Your Questions About Adhd Causes In Children

Ken asks…

How do you handle a 6 yeard old with ADHD without giving medication?

It causes terrible headaches. But without medication he is out of control.

barry jennings answers:

In my work with children, I have noticed that those with ADHD do improve when given omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish oils. These are apparently excellent for improving concentration, which is the general problem with ADHD kids.

You should give it a try for a trial of three to six months as an alternative to ritalin but do be aware that it can be expensive and, to begin with, you’re giving the child either up to six capsules a day or a paste that might not taste wonderful. The popular brand of choice in the UK seems to be Eye-Q but you might find an alternative in your country if you’re not British.

Jenny asks…

For those who know brain chemistry, is it fair to say ADD and schizophrenia are opposites?

I don’t know much about brain chemistry, but I do know ADD/ADHD is caused by a low levels of dopaminergic activity while schizophrenia (and psychosis in general) is caused by high levels of dopaminergic activity. It seems that either way, if dopamine is off balance in the brain it cases problems.

barry jennings answers:

Actually I have researched this, and although I am not an “expert” apparently, they kind of are “opposites” in regards to dopamine levels, but NOTHING else.

Apparently, it is believed that one of the neurological mechanisms involved in schizophrenia is an excess level of dopamine. And in ADHD, there is a lack of dopamine. So in that regard, (dopamine levels) they are kind of in a sense – opposites. That is why there is so much concern about giving children ritalin and adderall who may be showing signs of ADHD, because if their actions are actually the predisposition towards schizophrenia, that would mean their dopamine levels are already too high, and giving them something that would increase that even more is a recipe for disaster.

They believe that with schizophrenia at least (although it is still very poorly understood) that there are environmental triggers, and that it is not entirely biological. This is based on studies of identical twins, where the twins share the same exact genetic makeup, and where the incidence of schizophrenia in twins both having it, is only 50%. Thus, they really caution any parent of a child who may be diagnosed with ADHD if there is anyone in the family who had schizophrenia. They say, hold off on any medication, until they have definitely ruled out the beginnings of a potentially catastrophic disorder, as opposed to ADHD, which is relatively minor in comparison.

It should always be cautioned anyways, as bi polar manic depressive patients often times have symptoms that mimic ADHD when the patient is manic, and giving someone who is manic, adderall or any stimulant is yet another recipe for disaster.

Long story short, don’t be careless with choosing to medicate children who are diagnosed with ADHD, and always get a second opinion, if there is any doubt about the physician’s diagnosis, or if you have other psychiatric illnesses prevalent in family history.

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