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ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for the child's age and development.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) divides the symptoms of ADHD into those of inattentiveness and those of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

To be diagnosed with ADHD, children should have at least 6 attention symptoms or 6 activity and impulsivity symptoms -- to a degree beyond what would be expected for children their age.

The symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, observable in 2 or more settings, and not caused by another problem. The symptoms must be severe enough to cause significant difficulties. Some symptoms must be present before age 7.

Inattention symptoms:

· Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork.

· Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play.

· Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.

· Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace.

· Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.

· Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork).

· Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities.

· Easily distracted.

· Often forgetful in daily activities.

Hyperactivity symptoms:

· Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.

· Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected.

· Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations.

· Difficulty playing quietly.

· Often "on the go," acts as if "driven by a motor," talks excessively.


The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for treating ADHD:

  • Set specific, appropriate target goals to guide therapy.
  • Medication and behavior therapy should be started.
  • When treatment has not met the target goals, evaluate the original diagnosis, the possible presence of other conditions, and how well the treatment plan has been implemented.
  • Systematic follow-up is important to regularly reassess target goals, results, and any side effects of medications. Information should be gathered from parents, teachers and the child.

ADHD can be a frustrating problem. Alternative remedies have become quite popular, including herbs, supplements and chiropractic manipulation.

Children who receive both behavioral treatment and medication often do the best. Medications should not be used just to make life easier for the parents or the school. There are now several different classes of ADHD medications that may be used alone or in combination. Psychostimulants are the primary drugs used to treat ADHD. Although these drugs stimulate the central nervous system, they have a calming effect on people with ADHD.

These drugs include:

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana)
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • Amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)

The FDA has approved the nonstimulant drug atomoxetine (Strattera) for use in ADHD. Effectiveness appears to be similar to that of stimulants. Strattera is not addicting.

Some ADHD medicines have been linked to sudden death in children with heart problems. Talk to your doctor about which drug is best for your child.

The following may also help:

  • Limit distractions in the child's environment.
  • Provide one-on-one instruction with the teacher.
  • Integrate nutritional plan and test for food allergies.
  • Make sure the child gets enough sleep.
  • Make sure the child gets a healthy, varied diet, with plenty of fiber and basic nutrients.


Even though much controversy exists over nutrition, scientific research does suggest that nutrition can be very helpful in treating ADHD children. For children with food allergies that produce ADHD symptoms, the right diet can eliminate all ADHD symptoms and aggressive behaviors. Children with lead poisoning can use certain foods and nutritional supplements to remove the lead from their bodies faster.

The first step in proper nutrition is to reduce the amount of junk foods. Parents looking to implement a nutritional plan into their ADHD treatment can explore various nutritional programs under a physician’s care.

Dr. Kenneth Bock offers some information in this YouTube clip:

For more information read "Healing the new Childhood Epidemics” by Kennth Bock, MD.





The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

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