This, along with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), is a relatively new ‘dis-ease’ – a sign of our times and our diets whether in children or as is becoming clear, in adults also. So what causes this reaction? What is creating such an imbalance?

DIET RELATED

This is probably the best place to start finding the cause! How we eat is so important in terms of giving our body the nutrition it needs for the job is so badly wants to undertake for us. All signs of illness are actually signs of a body that is imbalanced. So what are we doing wrong?

Give a thought to the modern diet. Look at what children and adults eat today – mostly de-natured, refined and processed food. Huge amounts of sugar, salt, fat, carbohydrates in all the forms that they are available in. Bread, pastries, crisps, excessive quantities of meat, poultry – often poor quality and loaded with antibiotics as a daily dose in their feed.

Take meat to begin with – if red meat is of poor quality – and a lot of people don’t have the necessary income to buy the highest quality cuts – then it contains a fatty acid called arachidonate which forms hormone-like prostaglandins. In excess, these can and do cause mental and physical inflammation – leading to aggression. Often a large problem with children and adults diagnosed with these 2 problems.

SUGAR RELATED

Next is refined sugar – in excess this causes moodiness as it creates sugar imbalances in the blood and the brain.

The main symptoms of both are inability to pay attention and excessive activity -often these have a common root diagnosed in Oriental medicine as insufficient yin, where yin represents the calm and receptive dimension of the human personality. In such childhood disorders, yin deficit frequently affects the kidneys and liver. (In Western terms, this could translate into a deficiency of liver and kidney metabolites and hormones, which are produced from a rich and balanced supply of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes and so on). The task of yin-building in children is not far different from that in adults.

HEREDITY

One reason children may exhibit yin deficit is heredity, if not enough was available from the parents. Studies have shown that parents who are themselves subject to depression, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and other developmental imbalances have a greater likelihood of bearing children with ADHD. Since children are in a yang growth phase of their life, which needs the support of their yin resources, they easily become at least somewhat deficient in yin. Because the yin and its supporting nutrients are depleted by refined foods, synthetic chemicals, pesticides, radiation from computers and televisions, highly spiced foods, fluorescent lights, smog and numerous other toxic elements of modern life, it is advisable for children with yin deficit to have as natural a diet and lifestyle as possible. Chaos in the home, along with other stresses (related to the diet) seems to contribute to this syndrome in children.

REMEDIES

Specific nutritional remedies that frequently help, especially if given regularly over the years, include: sea vegetables, which supply the wealth of minerals needed to calm the mind and body and can be cooked into bean dishes and stews also, many children with ADHD are benefited by taking a few kelp tablets daily. Foods such as spirulina, tempeh, butter and ghee, almonds may prove helpful in building yin essence. The omega-3 oil and GLA oils eg in the form of flax and borage oils, greatly help the yin of the liver and are indicated when the child/adult is unruly or especially angry or disruptive. Studies suggest these fatty acids tend to be lacking in the presence of ADHD. ADHD is frequently made worse by parasitic infections. Taking garlic can help with childhood parasites, also with colloidal silver and aloe vera gel as garlic can be quite strong for them. These 2 combined help rid the body of many parasites and pathogens. Thus, aside from the parasite issue, some parents give one or both remedies to their children long-term simply to aid in yin nourishment.

Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit represent a mind and body that move, often chaotically, from one action, object, or idea to another. Chaotic and disruptive change, whether mental or physical is described in Chinese medicine as wind syndrome. Wind conditions are made worse by heat-producing foods and stressful activity, by diets that cause liver stagnation and by consuming eggs, crab meat and buckwheat.

Whether ADHD syndrome is brought about by injuries, parasites, heredity, dietary or environmental factors or any combination of these, it can be improved, at least to some extent, by consistently following basic guidelines such as has been suggested here.

Attention to diet is of prime importance, whether for adults or children – giving the body the correct balance of what it needs, invariably gives a balance of body and mind in return.

MY STORY

Since my son was small, I have tried to ensure that his diet was balanced; giving him the correct quantity of green foods, soya, fish and whole grains – I avoided giving him sugar and processed food as much as humanly possible. However – as all mothers will attest to – there comes a time when the peer pressure kicks in and they don’t want to be different!! I well remember one day when I had taken he and a friend out for lunch and he begged me to let him have hot chocolate with cream and those little marshmallows on the top. After about 15 minutes – I gave in – he could be very persuasive and voluble at 9 years old!! Within 5 minutes of finishing his drink he was literally bouncing off the walls and ran out into the street and I found him trying to climb the lampost!! He was totally off the wall at that stage and it took a good hour for him to calm down. If ever I needed a reminder of what sugar can do – that was it!! Now he is a teenager and I am no longer in charge of his diet so – he has high sugar intake and as a result, he is moody depressed and angry! All the symptoms as stated above – he cannot focus on one task for more than a couple of minutes – craves b read, cheese and sugar and is so out of balance. This does not have to be his life – but at 19 he must recognise it for himself!