When Andrew, a third grader, was having difficulty at school, his mother requested a teacher conference and was told her son fails to pay attention in class, disrupts his fellow students and is often found daydreaming or passing notes during important class discussion. The teacher described his pattern as consistent with Attention Deficit Disorder.
ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) refer to behaviors relating to inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity.
Although there are often identifiable behaviors that can be seen from infancy such as colic, head banging and intense tantrums, ADD/ADHD is often first “discovered” in school when children, usually under the age of seven, exhibit “ unmanageable“ behaviors. The parents are then pressured into having the child evaluated by a specialist or family physician and started on medication.
Common medical treatment of ADD/ADHD uses stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Cylert and Dexadrine. Despite known side effects of these amphetamine derivatives or “speed”, which includes decreased appetite, gastrointestinal disorders, growth problems and in rare cases seizures and liver damage, as many as 20 to 30 percent of children are taking these drugs. Out of this only an estimated three to five percent of the population has been properly diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.
Commonly accepted symptoms of ADD/ADHD include the following:
1. Often has difficulty awaiting his/her turn
2. Blurts out answers before a question has been completely asked.
3. Often interrupts conversations or games
4. Talks excessively.
5. Has difficulty playing quietly
6. Fails to pay attention to details
7. Has difficulty organizing tasks or activities
8. Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
9. Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to directly
10. Is often forgetful in daily activities.
The diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is obtained by a careful history of the child’s behaviors at home and school by both parents and teachers.
A proper diagnostic exam should include:
1. A thorough medical and family history
2. A physical examination
3. Interviews with parents, teachers and the child in question
4. Behavior rating scales performed by teacher and parent
5. Observation of the child
6. A variety of psychological tests to measure I.Q., emotional adjustment, and the presence of specific learning disabilities.
7. Laboratory tests to rule out lead, heavy metal and pesticide poisoning.
The child’s results are then compared to carefully established criteria to determine the diagnosis.
Unfortunately, in many cases a child is started on Ritalin based on the recommendation of only one teacher and without the objectivity of a full home and school evaluation using standardized tests. Likewise, a diagnosis is made without exploring the possibility of alternative causes of the behavior or alternative methods of treatments, including simple nutritional changes.
Once a patient has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, homeopathy offers a safe and natural alternative to Ritalin and its relatives. Classical homeopathy uses one remedy at a time to treat the central disturbance in the person. Each patient’s specific symptoms and their overall health status is reviewed to determine what remedy will be effective. A single dose of a remedy may effectively treat ADD/ADHD for several months, years or even permanently. Often several doses over a period of time may be needed to effect a long-term cure. Questions about illnesses/conditions are also explored since the person is treated as a whole
The Homeopathic Interview
It takes about two hours to obtain a detailed patient history during the initial homeopathic consultation. During this time, the homeopath may discuss such varied topics as sleep positions, dreams, and favorite foods. The patient/parent will also be asked to describe specific complaints including what condition aggravate or alleviate his or her symptoms. Information about other conditions will also be discussed since the person is treated as a while. All of this information will then be considered and a remedy selected.
Because each homeopathic substance elicits a specific energy, it has no drug interactions or side effects which often occur with conventional medications. It may, however, temporarily worsen symptoms, which is considered a healthy response to the remedy. The patient is then asked to monitor his or her daily progress and report back for a follow-up appointment one months after the initial interview. If the homeopathy needs to try a second remedy, he/she will do so at this point.
Healing will be evident on the emotional, mental and physical spheres. The client will experience an increase in energy, and an improvement in physical and mental symptoms. Each case will be considered on an individual basis to determine whether when further visits or phone consultations are necessary.
Homeopathy in Theory
Classical homeopathy is based on principles founded by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800s. He found that remedies given to healthy people would produce certain adverse symptoms, which when given to a sick person with the same symptoms, could relieve those symptoms. This is called the “Law of Similars.” He also knew that large doses of substances could cause undesirable effects, so he started looking for the smallest dose that could cure without side effects. He developed a process of potentization and dilution of substances obtained from the plant, animal, and mineral worlds. Although not fully understood, the remedy acts on the whole person-mind, body and spirit- to elicit a cure. When correctly prescribed, remedies stimulate the body’s own immune defenses, acting rapidly and curatively without side effects.
Homeopathy and the Vital Force
Diseases and imbalances occur when one’s own defenses are affected by stress or other insults. The aim of homeopathy is to strengthen the whole person, thus allowing his or her body to cure the illness on its own. It does not directly destroy the illnesses or its cause or mask the symptoms of disease. Symptoms occur when the body attempts to equilibrate its vital force or energy core. These symptoms are regarded as a healthy reaction to a harmful intrusion. Homeopathic remedies are given to restore balance to the patient’s energy force. In contrast most allopathic medicine block the body’s defenses suppress the vital energy force.
Hahnemann wrote in his Organon “The physicians highest and only calling is to make the sick healthy, to cure, as it is called.
The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health; that is, the lifting and annihilation of the disease in its entire extent in the shortest, most reliable, and least disadvantageous way, according to clearly realizable principles.” (Hahnemann, 1966, p. 60). For children and adults suffering from ADD/ADHD, homeopathy is a safer and more effective treatment.