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The Emotional Toll of Childhood and Adult ADD

Note:  The terms ADD and ADHD are used interchangeably in this article. 

It’s the beginning of the school year, the time when many children are identified by their teachers, correctly or not, as having symptoms of ADD. These symptoms then lead to the conclusion – often wrong – that the child suffers from ADD or ADHD.

The next step?

Put the child on pharmaceutical drugs so their behavior can be controlled.

Traditional diagnosis procedures for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may lead to over-diagnosis and are fraught with complications because the target behavioral symptoms are found in a variety of other disorders.

Is it ADD?

There are many factors that can cause ADD symptoms in children. Symptoms such as attention and focus issues, restless and/or disruptive behavior, or poor school performance do not necessarily lead to the conclusion of ADD.  Causes can include diet, poor gut health, an imbalance of neurotransmitters, lack of amino acids, poor methylation, poor sleep, too much setting and not enough exercise?

Nobody likes putting children – or adults – on medications. Unfortunately, labeling a child as ADD and placing them on a drug regimen is the most common treatment. We know drugs can cause side effects. We often forget that the act of labeling a child as having ADD or ADHD can itself carry detrimental effects.

Young females and ADD. Girls with ADD suffer a unique group of symptoms in comparison to boys. They are more likely to blame themselves when they have problems getting things done. Having ADD can also make it hard to read social cues. This can cause some girls to feel insecure and interfere with their ability to make friends. Studies show that boys are diagnosed at least twice as often as girls but that does not mean that more boys have ADD.

Experts say that girls are diagnosed at a lower rate because they  are less likely to get in trouble for acting out.

ADD affects adults who are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity disorder is not limited to children. 30% to 70% of kids with ADD continue having symptoms when they grow up. In addition, people who were never diagnosed as kids may develop more obvious symptoms in adulthood. This can lead to trouble on the job and in relationships. Note that if a child has ADD, one or more of the child’s parents may have ADD.

Potential side effects of commonly prescribed drugs. Many parents are not aware that most ADD medications are stimulants that artificially manipulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. These drugs are regulated controlled substances due to the fact that they can lead to dependence, abuse and withdrawal symptoms. These stimulants are compounded in their affects by Starbucks coffee, energy  drinks, sodas and many other caffeine containing drinks and foods.

Liver damage, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, stunted growth and heart problems are some of the more serious side effects that can occur with drugs commonly prescribed to treat the symptoms.

Other side effects can include:

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Drowsiness
  • Aches
  • Nausea
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness


Natural Treatments Are Available

Natural Amino acids like tyrosine, phenylalanine, glutamine and 5HTP can often relieve the symptoms of ADD. These amino acids support the neurotransmitters that are fundamental to overall brain health and function. Studies have shown that supplementation of essential amino acids and a high protein low sugar diet positively affect mood, focus and memory.

New Technology Offers More Objective Testing

Advancements in technology now lend us a more comprehensive approach to accurately diagnosing ADD. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, there are safe and effective methods of treatment that focuses on balancing brain function without prescription medications.

Get Your Genetic Test Today.

The benefits of genetic testing go far beyond simple information about ADD/ADHD. Give your family the gift of health, happiness & love.

Mike Clark, MBA, Ph.D., ABHRT, FAARM, Diplomate,
Certified Brain Health Coach, Brain Fitness Certified