Does your child find it difficult to stay focused and remain on task throughout the day, or frequently forget and overlook important details? If so, they may be suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many children and young adults are affected by these mental disorders and it seems like that number is increasing. Approximately 9% of children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the numbers diagnosed have increased 43% over the past decade. This chronic condition can cause lifelong difficulty by inhibiting learning, disrupting social skills, and promoting anxiety and stress. To effectively treat, we must have a strong understanding of its processes, contributing factors and causes.
What is ADD/ADHD?
Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest genetics plays a large role. ADHD probably results from a combination of factors including genetics, environmental, and chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters. Regardless of cause, ADD and ADHD cause various forms of dysfunction that can make everyday life difficult.
ADHD symptoms vary from patient to patient, depending on the specific cause of the disorder. However, people with ADHD may experience:
- Behavioral: aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint
- Cognitive: difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, problems paying attention, short attention span
- Mood: anger, anxiety, boredom, excitement, mood changes
- Common: conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, developmental disorder, depression, substance abuse, intellectual disability, coordination problems, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder
We Can Help!
Here at Holtorf Medical Group, we are dedicated to helping our patients uncover a variety of potential factors influencing ADD and ADHD. Effectively identifying contributing factors lets us optimize treatment for these chronic disorders. There are many areas that can influence the development and perpetuation of ADHD and we want to help you recognize and improve them!
What Can Contribute to ADD/ADHD
Poor Thyroid Function:
Studies have found that those with thyroid disorders may have ADHD and vice versa. In the case of hypothyroidism (slow thyroid function), patients often experience brain fog, memory loss, depression, and difficulty maintaining focus. Alternatively, hyperthyroidism (increased thyroid function) can cause excitability, anxiety, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. These symptoms should look familiar as they are similar to those associated with ADHD.
Heavy Metals and Environmental Toxins:
Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins can cause disruption throughout the body, specifically in the brain. Lead, mercury and aluminum exposures are good examples. Unfortunately, the risk of exposure to metals and other toxins is quite high, and common in personal care products, household items and pesticides.
For the brain to work correctly, its various regions must be able to interact and communicate with one another. This is facilitated through neural circuits and neurotransmitters. Neurons produce specific neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, to relay information. If there are abnormal levels of these or other chemicals involved in the process, problems may develop.
Diet choices and intake of various vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids can influence many factors related to ADHD and its associated symptoms. Other potential food-related concerns include preservatives, pesticides, and dyes.
How are the Contributing Factors of ADD/ADHD Diagnosed?
Currently, there are no standard method for identifying the causes of ADHD. Commonly, screening questionnaires are given to parents and patients and testing can be done by behavioral therapists. However, there are other laboratory tests and methods to assess contributory factors. Data and results can be used to create an individualized treatment plan.
The ALCAT Test can be used to discover substances that may trigger ADHD promoting factors such as inflammation, gastrointestinal issues and metabolic disorders. By identifying potential triggers and subsequently avoiding them, a person may be able to reduce ADHD symptoms and improve treatment. The ALCAT Test works by sampling a patient’s blood and has the ability to assess sensitivity to over 450 substances. This makes it easier to create patient-specific nutrition plans to avoid sensitivities and allergens.
NeuroLab provides an in-depth analysis of biomarkers associated with the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis and neuroendocrine system. The Sanesco test focuses on the interaction between neurotransmitters and the HPA axis. Some of the biomarkers and neurotransmitters assessed by NeuroLab include:
- GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)
Identifying dysfunction or deficiency in any of these areas can help your doctor narrow down possible contributors of ADHD and assist in treatment.
The OligoScan accurately and instantly tests for intra-tissue mineral and toxic metals in the body. This makes it easier to identify toxins that can inhibit neurological function and damage the HPA axis. The results can be used to craft an effective treatment approach to eliminate toxins and resolve mineral deficiencies that contribute to ADHD.
How Can You Help Treat the Contributing Factors of ADD/ADHD?
Ideally, treating ADD/ADHD involves a comprehensive individualized approach. If you have not been diagnosed yet, or already on prescriptions from another provider and/or counseling, we can help. Our hope would be to start or expand therapies by looking at other factors and causes, order additional testing if needed, and recommend additional therapies that may help and improve current symptoms.
Providing additional support in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids can help support neurotransmitters, enhance brain function, stabilize and help mood, improve sleep, help think more clearly and improve energy.
- Amino Acids such as L-Cysteine to increase Glutathione
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil
Heavy metals and other environmental toxins can cause significant harm to neurological function which may affect ADHD. Completing heavy metal detox through supplementation and/or medication can help prevent neurological and hormonal imbalances.
Maintaining an appropriate level of beneficial gut bacteria is an important part of gut health which can influence mood, neurological function and the immune system. One of the best ways to keep healthy gut bacteria balance is through the use of quality, multi-strain probiotics.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that can help improve symptoms and disorders common with ADHD. Selank is a synthetic derivative of as peptide naturally produced in the body. It has a powerful effect on the central nervous system and is frequently used to treat depression, anxiety and stress. It is also recognized for its ability to improve cognition, memory, learning and attentiveness. Semax is another compounded peptide that is regularly used to treat cognitive disorders and neuronal issues similar to those experienced by individuals with ADHD. Both Selank and Semax may be considered in treatment of ADHD.
Uncovering the Contributing Factors
If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms consistent with ADHD or has been diagnosed with ADHD and not responding to treatment, be sure to consider all of the potential contributors and utilize the multiple testing and treatments options available. Call us today at 877-508-1177 and schedule an appointment with one of our physicians who treats these pediatric disorders.