In 2003 statistics showed that New Zealand was dealing with about 5 percent of the New Zealand population with ADHD.1 While we don’t have the current statistics for New Zealand, we do have another more recent study that indicates that numbers are growing. A new government study released in the USA by the Centers for Disease and Prevention now indicate that 1 in10 of the nation’s children suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That’s a startling ten percent of the pediatric population. In the USA, that is an increase of more than 2 percent diagnosed compared to a decade ago.
Dr. Lara Akinbami, the lead author of the study did point out that the new findings may not necessarily mean that more children are developing ADHD, but it may be because more people are aware of the behaviour signs and better detecting the problem.
In their findings, Dr. Akinbami and her colleagues found that ADHD diagnoses rose almost equally in boys and girls between 1998 and 2009. Girls diagnosed climbed from 3.6 percent to 5.5 percent, as compared to 9.9 percent to 12.3 percent in boys.
Dr. Bradley Peterson, an ADHD expert added some valuable information to this study. He stated the increase of numbers diagnosed may be due to our changing expectations of our children’s behaviour. “We are increasingly more academically, cerebrally and intellectually focused than we were two-five decades ago. Our requirements for children to do well in school - having to sit still, stay focused and attuned - have changed over time. I think the tolerance and threshold for saying a particular child is too fidgety, too distracted, has likely changed over time too.”
Dr Peterson adds that children are increasingly being asked to leave their childhoods behind to purportedly prepare them better for the academics ahead. By trying to force a short-cut to academic success, we may be doing the children more harm than we realise. Children need physical movement in order to develop intellectually as their lives progress. Physical movement continues to be an important benefit to brain development throughout anyone’s life.
ADHD is defined as a dysfunction in the executive control centre of the brain, which is located in the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe, in turn, plays a key role in higher mental functions. It is concerned with the planning, initiation and control of physical movement. In other words, the practice of co-ordinated physical movement in the frontal lobe us a precursor and a pre-requisite to co-ordinated planning which we deem purely mental, such as attention and sustained focus. In reality, physical and mental co-ordination are really one and the same.2
Processed foods, junk foods, long periods of sitting, television and computer entertainment, drugs and alcohol, dysfunctional homes all contribute to a restless spirit in young people and if partaking of, or in the environment of for prolonged periods, children react, some to extreme and very difficult to deal with.3
1 Everybody.co.nz. 2 EmaxHealth 18/08/2011. 3 Natural Remedies Encyclopedia p488
Many of the symptoms will be reduced when the child is given a nourishing diet, loving care, proper rest at night, and opportunity to do worthwhile and appreciated work assignments, especially those that help someone else. Believe in the child, listen to them, take time and do things together.
Feed the child a very nourishing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus vitamin and mineral supplements and carrot juice. Keep an orderly routine in the home with duties the child is responsible and accountable for, and thank them in an encouraging way upon completion each day. This imparts a sense of security and self-respect.
Other Factors to Reduce Symptoms
Give the children high-B complex, thiamine (25mg) vitamin B6 (100mg), pantothenic acid 950mg), folic acid (400mcg), beta-carotene (in carrot juice), vitamin C (1000mg), vitamin E (400IU), calcium (500-1000mg) magnesium (100-400mg) and zinc (15mg). The calcium and magnesium will help calm.
A diet of unsaturated fatty acids reduces ADD & ADHD, give 4 teapsoons of flaxseed oil daily. Give complex carbohydrates (whole grains) instead of simple sugar foods. Look out for allergies from such things as milk or cheese. Whatever food it is, if it brings on excitement, cut back and see if the problem subsides. Eliminate all junk foods, sugary, processed and fried foods. No more soft drinks or tea or coffee. Valerian root extract produces good results.
Recipe of the Month
½ c bulgur wheat
1 c water
2 T Bragg liquid aminos
1 med onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
¼-½ t sage
2 T oil
¼ t marjoram
1 c walnuts
1 t salt
1 c water
1 c rolled oats
Simmer first three ingredients till water is absorbed. Sauté onion, garlic, sage, oil and marjoram together. Whiz walnuts, salt and water together. Mix all ingredients together. Bake in oiled flat casserole dish for 1 hour at 180°C. Also try replacing walnuts with sunflower seeds. Yield: 6 servings.