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Biofeedback is one method to induce deep relaxation by altering brain waves through selective reinforcement. Some have found biofeedback to be helpful for ADD, but the need for frequent treatments may put it economically out of reach for many children and adults.

Is ADD a Dietary Problem?

Parents often tell us that their child's behavior is considerably worse the morning after Halloween or after any sugar binge. Their perceptions have recently been supported by researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine. They found that within a few hours after substantial sugar intake, children release large amounts of adrenaline, which causes them to experience shakiness, anxiety, excitement, and concentration problems. Their brain waves also indicated a decreased ability to focus.6

As naturopathic physicians with considerable training in nutrition, we are appalled that the per capita intake of sugar is over 130 pounds per year in this country and that children are the worst fast-food junkies. Many of the parents of our ADD child patients are very nutritionally aware and have had their children tested for food and environmental allergens. Those children we have seen, despite eliminating cow's milk, wheat, and other foods from their diets, have not experienced a consistent and significant improvement in behavior or learning. Some parents have tried the Feingold dietary approach, which eliminates foods with natural salicylates, artificial colors,

flavorings, additives, and preservatives. Yet a review of the literature indicated that the Feingold diet has helped only a small percentage of children with ADD.7 In those cases where allergies and sensitivities to additives are a major problem, it is helpful to remove or restrict them. A healthy diet which emphasizes whole, natural foods is likely to benefit the health of any child or adult with ADD and is a useful part of the total treatment plan.

Yet both in examining the scientific literature concerning diet and ADD and in interviewing parents of children with ADD, we have found correlations between ADD and sugar consumption, ingestion of food additives and colorings, and food allergies, and hypoglycemic and anti-yeast diets, to affect some children and not others. We have not found that changing a child's diet has nearly as consistent, profound, and lasting impact on behavioral and learning problems as homeopathic treatment. Dietary approaches undoubtedly do work for some children, but not for many others. We admit that children who have enjoyed a great improvement in behavior strictly from dietary change are not likely to turn up in the office of a homeopath unless their dietary measures stop working and the parents seek out an alternative other than dietary intervention.

Is the Diagnosis of ADD Just A Way to Control the Classroom?

How true are criticisms like those of Drs. Armstrong and Breggin that the overdiagnosis of ADD is a means for teachers and parents to stultify children's freedom and individuality? It is true that some teachers are excessively rigid and wish to run their classrooms like a military academy.

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About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
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