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She Can't Sit Still for Even a Minute: Excessive Restlessness and Impulsivity

© Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND, MSW
 (Excerpted from Ritalin-Free Kids: Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems, Prima Publishing, 1996)

A Teenager on the Go Go Go
Sixteen-year-old Sherrie was referred to us by her family practice physician because of a five-year history of ADD. She had been on Ritalin since the sixth grade. In kindergarten Sherrie was sent out of the classroom for talking too much. An aunt and a cousin on both sides of the family had also been diagnosed as hyperactive. Her father and maternal aunt suffered from manic depression. Without her Ritalin, she was unable to focus. Easily distracted by noise or movement, Sherrie found it very difficult to concentrate while taking tests. Paying attention in conversation was also a challenge. Sherrie complained of talking without listening and often found herself staring off into space in mid-sentence. No matter how much she told herself to be quiet, she blurted out her thoughts or feelings anyway. It was embarrassing at times, though much of the time she had little, if any, awareness of how she affected other people. Sherrie was used to her friends asking her to be quiet. She had a reputation among her friends of acting immaturely and of being the last one to catch on to a joke. While driving, she often daydreamed. She would become confused when she saw a car in another lane, as if she did not believe she was seeing it.

Sherrie was very antsy, always fidgeting and fiddling. Clicking her nails against her teeth and tapping her fingers was a perpetual occupation. Sherrie's poking, hugging, and pulling at other people was a constant annoyance to them, but she could not keep her hands to herself. Sherrie was always moving some part of her body. She would skip down the hall to release her pent-up energy. Without having a way to let it out, she felt that she would scream. "The energy is trapped inside of me and has to be pushed out. It's all out of control," she explained.

Ritalin gave Sherrie hives and made her feel like she did not know herself. Her habit of being "a major procrastinator" was not affected by the Ritalin. With or without medication, she asked lots of "dumb questions" even though she maintained a 3.8 grade-point average.

Sherrie had a passion for pickles. She ate them straight from the jar. She also liked to suck on ice. Her fingers and toes became extremely cold when she skied.

Sherrie's defining features were her extreme restlessness and ceaseless activity. We gave her Veratrum album, mentioned earlier in Jill's case of adult ADD. Again notice the strong desire for sour foods. These people are generally good-natured and helpful but overexuberant. Their energy oozes out around the edges. As is frequently the case in treating children, we gave Sherrie a single dose of the medicine and asked her to return in five weeks.

When we saw her again, she was very happy with her progress. She had informed her psychiatrist that she wanted to discontinue the Ritalin before taking the homeopathic medicine. When she came for her followup visit, Sherrie found our parking lot without directions, something she could normally do only with the help of Ritalin. Her grades were better, in contrast to her previous efforts to discontinue Ritalin, when her grades plummeted to all F's.

Her parents also reported that Sherrie's behavior had drastically improved. She no longer stared blankly. Her friends told her that she "wasn't as crazy" as she used to be. No longer antsy, she felt a lot more controlled. The urge to poke, hug, and pull at other people had stopped plaguing her. Sherrie's leg no longer moved restlessly, nor was she clicking her nails against her teeth. Sherrie remarked that she was not as depressed as she had been, although she had not actually described herself that way previously.

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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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