.

I agree with Eleanor. Just because a person’s brain works differently from most others, does not necessarily mean he/she has a “disorder”. How about calling it something like “Attention Specific Syndrome.”

I use the “Tunein Radio” app to stream and listen to your programs at night. In the last several weeks, although your program is listed, it won’t stream. Has People’s Pharmacy done anything to disallow streaming?

I have had ADD but didn’t know it had a name until they identified and described it. It is not a disorder. It is a different way the brain works. Most especially, creative people work in this way. If a subject or project is of interest, the engagement and involvement is intense, thorough, and productive. Lots of energy and enthusiasm. If, on the other hand the task is not of interest, it is difficult to concentrate and stick to it. It is indeed manageable through coping mechanisms. It would help if they would remove the disorder label and call it what it is a specific characteristic that is often fun and energizing.

What I have found through the years is that it would be rare indeed for a child to need medication. My own son needed vision therapy and our family Dr. figured out the nutrients he needed-including digestive enzymes. He also reacted violently to yellow food colorings. My nephew was going to be permanently incarcerated in a psych hospital. He came here to live, sans meds, and I home schooled him. He also needed vision therapy and digestives. One other thing that I noticed at first was his head/neck. His neck was poker straight. After addressing these issues and providing nutritional supplements and a modified Atkins diet he lost a lot of weight and shaped up with lifting weights and swimming. He no longer had any behavioral problems.

This magic formula has worked miracles for years for many home school parents I have mentored. Food additives and colorings are a biggy as well as structural problems and vision. Many eye Drs. do NOT diagnose the vision problems. We took our son to a Children’s Ophthalmologist before he started school and she did not find the problem. Two years later we were desperate and took our son to our own eye Dr. He discovered the problem and it took three sessions with a Behavioral Optomitrist. By the time he graduated from high school the problem was resolved. He is now an engineer!

This was one of the best programs ever! My husband, a pediatrician, and I have always advocated for diet and lifestyle changes instead of always meds for ADD/ADHD. Few people actually have ADHD, most have other issues that need to be dealt with. Not to say that some people don’t have real disease, but everything else should be looked at first before jumping to brain-altering medications. A big issue is the way our schools are set up, which favor girls over boys, and they do not allow for adequate exercise and involvement in nature.

In nearly all ADHD cases I have seen in practice there a serious nutritional and allergy component to this condition. Rarely are these addressed by their doctor. Medications are given to these poor children which cover up the true problem. Tragic.

Wow …this was very good.

Great show! My son had great improvement with focus on elimination diet. I did not hear mention of L Tyrosine, I would love to hear about Dr. New mark’s thought on this supplement.
Thank you for sharing such valuable information every week.

Don’t you mean L-theanine?

I agree with Betty F., and have long believed that the public has been hoodwinked into believing that the condition is something calling for drugs.

My son was ADHD when he was young and the family pediatrician recommended putting him on the Feingold diet. (Unusual because most doctors want to prescribe medicines.). It was like night and day, we finally had some peace at home. I couldn’t recommend this natural way of helping your child more. It costs money to join, but it’s better than shoving a whole lot of drugs down a young child’s throat. Wouldn’t you want to take the most natural route to health that you could?? Check them out at:

A little kid gets up, races for toilet, toothbrush, wash-up, eat, mom yelling all the time hurry up, get dressed., find your book, eat your breakfast, wear your coat, etc. TV is on with cartoons and accompanying wild music going a thousand miles an hour. Kid sets his motors in his head for that cartoon speed… From sleeping and instantly to the thousand miles per hour. Then races out the door for school or bus or ride. Race, race, race. No slow paced things happening so far in the morning except the sleeping. Off to school still in the thousand mile per hour mode. Suddenly, most suddenly, told to sit down and be quiet and change your brain to 5 miles per hour to the pace of the school. Kid sits there his brain is still thousands of miles per hour. How does the kid even know how to change his brain speed?

Turn the cartoons off! Put some pleasant non talking music on that plays a nice pace. If kid has to race, get him up 10 minutes earlier and put him to bed 10 minutes earlier. And play a lovely paced music, and don’t yell at him.

Its funny how people have such strong opinions on ADHD and the management of it with drugs, clearly without having lived for years with a family member with ADHD. I was certainly not hoodwinked into managing my child’s symptoms with drugs, but chose to after of years of trying other methods that failed to make a difference in important things like focusing in school, self motivation, and completing tasks. Even still, drugs only do so much make up the differences in brain function of an individual with ADHD. We have never allowed loud cartoons, or any morning TV in our home, and to suggest this is the cause of the problem is unrealistic and unscientific.

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