Has your child been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD)? If so, your son or daughter may have been prescribed a medication to treat it. Learn how these medications can cause unwanted side effects and how you can help treat your child’s disorder naturally.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – What are the Symptoms?

ADHD and ADD are very similar in their symptoms. Children with ADD will often misplace items, forget homework, stare off into space, blurt out inappropriate comments, interrupt others, become easily confused and have difficulty learning in a structured environment. Children with ADHD will exhibit these symptoms but tend to also be fidgety, anxious, talk non-stop, run as though powered by a motor and hardly ever sit still.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – What Causes It?

The exact cause of ADHD and ADD is not known. However, there are several leading theories as to the rise in incidents of these disorders:

Lack of Adequate Nutrition - For the last fifty years, the nutritional content of food has dropped considerably as fast, convenience and processed foods have replaced wholesome, natural, home-cooked meals.

Pesticides/Environmental Toxins – Pesticides in our foods have been shown to have a link to the rise in cases of ADD and ADHD. Industrial waste pumps gallons of toxic chemicals into the air each day, making the air our children breathe less clean and healthy each day.

Vaccines – Thimerosal, a preservative found in most vaccines, has also been linked to the staggering rise of ADD, ADHD and autism cases.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Is the Diagnosis Accurate?

It is estimated that out of the 4.5 million children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, 20 percent of them are misdiagnosed. Other physical and mental health problems may mimic certain symptoms of ADD and ADHD. These include:

Autism/Aspergers Syndrome – Children with autism or aspergers syndrome are often first diagnosed with ADD or ADHD because the symptoms are very similar. Children on the autistic spectrum, however, often have more problems relating to others in a social setting and often have difficulty reading facial expressions and bonding with others. It is important to have children evaluated for an autism spectrum disorder before they are treated for ADHD.

Food/Environmental Allergies – Wheat/gluten and food dyes are common causes of behavioral problems in children that could be easily mistaken for ADD or ADHD. My article, “Discover the Hidden Connection Between Gluten Intolerance & Your Mental Health” explains, in detail, the many mental symptoms associated with gluten intolerance. Cut out processed foods and grains from the child’s diet for one to two weeks and see if there is an improvement.

Also, environmental allergies can affect children and cause the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Use laundry detergents, household cleaners and soaps that are free of dyes and fragrance for the better mental and physical health of the whole family.

Intestinal Parasites – Though intestinal parasites are sometimes thought of as an infection that can only occur in third-world countries, it is estimated that 50 percent of the United States population is infected with some type of parasite. Your child could be one of them. Intestinal parasites cause a host of physical and mental symptoms that may mimic ADD and ADHD. To learn more, read my article, “Cure Parasites Today With These Natural Remedies”.

Thyroid Problems – An undiagnosed thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can cause irritability, anxiety, depression and mood swings that could be attributed to ADD. To learn more about the symptoms of these conditions, see this article.

Sleep Disorders – If children do not get adequate sleep, they may be inattentive, irritable, anxious or confused.

Seizure Disorders – Some children experience seizures that last only a few seconds to a minute. These unnoticed seizures may cause brain damage and may cause children to exhibit symptoms of attention deficit disorder.

Lead Toxicity – Lead poisoning can cause difficulty concentrating, poor academic performance, decreased cognitive function and poor memory.

Sensory Disorders – Children who have sensory disorders often require a lot of stimulation and may act out on impulse. They are usually clumsy and accident-prone and symptoms become worse with overstimulation.

For a more comprehensive list of disorders that mimic ADD and ADHD, click this link.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Conventional Treatments

Children with ADD or ADHD are often prescribed stimulant or antipsychotic drugs. Though they may dull the symptoms and help your child pay better attention, they do not get to the root of the problem or “cure” the disorder.

These medications may also cause a host of unwanted side-effects including anxiety, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, stomach pain, allergic reactions, hallucinations, heart problems, abnormal weight gain, mood swings, swelling, hives and many more.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Natural Treatments

The most important natural treatment for attention deficit disorder is eliminating possible food and/or environmental causes.

Eliminate Processed Foods - Processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and other dangerous additives that cause a host of physical and mental symptoms, including ADHD.

Cut Out Gluten – Limit your child’s intake of wheat/gluten products. In an intolerant child, gluten can wreck havoc on both physical and mental health.

Krill Oil – Omega 3 fatty acids are of great importance to a child’s developing brain. In an ideal world, we would get all the healthy omega 3 fatty acids we need from fish. However, our oceans have become highly contaminated with mercury, which is highly toxic to the brain and nervous system. Krill oil has been proven to be one of the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids and has been clinically proven to help reduce the symptoms of ADD.

Get Outside – According to research, children with ADHD benefit from spending more time in nature.

Attention deficit disorder can be difficult to manage and diagnose. These tips should help you get to the bottom of your child’s behavior and help them to live a happier, healthier, more focused life.

Author's Bio: 

Jaime is the creator and founder of http://www.itoldyouiwassick.info. It's a blog dedicated to validating mystery symptoms and offering natural, alternative methods of treatment. Her articles focus on getting to the 'root cause' of a problem, not merely masking the symptoms.