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Many experts have documented a hereditary aspect to ADD. We saw one child whose chief problem was absentmindedness in spite of intellectual brilliance. All he wanted to do was to read about atoms and quarks and to contemplate the boundlessness of the universe. His father was the same way: brilliant, but he could barely remember to change his socks. His father's father was a renowned educator who had had a number of car accidents because he couldn't be bothered to keep his car on the road. They were like carbon copies of each other.

Yet we see other children whose tantrums, violence, and excessive restlessness seem to come out of nowhere. They may have very mellow parents who have limited their children's exposure to guns, sugar, and violent movies and who have raised them in a very loving, safe environment-and they still behave like wildcats.

A Matter of Predisposition

Even if they have two parents with ADD and eat sugar all day, some children will develop ADD and others will not. What can account for this disparity? Homeopaths believe that the reason some children and adults suffer from ADD and others do not lies in susceptibility. If you ask the parent of a child with ADD when he first noticed problem behaviors or tendencies in his child, he will likely say from infancy or toddlerhood. Such a child may have been hyperalert and have tendencies to wake frequently during the night, to be fussy and hard to satisfy, to run as soon as he could walk, and to climb all over the furniture as soon as he was mobile. This predisposition

to ADD-like behavior often occurs at a very tender age. Homeopaths frequently observe that this predisposition or susceptibility depends on the constitution of the individual from birth and may even be affected by the state of the parents prior to conception and during pregnancy.

How is this susceptibility passed on? Genetically? Homeopaths recognize these common traits among parents and children and hypothesize that there is some mechanism which we do not yet understand for these impressions or threads to be passed on generationally.Researchers at the University of California, Irvine recently reported finding the first abnormal gene associated with ADD. The gene controls dopamine receptors in the brain. Children with a more severe form of ADD have an abnormality of this gene, causing less sensitivity to dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Ritalin is known to stimulate dopamine release, perhaps accounting for the drug's efficacy.9

Most important to the homeopath are the unique tendencies or predispositions of the individual child or adult, regardless of what specifically may trigger the susceptibility. The phenomenon of susceptibility varies from individual to individual and cannot be stereotyped. But the individual can be carefully listened to and deeply understood. And from this understanding, a homeopathic medicine can be matched to the individual which will shift that susceptibility and bring the person into balance.

No Single Cause of ADD

Our conclusion, which is not particularly surprising given that we are homeopaths, is that each child or adult with ADD is individual. The cause of his ADD is no more stereotypical than his symptoms. Other than saying that anyone with ADD must have a predisposition to it, be it hereditary or environmental, we believe it is fruitless to ascribe all of the individual ADDs to one causative factor. Even if researchers conclude that every person with ADD has a deficiency or excess of one specific neurotransmitter, it is still an observation and not the underlying cause of the problem.

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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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