Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Updated Guidelines for ADHD - Really?

courtesy mdanys @ flickr
"For the first time in a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] has issued an updated set of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ...". While I appreciate updating, I can't say that I am impressed with this one.

Key recommendations include: [I have only included these 3 recs]
  • first line of treatment for preschool-aged children 4 to 5 years old should be evidence-based parent- or teacher-administered behavior therapy;
  • titrating medication doses to achieve the maximum benefit with the least adverse effects; and
  • for adolescents, the primary care clinician should prescribe FDA-approved ADHD medications with their consent.
These recommendations are fascinating! Given that both medical science and parents are in agreement that foods can, and do cause behavioral changes, why would the AAP encourage behavioral therapy as the "first line treatment" with no mention of diet, one of the most powerful factors influencing behavior and causing specific behaviors? Many children simply can not control the behaviors that foods can cause. Asking for behavioral change from a child without removing foods that are affecting his nervous system, is analogous to asking an adult to walk a straight line while intoxicated.

So, the AAP skips the most powerful and safest therapy for ADHD, diet, and moves immediately to "titrating medication" for the maximum benefit, with the least damage. Titrating means, experimenting with the individual child to get the best balance of good and harm.

And finally, be sure to use drugs that the FDA approves.

Not only have I successfully treated some children with marked forms of ADHD (severe enough to be failing in school and impossible for the parents), but have done so primarily with diet change, and vitamin supplementation.

Medical experts such as Dr. Michael Lyon have also found that dietary change with nutritional supplementation can often resolve ADHD. These safe treatments address the causes of the condition and the needs of the child; drugs do not. These safe and science-based approaches are customary in the practice of what is called Functional Medicine.

It is my hope that by continuing to speak and write about the overwhelming evidence of the effects of food and nutrition on behavior, that some children with be spared the harsh life of "misbehaving" and its consequences. It should not be forgotten, the painful and exhausting effects of a hyperactive child on caregivers (read - MOMS).

If you know, or have a child with behavior problems, please seek guidance from a doctor who can help uncover and treat the causes of the condition. Life could be so much easier and joyful!

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