Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ADHD: Nutrition versus Meds

Came across an interesting little snippet on an ADHD forum to which I belong. In an attempt to avoid medicating her child, suspected by doctors of having ADHD, a Mom tried to help her son through a nutrition intervention. It is unclear whether she had consulted with anyone about her approach, but what was clear is that the child had an immediate reaction to the intervention – apparently a very bad one which prompted this Mom’s call for help on the forum. Specifically, she indicated that it was as if the child was going through “withdrawal” and after two weeks, she only saw his behavior getting worse.

Tina responded privately to her offering advice and insight into the situation. Among other things, she noted that, as we always tell the parents here at the center, while the “withdrawal” like symptoms may be upsetting, the fact that her child had a definitive response to a new intervention is usually a very positive sign. At a minimum, it shows a clear sensitivity related toward that intervention (in this case, what the child was eating), and that usually means you’re looking in the right direction. The trick now is to figure out the proper approach.

Moreover, as we always tell parents, whenever trying a new intervention, many times things tend to get worse before they get better – especially behaviors. The child literally feels very different, the body is physically affected, and the child’s mind and body must adapt. This can be rough, and lead, at least in the beginning, to worse behaviors.

Finally, like anything else, it takes time to adjust to new interventions. Unlike medication, nutrition intervention takes time. This is especially so if the gut is affected or you are addressing a deficiency. Simply put, it takes time for the body to heal.

Another gentleman on the forum (we’ll call him “Biff”) had a different response. Posted on the forum: give up the diet and give him meds.

Guess who had the right approach?

It turns out that not long after Biff’s post, Mom gave us an update. It took a couple of weeks, but she stuck with the dietary intervention and was now seeing very positive results. In particular, she noted that her son was “calmer,” “focus[ing] longer,” and experiencing “less sensory break downs.”

Tina 1: Biff O

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