Non-Drug Treatment of ADHD for children
Thank you to our guest blogger for today Tania Tolfo who explores the non-drug treatment for kids with ADHD. I know as a mom with three active boys I wonder if I will be looking for a diagnosis at some point and would love to have a more natural solution.
Whether your child has just been diagnosed with ADHD or has a long-standing diagnosis, nutritional intervention and exploration of environmental factors can make a big difference in the severity of symptoms your child is experiencing and the quality of their behaviour.
As a way to manage the collection of symptoms that is ADD/ADHD many people turn to medication for their children. This route medicates the child with a drug that will increase dopamine in the brain, particularly in the area that is responsible for focus and reward. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in motivation, productivity and focus while inhibiting impulsivity. In some cases this intervention is necessary. However, along with making the decision to medicate or not, environmental factors need to also be considered such as:
Pollen, dust and mold exposure
Heavy metal contamination (lead/mercury/aluminum)
ADHD quite often is the result of a dysfunction in the immune system, the gastrointestinal system and the nervous system.
I encourage you to review the options that are available to you, and even if the course of action is to medicate your child there are still natural interventions that can be taken to help to calm the nervous system and support the body through taking medications.
While there are many underlying causes of ADHD there is no one single causative factor. When moving forward with a Non-Drug Treatment of ADHD there are numerous factors to consider and specific tests will help to pinpoint where the body is out of balance.
Hair Mineral Analysis
Researchers have found an association between toxic metal build up and the development of behavioural and learning problems in children. This exposure can happen in utero or sometime before the third birthday. Hair Mineral Analysis is a test that shows nutrient status as it relates to the body. It will analyze essential elements, the ones that are expected to be there, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as toxic elements — these are metals that take the place of the essential elements and interfere with their proper functioning. Upon test results, there are ways to rebalance the essential elements and thus give the body the tools it needs to move forward in a more balanced state.
Food Sensitivity Testing
A food sensitivity is an immune reaction that takes up to three days to develop, making it difficult to determine the food causing the reaction without appropriate testing. In this complex immune reaction, IgG antibodies attach themselves to an “allergen” and create an antibody-allergen complex that is normally removed by special immune cells. However, if these complexes are present in large numbers and the “allergen” is still being consumed, the immune system is not capable of removing all of them and they then build up in body tissue. This build up causes inflammation causing chemicals to be released into the body. This inflammation over time can contribute to a variety of diseases and health conditions, with ADD/ADHD being one of them. There is some evidence that eliminating IgG food allergens improves attentiveness in children while decreasing impulsivity and hyperactivity. Overall, this removal will help to improve digestion, repair the gut lining and rebalance naturally occurring bacteria.
A full health history and assessment of your child’s physical ailments and appearances will help your Nutritionist to understand underlying nutritional deficiencies. This will help to design a supplement and diet protocol that will help to solve for these deficiencies, heal the gut, boost immunity and repair the nervous system.
The ADHD Diet
Improving nutrition and faulty digestion will make a huge difference in balancing behaviour in a child with ADHD. There are specific foods to avoid that will irritate the gut lining and feed the systemic inflammation that many of these children face. There are also specific diets that take in to account that not everyone’s digestive tract has evolved to optimally digest certain chemical structures in foods. By eliminating these food items, the body will be allowed to start healing and as gut bacteria levels start to stabilize, the reduction of irritants from undigested foods, toxins and other man-made ingredients allows inflammation levels to retreat.
In order to rebalance the body, specific supplementation protocols will be tailored to your child’s individual health needs. Supplements are used to feed the brain, provide a calming effect on the nervous system, repair the gut, boost focus and solve for any apparent nutritional deficiencies.
Lifestyle and diet are one piece of the puzzle. On top of rebalancing the body, work can be done with appropriate cognitive and behavioural therapists that will help you navigate behaviours and learn how to help your child learn, cope and thrive.
If you would like to learn more please visit Tania on her website at www.taniatolfo.com or contact her for a free mini consultation to go over your specific concerns and find out how she can help you and your child find peace and balance.
Tania Tolfo BA, ROHP, RNCP is a Clinical Nutritionist who is a dedicated and knowledgeable natural health advocate that will take you on a journey towards healing and finding balance in your body. She specializes in ADHD, pediatric nutrition, women’s health including pregnancy and fertility, digestion and detoxification.
As a mother, she was told that her daughter was likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD once she turned six years old. This was a diagnosis that she was not willing to accept until she did everything in her power to determine what was causing the collection of symptoms that presented as ADHD. Tania returned to school at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition to learn how to rebalance this little body. These natural interventions made such a huge difference in her daughter’s behaviours that her daughter is now a happy, vibrant 8 year old that is thriving without a diagnosis of ADHD!
If you want to learn more about Tania check out her website www.taniatolfo.com