Everyone can recall a child from their school days who could simply not pay attention and ended up disrupting the whole class. This child often disrupted the whole class’s learning process because he could not sit still and focus on school tasks. Now, experts realize that children like this probably have the disorder called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Chronic hyperactivity and distractibility is frustrating not only for the individual affected by ADHD, but also for their parents, siblings, and teachers as well. Children who have difficulty controlling their bodies and paying attention do not do well in school and because of this negative school experience; they feel that they are dumb and worthless. However, there are ways to help hyperactive and easily distracted children better focus their energy and attention into something positive and constructive. Many supplemental nutrients help children to concentrate on school activities and enjoy extracurricular activities as well.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder of self control consisting of problems with attention span, impulse control, and activity level. There are three types of ADHD. The first of these three is inattentive, which is when the child can’t seem to get focused and stay focused on a task. The second is hyperactive-impulsive, in which the child is very active and often acts without thinking. The third type of ADHD is a combination of the above two, where the child is inattentive, impulsive, and very active. Some symptoms of ADHD include: not paying close attention to details; not seeming to listen when spoken to directly, easily distracted; difficulty organizing and finishing tasks, fidgeting with hands and feet; running or climbing excessively; talking continually; interrupting conversation and intruding in other children’s games; avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort; exhibiting impulsive behavior; and doing things that are dangerous without thinking about possible outcomes. While all children show the above symptoms to a small degree, a child with ADHD will show these symptoms to a degree that interferes with major life activities and causes harm to the child.
The symptoms of ADHD can be detrimental for a child, leaving a bright child who is unable to succeed with a feeling of constant failure leading to low self-esteem and depression. A child with ADHD may be delayed by up to 30 percent of their actual age in their ability to pay attention and remember. This does not mean that intelligence is any less, but that the ability to control impulses is affected. It is crucial for parents to intervene and control ADHD symptoms early, as ignoring problems will only hurt the child more. Although the cause for ADHD is undetermined, scientists are researching the effects of drug use, genetics, and toxins during pregnancy. Also a mother’s use of cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs during pregnancy may have damaging effects on the unborn child’s brain, by distorting developing nerve cells, which could potentially lead to ADHD. Other research is showing that attention disorders often run in the family, with children having ADHD often having at least one close relative who also has ADHD.
Most children with ADHD can not grow out of it. Statistics show that 67% of people diagnosed with ADHD as a child will have it into adulthood. However, this does not mean that the other 33% outgrew it, but rather that they didn’t have the full criteria to be classified as having the disorder. If ADHD is left untreated it can have serious ramifications, including: school failure; depression; conduct disorder; failed relationships; and substance abuse. Untreated children often struggle in school with 23 -35% of them being help back at least one before high school and 37% never finishing high school. It has also been found that adolescents with ADHD start having sex earlier than their peers, have more sexual partners, and opt to not use contraception. An ADHD teen is 40 times more likely to have a child out of wedlock before the age of twenty.
Some conventional treatments for ADHD are stimulants including methylphenidate, amphetamine, and pemoline. Although it may seem contradictory to prescribe a stimulant for a hyperactive child, but it is theorize that stimulants activate the behavior control center in the brain. The result of these stimulants is better focus, more controlled activity levels, and increased attention span. The last result is an anti-hypertensive drug, which has behavior modifying properties. The common side effects of these medications include decreased appetite leading to weight loss, headaches, stomach discomfort, increased anxiousness, insomnia, and it may also worsen the tics in 34% of children with Tourette’s syndrome. The use of the “last resort” drugs requires a great deal of monitoring, with the dosage of these drugs being hard to regulate.
There are natural alternatives to the conventional ADHD medications that could help a child with ADHD. The following natural ingredients work together to help improve brain neurotransmittance, concentration, attention, and control of hyperactivity: L-Theanine, Phophatidylserine, DMAE, Taurine, N-acetylcysteine. L-Theanine causes an increase in neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain, promoting muscle relaxation and improving concentration and learning. Phophatidylserine is deeply involved in the production of neurotransmitters. It improves attention, behavior, learning performance, and mood. DMAE increases the body’s production of acetylcholine and has a stimulant-type action on the brain. Taurine is an amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neuromodulator in the nervous system. N-acetylcysteine is a powerful antioxidant that is shown to be beneficial in neurological disorders, providing antioxidant support by protecting cells from free radical damage and enhancing the detoxifications process in our body. It is important to tailor the dosage of the dietary supplement you choose for your child based on the severity of your child’s symptoms. Those children with ADHD that do not have severe symptoms may require a minimum dosage, while those with sever ADHD symptoms and extreme hyperactivity may require extra dosages as needed.
These dietary supplements do not have any of the side effects that prescription ADHD medications do. In fact, L-theanine is an ingredient in green tea that has been extensively consumed without any side effects. It is a safe alternative because it promotes relaxation without causing daytime sedation. These dietary supplements can also be safely taken in combination with conventional ADHD medications. They can also allow for a decrease in conventional medication dosages and be given to your child when conventional medications have worn off. If you choose to give your child a “drug holiday,” these dietary supplements can help your child to relax and focus, which is important in extracurricular activities. Supplements like the ones listed above for ADHD can be found at your friendly internet Health Food store.