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ADHD and ADD

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and  ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
The main difference between ADD and ADHD is that children with ADHD are hyperactive, whereas children do not appear to have excessive energy or disrupt classes, instead they often appear shy, to be day dreaming or off in their own world
  • A common behavioural disorder that affects about 10% of school-age children.
  • Boys are 3 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Adults can also have ADD or ADHD
  • ADHD is most commonly seen as a learning problem, not necessarily accompanied by unruly behaviour.  It usually means that the child has an exceptionally short attention span.
  • Children with ADHD act impulsively, are hyperactive and have trouble focusing.
  • They may have trouble sitting still, paying attention or focussing on details.  Although all children may act this way at times, in children with ADHD the symptoms present over a long period of time and occur in different settings.
  • This affects the child's ability to function socially, academically and at home.
  • Many parents are advised to treat the condition with dietary modification, supplements or medication.
DIET
  • Some children suffering from ADHD will show an improvement with dietary modification.
  • Intake of sugar and processed foods needs to be carefully monitored - if not completely cut out of their diet.
  • Regular snacks (every two to three hours) that are high in protein, and complex carbohydrates will help a child maintain concentration. Examples are peanut butter or tuna sandwiches, homemade plain popcorn, biltong, cheese or nuts.
  • Between five and six in the evening is usually the most difficult hour of the day, a healthy snack usually helps calm a child but make sure it's small enough not to spoil supper and always avoid sugar on an empty stomach.
One expert, Richard Sogn MD, says that whatever food is good for the brain, is good for ADHD.
  • High protein diet:  Beans, cheese, eggs, meat, nuts.  When eaten in the morning and for after-school snacks, high protein foods may help improve concentration and make ADHD medications work for longer.
  • Fewer simple carbohydrates:  cut down on these:  Purchased cakes, pies, candy, corn syrup, honey and sugar, products made from white flour, white rice and potato without the skin.  Also avoid packet soups and sauces.
  • More complex carbohydrates:  the good guys!  Load up on veggies, fruits, including oranges, tangerines, pears, grapefruit, apples, kiwi.  Eat these kinds of food and it may help you sleep.
  • More Omega 3 Fatty Acids:  Tuna, Salmon and cold water white fish.  Walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive and canola oil and take an omega 3 supplement.
FOOD ADDITIVES (a hotly debated issue)
Experts recommend that people with ADHD avoid:
  • Artificial colours, especially red and yellow
  • Food with additives such as Aspartame, MSG and nitrates.
  • Some studies have linked hyperactivity to the preservative sodium benzoate.
Supplements for ADHD
Although medications are commonly used in the treatment for ADHD, supplements may also ease symptoms.
  • Zinc
Zinc plays a role in neurotransmitter function and supports brain health, and Zinc supplements may improve symptoms in children with ADHD.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3/DHA fatty acids are essential and necessary for human health. They can improve symptoms of various conditions like depression and arthritis, plus improve thinking and behaviour in people with ADHD.An Omega-3 supplement may improve brain cell function, thus reducing symptoms of ADHD.
  • Iron
An Iron deficiency may cause variety of symptoms including, weakness, rapid heartbeat, headaches, ringing ears, pale skin. Deficiencies are also linked to irritability, cognitive impairment and learning disabilities. Some researchers believe there's a connection between ADHD symptoms and low iron levels, and many believe iron supplements may improve symptoms.
  • Magnesium
A magnesium deficiency can trigger irritability short attention span and mental confusion.  These symptoms are the same for ADHD.
  • Herbs that might help with ADHD/ADD
In addition to medications and supplements, some people with ADHA have had positive results with herbs.
  • Ginkgo Biloba
This herb can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, it may also improve memory, focus and cognitive fuzziness in people with ADHD.
  • Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has a calming effect, it helps reduce symptoms like depression, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, pain and depression, the herb promotes relaxation and may ease insomnia.
  • Ginseng
Ginseng may improve concentration, memory and reduce irritability and nervousness. Findings from a study using red ginseng shows effectiveness with reducing hyperactive behaviour and helping ADHD children and adults perform better at work or school.
EXERCISE
According to Health24 Diet Doc, Dr Ingrid van Heerden, regular exercise is one of the most therapeutic things an ADHD child needs.  Exercise utilises some of the surplus energy your child is bubbling over with, it improves muscle and eye coordination, keeps the body healthy, prevents depression and helps with relaxation.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Occupational therapy makes a huge difference if your child consistently demonstrates difficulty with writing, cutting, tying laces, handling small objects.
PLAY THERAPY
The child's natural medium of self-expression (Susan Gardfolo, Play Therapist) with therapeutic use of play all children are given the chance to express their emotions safely and naturally.
REFLEX THERAPY
Reflex therapy focuses on the whole person with the aim of normalizing the flow of energy through the meridians bringing harmony.
The ADHASA points out that a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise, sufficient essential fatty acids and mainly eating real foods, could eliminate many difficulties for children with ADHD.  All therapies, natural remedies, diet and supplementation should be undertaken as a holistic team effort on everyone's part who is involved with the particular child.
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