The Case for Nutrition Based Treatment of ADD ADHD

If you have been reading “3 Steps ADD” and/or the articles on this site you would have noticed that I place a great deal of emphasis on nutrition as a vitally important part of any strategy for dealing with the effects of ADD/ADHD.

You may also be aware that many people are quite critical of an ADD/ADHD strategy that majors on healthy eating supplemented by essential vitamins and oils. This may come as a surprise until you ask a few questions about the background and credentials of the critics.

It turns out that many of the people who have the most to say about the deficiencies of a nutrition based strategy have a vested interest in continuing the status quo (i.e. drugging people on a massive scale). I suppose that, on one level, you cannot blame them.

If you have successfully created a cash cow it is perhaps only natural that you will react with alarm when someone threatens its ability to inflate your profit statement.

We should note, however, that individuals and companies who perpetuate the wholesale profit driven medication of a significant part of an entire generation cannot be relied upon to provide the most accurate and objective information about how best to deal with ADD/ADHD.

I invite you, in light of the above, to ignore the naysayers and consider the very real benefits that a nutrition based strategy can deliver:

Nutrition based strategies allow you to experiment with less radical solutions. Doctors do not treat a slight pain in the arm by immediately opting for amputation. In the vast majority of cases they will arrive at an effective diagnosis and treatment without making use of radical measures.

It seems, however, that conventional wisdom is thrown out of the window when it comes to the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Here the ‘accepted’ method is to follow diagnosis with the most radical treatment possible: Huge doses of psycho-stimulant drugs.

Our approach is the exact opposite.

We recognize that ADD/ADHD is a multifaceted condition and that there are many different ways to address it. Starting off with a strategy based on sound nutritional principles is perhaps the least invasive way to address the issue and is often a large part of the solution.

Nutrition based strategies recognize the crucial links between the things we eat and brain function. ADD/ADHD can, in most cases, be traced directly to issues with brain function.

These problems are very often due to the absence of the building blocks needed to construct neurotransmitters (the chemicals that allow different parts of the nervous system to ‘talk to each other). Adding nutrients rich in these building blocks (e.g. essential oils, vitamins etc.) can make a huge difference in improving the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

Managing the energy available to the brain is a key to combatting ADD/ADHD. The brain uses a disproportionate amount of energy when compared to other parts of the body (it makes up about 3% of body weight but uses about 20% of the energy!). Nutritional strategies, especially those centered on Low-GI foods, can ensure that the brain is sufficiently ‘powered up’ to fulfill its vital functions.

Nutrition based strategies are much less risky than the alternatives. Perhaps the single most important benefit of a nutrition based strategy is the fact that you address the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in a natural way.

Medicating ADD/ADHD with stimulants comes with all kinds of strings attached. It is well documented that ADHD drugs can lead to addiction, affect motivation, stunt growth and lead to long term behavioral issues and even suicides.

All of these unwelcome side effects will obviously not happen to every person in every case, but the fact that their occurrence are associated with these drugs should, at the very least, prompt a long hard look at the need for them if they are prescribed.

Nutrition based strategies can help you to avoid the ‘medicalization’ of ADD/ADHD. An ADD/ADHD diagnosis is often viewed as a one-way ticket into the world of professional medicine. It will, in the vast majority of cases, be followed up by prescriptions, consultations and further examinations. In this way the ‘patient’ (as he/she will invariably be called) is subjected to a tiresome and unsettling merry-go-round presented as ‘treatment’.

The ironic outcome of all of this is that it places so much focus on the condition that it can lead the ‘patient’ to obsess about ADD/ADHD rather than getting on with the job of managing it and alleviating the symptoms. Following a nutrition based strategy avoids this merry-go-round (not to mention the massive costs associated with it) by providing ways in which the condition can be managed in natural and home-based ways.

It should be noted that something more than a strategy centered on good nutrition (and appropriate supplements) may be needed in some ADD/ADHD cases.

*It is my firm belief, however, that this will be a minority and that the “3 Steps” approach should first be tried before going for the ‘nuclear option’! *

I am also convinced that there are many other approaches (not involving medication) that can follow on from a nutrition based strategy. Bottom line: We need to get the basics right first and nutrition can play a crucial role in helping us to do just that!