“The best strategy for working with ADD often turns out to be a combination of enhanced nutritional support,
the creation of a supportive and positively challenging
atmosphere at home, and a more responsive learning situation at school.”
-John Robbins

It is currently estimated that about 8 million children have been labeled as having ADD since it was introduced in 1981. This is a large amount considering that there were only 500,000 cases in 1985. A 1600 % increase in children taking Ritalin on any given school day is grounds for concern, especially from a natural health perspective. While it is a very real disorder, it is commonly misdiagnosed and thus, mistreated. It is one of the only diagnosis that a lay person can assign another individual and is often times accomplished with a 15-minute interview and a standardized questionnaire. My concern as a chiropractor who works with young people and the general population are what are the psychosocial side effects of a child being raised with the belief that they need a pill to make their brains work properly. This holds true with many individuals that require medication to live a normal life. The reason ADD is such a concern is because it targets young people who aren’t equipped to make their own decisions and often times our busy culture doesn’t have time to assist them with whatever developmental challenges that may be occurring. There’s more to the story but I’ll save that for another time and simply mention that alternative
methods of restoring order to these individuals should be explored before medication is prescribed.

I’ve developed a protocol in working with this population that attempts to rule out other causes for the behavioral and learning challenges that go along with ADD. My sense is to rule out the more major causes of biochemical imbalance starting with the physical body and then working into the social as well as nutritional dynamics that may be playing into the individual’s behavior and attitude. The best place to start the process is with a physical exam to see if there may be any structural or developmental imbalances in the throid or the upper cervical spine that may be contributing to an inability to focus correctly as a result of compromised neurology. With a clean bill of health it’s important to find out details about the pregnancy process and anything abnormal that may have occurred during this process. A focused history following this looking into how the child developed through the early years, the presence of multiple infections and how they were dealt with, and the current nutritional and social themes that are prevalent in the child’s life should be clearly understood. Many children have food allergies that can be the cause of their inability to hold focus and be compliant. Once this information
has been garnered it becomes clear what action steps are important to take to restore order to the ADD presentation. The majority of the cases I have had success with have responded the most to making nutritional changes, simplifying the social and home dynamics that define a child’s experience, and getting
at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. If nothing in the history can be considered a causative factor than a referral to a slow-to-drug psychiatrist is warranted.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Taylor Donovan is interested in creating optimal health through chiropractic care, lifestyle suggestions, and nutritional counseling. He practices near Lake Tahoe in the city of Reno, NV. More information can be found at www.themeridianreno.com . Visit this site to sign-up for newsletters, articles, and a schedule of his popular Dynamic Anatomy Workshop Series.