Friday, February 3, 2012

Change Their Diet and Their Behavior - Just Diet Isn't Enough

Okay folks, the following address http://www.naturalnews.com/034660_ADHD_diet_symptoms.html, links to an article regarding ADHD and diet. As we know, this is the exact route I am going with Preston so I support it fully. However, I do have some qualms with it - the biggest one being that diet alone doesn't change severe ADHD. Some people commented that they changed their kids' diet and the issue went away. If it is is severe enough, it unfortunately isn't that easy. Ohhhh how I wish it was! As far as the article goes, these are my two points:

1) I get a little worked up when people question the validity of this disorder. As is the case with everything in life, unless you have experienced it, you really don't understand it. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not validate the diagnosis of ADHD in other kids myself; I always figured it was mostly due to poor parenting. After struggling with my son so vehemently for several years with his inability to regulate his emotions and focus, constant tantrums, and defiant nature this diagnosis along with Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis provided some relief - we know what the issue is. But, as the article points out, little is still known about the disorder. I do agree that it is a 'disorder' and they know it is due mostly to lack of development in the frontal lobe which is in charge of focus, discipline, executive functioning skills, and the ability to think long-term and cause and effect.

Medication can help and did help my little Preston for a year along with regular therapy and behavior modification through specific parenting techniques.But, when it came time to up his dosage to keep it effective, I had to pull the plug. Not to mention the lack of sleep and appetite and how his ADHD symptoms worsened when he came off the medication in the early evening. It was at that time that I came across a podcast (the link to which is on a former post) with Dr. John Gray regarding very specific supplements to support the brain - particularly with ADHD. Having nothing to lose that is where I am at at this moment. ADHD is a disorder. When someone says, "My kid is so ADHD," that is what aggravates me a little. It's not just that they are 'inattentive' at times. It is a condition that has very serious affects on the whole family. Preston's disorder has made it a challenge to keep our family going. And we're a blended family! Oi! Already riddled with unique challenges!

2) Diet does make a difference but is definitely not THE solution depending on the severity of the disorder. The title of the article suggests dropping the meds and the therapy. Fine to the meds but I'm ALL FOR therapy.  In addition to diet, I'm playing with specific supplementation and we'll have to see what happens before I can comment on that. On the first go around prior to medication I altered his diet and it really didn't do anything. Healthy fats seemed to help a little (tuna omega and flaxseed oils). The biggest difference I see in him is when he has eaten foods with artificial colors in them. I have heard that red and yellow dyes are the worst culprits but they all creep me out and his reaction is so severe I'd just kick them all to the curb. Partially hydrogenated oils are a big one interfering with messages sent to and from the brain. Sugar of course winds kids up which 'hyperactive' kids don't need any more of and the 'down' that follows the sugar spike only adds to an already irritable oppositionally defiant kiddo. Yes, foods that we eat do influence behavior and removing specific ones does help.

I wouldn't change anything I am doing already in regards to diet - eliminating most of the junk and supporting him with supplements and as good a foods he will eat is the most I can do on the dietary front. Behavior modification, individualized learning plans at school and not engaging when he is looking to pick a fight are other tactics that have to be employed when on the front lines of this battle.

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