Diet ADHD And Behavior Essay

Submitted By tajlyon
Words: 1078
Pages: 5

Tammy Lyon Pg. 1
Diet, ADHD/ADD and Behavior

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavior disorders that is not only seen in children but in adults as well. Also known as hyperactivity or attention-deficit disorder (ADD), millions of Americans have been diagnosed with numbers rising each year. Symptoms that are generally seen in school-age children are excessive levels of activity, distractibility, and impulsiveness, but the main symptoms are reduced attentiveness and concentration. Two to three more common in boys than girls, researchers agree that it has genetic roots. If one child has the disorder, his or her siblings have a greater risk at developing it. Although everyone shows some of those behaviors at times, specific guidelines for determining when they indicate ADHD/ADD have been established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, by the American Psychiatric Association. Behaviors must appear early in life, before age seven and continue for at least six months. In children, behavior must be more frequent or severe than others of the same age and create a handicap in at least two areas of a person’s life, such as school, home, work or social settings. For adults, interfering with work or public socialization would be two main areas. Although ADHD/ADD can be troublesome for ones that are diagnosed with the disorder, it can wreak havoc on the siblings and family as well. Children tend to fall behind in school, needing extra help at school and home, sometimes causing self-esteem issues. Families must cope daily with focusing the child’s attention or restrain their impulsive behavior. Siblings may suffer from lack of attention to their needs because of the constant stress it has on parents, not to mention marriages may suffer as well. Although there is no cure for the disorder, there are different treatments available to reduce symptoms. Most common treatment is medication, along with counseling to help children and parents to better understand how to cope with the effects of ADHD/ADD. Medications aid in reducing symptoms, not eliminating them and come with risks of prolonged usage. Routine medication moderating is required, along with growth evaluations for children by medical professionals. Medications commonly used for treatment are Ritalin, Adderall and Strattera of which may be taken once a day if they are XR (extended release). Ritalin was more commonly used in the 60’s, but research has proven that it has adverse side effects that have only been recently discovered. Adderall is a stimulant and considered to be a Schedule II controlled drug, causing it to be highly abused by some. Strattera is a non-stimulant drug and newest to the scene. One alternative to medication can be a special diet in which certain foods are restricted or eliminated to help reduce symptoms in children and adults. In the early 1970’s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, Chief of Emeritus of the Dept. of Allergy at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Permanente Group in San Francisco, generated a controversy by asserting that certain foods and food additives could trigger ADHD. He reported that after prescribing dietary changes for patients with hives, asthma, or other allergic reactions, their behavioral problems sometimes diminished. He claimed diets free of artificial colorings, flavorings and certain natural chemicals reduced symptoms in hyperactive patients. Parents that were eager for drug-free treatment tried Feingold’s diet and many reported improvements in their child’s behavior. Although not everyone was impressed with the claims made, slowly, researchers began testing Dr. Feingold’s diet and found four out of fifteen children diagnosed with ADHD did indeed show improvement. Dozens of studies since have followed, most studies, but not all

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found that some, but not all children were affected by diet. Some children