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 Naturopathic Medicine: Hyperactivity and ADD 
 
Noel Peterson ND ©
Hyperactivity, Foods, and Drugs
The incidence of Hyperactivity, hyperkinesis and attention deficit disorder (ADD) seems to be rising at an alarming rate in American schools. For the child and parents and teachers alike, it can be a frustrating and difficult problem.

Conventional treatment for hyperactivity kids is to place the child on the drugs dexedrine or Ritalin. These drugs are actually forms of speed, but hyperactive children are slowed down by them. It is rare for these kids to be evaluated for nutritional, environmental or food sensitivities. Dietary restrictions are difficult to manage, not only for the child, but for the parents and the doctor. The drugs do make a difference in their childs' behavior, so most parents resign themselves to their use.

No one knows the long term side effects of having your child on daily medication for his or her first five years of schooling. Shouldn't doctors be investigating all the potential causes before beginning their child patient on years of controlled substances?

In a recent British study (1), 185 hyperkinetic children went on a low allergy diet of water, lamb and chicken, potatoes and rice, bananas and pears, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, celery, and carrots. The diet was supplemented with calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins. Behavior responded to foods upon both challenge and elimination in 116 children. Forty of these kids received intradermal hyposensitization or placebo, and it was found that 16 of 20 who received hyposensitization could tolerate the foods after treatment. Hyperkinetic behavior was eliminated as long as the offending foods were avoided.

This study, like many before it, demonstrates that not all hyperkinetic kids need to be placed on drugs. It's time that food allergy testing be required before any child is drugged. Perhaps the prescribing of Ritalin without food testing will go the way of tonsillectomies..

(1) Egger, Joseph et al, The Lancet, May 9, 1992;339:1150-1153

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