The symptoms of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. are often triggered by environmental factors and dietary regimes. Children are being labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity and Learning Disabilities in ever increasing numbers. Drugs are being administered profusely to reduce the behavioral symptoms, but physicians, parents and teachers are not delving into what’s causing the “illness”.

Questions have been raised as to the implication of chemicals affecting memory functions. In the book Is This Your Child, Dr. Doris Rapp illustrates the negative change in writing and drawing skills when children are exposed to fumes from chemical cleaners. She claims that, “these types of exposures bring about complaints such as fatigue, headaches, intestinal problems, muscle aches, recurrent infections, bed wetting, hayfever, asthma, hives and learning and behavioral problems.” In a study, it was determined that school children performed poorly on tests taken early in the morning, following applications of floor cleaners and/or insecticides. Since school maintenance personnel normally apply cleaning products to the floors prior to daily school openings, it would appear that the children are walking into a toxic classroom. Not only can behavior be affected, but their general health as well. Asthma cases in children are also on the rise and these chemicals may trigger attacks.

In The A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. DIET! the authors Rachel Bell and Dr. Howard Peiper bring attention to the fact that schools normally use chemical pesticides in their war against roaches, ants and other insects. Since many of these pesticides have a half life in excess of one day, our children are continually exposed to more and more build up of toxic chemicals in their classroom. Studies have shown that many of these chemical pesticides are carcinogenic and can cause lung distress. Could they also affect the brain and contribute to symptoms A.D.D. and learning disabilities? Dr. Peiper says, “I know of a Florida student who became hyperactive only after working with formaldehyde solutions in biology class. The school labeled this child ADHD and required drug administration. They refused to let him skip the lab sessions which triggered his behavior. His parents recognized the cause and transferred him to a school that understood his “allergy” to formaldehyde.”

Before dispensing drugs to treat the symptoms of A.D.D., A.D.H.D. and L.D., school physicians should first look into environmental causes. Labeling a child with a learning disability may have far reaching implications on their psychological health, therefore proper identification of the cause should be foremost prior to making a firm diagnosis. Another source of A.D.D. symptoms can be found in the school cafeteria. Children today have increasing signs of deficient immune systems; fatigue, restlessness, headaches, muscle aches, asthma, poor digestion to name a few. These symptoms are normally associated with aging and not common in young people.

Unfortunately as our immune system is compromised by environmental assaults, unless it has the proper nutrients which allow it to perform its duties, it cannot fight disease. Assimilation is the key to absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. Children today are being diagnosed with maldigestion stemming from a common diet of cooked and processed foods. Lacking the enzymes found in raw foods, the digestive system cannot process the meal leaving much of it to pass through the body without delivering its nutritive value. That is to assume the diet is nutritious. In most school systems, foods are chosen that children will eat and these normally are not healthy choices. Pizza, ice cream, cookies, chips, fried foods, soda and white flour products are among the most popular choices. Fruit, raw vegetables, seeds and nuts are not normally available in many school lunch programs. Sugar is a popular ingredient in everything from hamburger to ketchup and french fries. Morning danish or muffins are loaded with sugar and many schools provide this to the children who arrive early.

With a diet that compromises the body’s ability to derive the nutrients it needs, it’s no wonder that behavior problems arise. Sugar is a known upper (for a short while), but an hour later can cause extreme fatigue, inability to concentrate and hunger pangs. Students who eat sugary cereal or pastries for breakfast will be prime candidates to inflict misery on their first and second period teachers. Malnutrition affects the brain and its ability to process information correctly. A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. children may be nothing more than nutrient deficient and suffering from an absorption problem. It is necessary for parents who want to eliminate symptoms to assess the dietary regime they afford the child. Foods should be eliminated or substituted gradually and notes kept on behavioral effects. One caution—never single the child out to try a new diet because of their symptoms. Include the entire family in this change. It will not only support the child and protect them from identifying with the problem, but it can have a more permanent affect if they think they’re part of a team.

As with all behavioral problems, there is not one cause for everyone. Taking the time to identify whether toxins are affecting your child or whether they are responding unfavorably to their diet, may save you and your child from dealing with the label, A.D.D. Through the process of elimination, you may be able to avoid the drug option, which so many parents blindly choose. Symptoms may be reduced by nothing more than a simple upper cervical chiropractic or craniosacral adjustment, or by adding an enzyme supplement to their meal. If after all your scrutiny your child still exhibits behavioral symptoms, then maybe a diagnosis of clinical ADD is correct. You now can explore your options of prescription drugs or alternative therapies.

Author's Bio: 

Howard is an Optometrist, Naturopathic Doctor and author of 15 books on natural health.