Hyperactivity in Children

In this lesson we will address the subject of hyperacitivity in children and how to cope with it to assure better health and general well-being.

Hyperacitivity is a complicated and often misunderstood condition. It has been categorized with conditions such as hyperkinetic syndrome, minimal brain dysfunction, and attention deficit disorder "ADD". A child who is inattentive, overly talkative, impulsive, excessively irritable, and is hyperactive for his or her age is labeled as ADD. Natural health practitioners recommend several alternative treatments for this complicated condition.

" The first thing I look at," says Dr. Jones, " is if the child has actually been diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder." According to Dr. Jones, at least 50% of ADD children have been misdiagnosed. In his practice, he estimates this number to be between 80 and 85 %. " It is essential to have an accurate diagnosis made through cognitive function testing and other developmental testing. Ask a physician where to have this done."

Hyperactivity may be caused by learning disability, an unstable home life, food allergy, food additives, excessive sugar ingestion, heavy metal toxicity, or even the need for glasses. Dr. Jones remarks that at least half of his ADD patients improved when taken off sweeteners such as sugar and corn syrop. A recent study performed at Yale University School of Medicine provided a possible reason as to why sugar induces hyperactive reactions in some children. The investigation revealed that, when ingested by children, sugar releases twice the amount of the stimulant hormone adrenaline into the blood stream as it does in adults.

Eliminating sugar from the diet does not by itself usually solve the problem. Often, environmental factors can exaggerate a condition such as hyperactivity. Dr. Moskowitz saw a young girl, termed a hyperactive child, who was so sensitive to fragrances that if she smelled a bottle of perfume in the store she would be, in his words, " bouncing off the walls for the rest of the day." Through Dr. Moskowitz's long-term treatment, which included trying various homeopathic remedies, the child's condition improved greatly and she was able to better tolerate these kinds of aggravating stimulants.

Caffeine is found in several brands of soda pop. In a survey involving 800 school children, those consuming sodas containing caffeine were more likely to be labeled as hyperactive by their teachers than those who drank caffeine-free soda. Approximatively 5,000 food additives (
click here ) are used in food products in the United States. Benjamin Feingold, MD, conducted extensive research on the possible link between attention deficit disorder, food additives, and naturally occurring salicylates and phenolic compounds. Studies have both supported and dismissed this theory. However, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Defined Diets and Childhood Hyperactivity had decided that further investigation into the role food additives may play in ADD is warranted. Most recently, a joint project between German and British researchers has suggested that food intolerance or allergies may contribute to hyperactivity.

Dr. Sodhi recommends that all children, especially those with hyperactive tendencies, be taken off sugar. He feels that a nurturing positive environment in which they get lots of attention and very little critisism can positively affect very active, nervous children. Dr. Sodhi feels that the relationship between the parents can greatly affect the child's behaviour. A calming herb like Macuna Purrens works very well with hyperactive children, notes Dr. Sodhi, who has seen three children who, with the help of this herb, were able to stop taking the prescription drug Ritalin. Another herb he recommends is Ashwagandha. An Ayurvedic expert should be consulted before using any of these remedies.

Dr. Ni treats individual cases of hyperactivity according to their manifestations. In traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart and the liver are the two systems which are addressed in cases of hyperactivity. Herbs such as Schisandra Berries, Biota Seed, and Zizyphus Seed are used to calm the spirit. He also points to a poor diet as a cause of hyperactivity and suggests strongly that a nourishing diet be implemented. Dr. Ni recommends parents eliminate the child's intake of simple sugar and instead provide a diet high in complex carbohydrates, especially beans.

Dr. Moskowitz also links conditions of hyperactivity with diet, as well as with other chemical stimuli in the environment such as perfume, heavy metal pollutants, and cigarette smoke. He attributes these ailments to a chronic depression of the immune system, sometimes as a result of vaccination, congenital problems that originate in early pregancy, or a birth injury. In other cases it may be caused by an illness such as meningitis. He stresses that the condition such as hyperactivity tends to be a very complicated mixture of things, and is one that requires a dedicated relationship with the child on the part of the professional.

David Hoffman feels that the diagnosis of " hyperactivity " itself is problematic. " I think our culture, especially teachers and harassed parents, have found a new label in hyperactivity to try to control very active, very creative, very alive children," he says. For the child experiencing hyperactivity, there are herbs that may be helpful, provided that psychological factors are being addressed and that sugar and products containing it are completely avoided. Those herbs include Linden Flower " especially effective when used in a bath before bed to relax the child" and chamomille for the nervous sytem, and red clover and milk thistle for the liver and detoxification. He also recommends that the parents of such children find a way to alleviate their own stress and exhaustion.

Our next subject in this section is : colon therapy.


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