The Autism Revolution

The Autism Revolution is a book I have highlighted before by Martha Herbert. (Harvard Health Publications, 2013)  Her approach to autism treatment encompasses life strategies – I make no apologies for re-creating a short, but extremely enlightening story from her book – thank you Dr  Herbert.

Join your child’s world!  – Judy Endow is an adult with autism – she figures several times in the book.  She is an Educational Consultant.  She worries she will topple over because she can’t feel herself in space.  Her nervous system couldn’t process she had severe pneumonia but could only tell her doctor her feet hurt!  One day she was invited to observe a disruptive young boy in class.  The boy was tapping his foot loudly.  The teacher explained the class needed quiet time to read and asked him to stop politely.  Seconds later he was running round the class.  When chased he giggled and tried to pull away.    The teacher and the class was severely disrupted and the teacher had no further strategies to deal with the boy.  All the teacher could do was to explain his behaviour was inappropriate.  Judy tried a different approach.  She took the boys hand and asked him to jump with her.  After a while she asked if he had had enough – ‘no’ – ‘more’ – Judy continued to jump.  After a few more minutes he was ready to stop, sit quietly and read productively for the duration of the class.  Judy’s advise – if you want to make progress with this boy – stop thinking of his behaviour as bad and instead try to imagine what it is he feels he needs.  What need is he trying to meet with this behaviour?  Judy’s own autism and her training meant she knew that probably this boy had lost his sense of what it felt like to have a body and he was worried he would fall out of his chair.  Foot tapping and running round the room meant he could re-claim his physical sensations.  Jumping with this boy helped him to regain those feelings and he was able to settle down and read quietly – and more importantly learn with his classmates.

In a very simplistic way this might be a tool to support a child with autism when you try to imagine exactly how he or she is feeling at any given time.

Contact me via The Centre for Homeopathic Education if you want to talk about your child and options using homeopathy?

 

The Efficacy of Homeopathy in the Management of ADHD

The following summary is an extract from a paper published in the Biomedical Therapy Journal by Leon Christian Strauss in 2000. (Vol XVIII / No:2).  It looks at the efficacy of a particular homeopathic medicine in the management of ADHD.  The remedy chosen was Selenium Homaccord.  The Study was a double blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial with 20 children (10 on Ritalin and 10 using no conventional medication)  There were 18 boys and 2 girls.   Children and their families were asked not to change anything about their dosages or supplements during the trial period.

Selenium Homaccord was administered over a 2 month period, with 3 evaluations done during the treatment period.  Children completed the ‘Children’s Checking Task’ and parent’s completed the well regarded ‘Conners Parent’s Symptom Questionnaire’.

Statistical analysis showed that Selenium Homaccord was effective in decreasing hyperactivity.  Significant differences was seen in inattention, impulsivity, anxiety and sleep disturbances.  The changes were more wide-spread in the experimental group than the control group.

Currently the management of ADHD involves using strong drugs with no real long term value and which often carry side-effects.  Evidence suggests psychostimulants have value for between 1 and 3 months only! (Reference for this was the Journal of Learning Disabilities) common side-effects are decreased appetite, insomnia, increased heart rate or blood pressure, stomach aches and irritability.  Long term use of psychostimulants may limit growth and weight most likely due to appetite suppression and altered growth hormone levels.

Homeopathic remedies are known to have no or minimal side effects and do not result in dependency.  Selenium Homaccord consisted of selenium in varying potencies (10X, 15X, 30X, 200X) and potassium phosphate in varying potencies ( 2X, 10X, 30X, 200X).Selenium is indicated in the treatment diminished mental capacity, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, depression, exhaustion and poor memory.

This Study was a double blind, placebo controlled trial, without crossover.  Each group of 10 children was randomly divided into 2 groups of 5; a control group and an experimental group.  The treatment period was carried out over a period of 60 days.  Results from the Ritalin and non-Ritalin group showed significant differences.

There was a 23% decrease in in-attention in the control group, but the experimental group showed a 33% improvement.  The hyperactivity / impulsivity category had a positive result of 35.8% in the experimental group and 21.2% in the control group.  Mood stability and conduct problems showed an improvement of 45.5% as compared to 22.1%.  Anxiety is one of the most common causes of attention difficulties and excessive motor activity in children.   Anxiety was also greatly reduced by 55.8% as compared to 3.1%!

An additional benefit to the study was that 6 parents reported that their child was sleeping very much better.  Four of these children fell into the Ritalin group which is relevant as Ritalin is known to disrupt sleep.

The author suggests this Trial would benefit from longer term study in order to evaluate the efficacy of long term homeopathic treatment.  I would also add that if conventional medical trials allowed for the individualised prescribing of homeopathic medicines perhaps the results would be even more encouraging?

The Autism Revolution?

I was reading a very interesting article in the mainstream Sunday papers this week – The Autism Revolution – is a new book by Dr Martha Herbert of Harvard University, who is an acknowledged autism expert.  She is coming to Scotland to speak at the Changing the Course of Autism Conference in the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on the 12 and 13 June  2013.  Her book if you want to read more is published by Ballantine Books and is newly available.

Her premise; autism is a “treatable, whole body condition that has been miscategorised as a lifelong, genetically caused, psychiatric condition”.  She rejects that the brain is “broken” and this is clearly not the case when many, many cases of autistic children in the age of technology show incredible academic feats and achievements.

Good food, good sleep and exercise might make life that simple……..parents of autistic children know how incredibly hard this can be; many are hyperactive and struggle to settle in the evening – and as for a good night’s sleep…….many also have extremely limited diets – the article cites a story of a child in the States who was admitted to hospital with scurvy due the a diet consisting solely of pop tarts and coke.  Many parents will relate to this I am sure?

Herbert’s believes the root of autism is in ‘calcium channels’ which are key to the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body.    A breakdown in these channels can be caused by toxins or genetics or both.  All exposures including what we eat, our water, our clothes and furniture (cleaning materials and fire retardants), even the air we breathe can accumulate and ‘drag us down’.  Herbert believes diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease all fall into the same category.

So what do we do……medically these children are nutritionally deficient; she calls it “nutrient sweating”, they don’t absorb food well.  We need to sort out their gut flora (most also have had numerous antibiotics which are notorious for depleting gut flora), together with often very limited diets and poor sleep quality.  This needs to be put right.

Imagine the story before baby arrives; Mum has a limited diet, perhaps eating a lot of junk food, perhaps unaware she was pregnant initially, perhaps spending time ‘nesting’ and home building; painting walls, sanding floors, purchasing new furnishings etc.    The pattern becomes established.   The precious new baby has numerous assaults on its fragile immune system immediately.

Herbert believes she can eradicate autism for the vast majority!  I think homeopathy can support this process.

My interest in this article is that it simply resonates for me.  I firmly believe a child who eats well, sleeps well and is supported nutritionally can show dramatic improvements.  This is where homeopathy can be invaluable.  Parents of my patients tell me regularly that their child’s sleep has improved, their hyperactivity has lessened, they are better able to concentrate in school and they are willing to try a range of foods.

I for one will be buying Dr Herbert’s book and checking it our for myself – if you have read this or want to comment – i’d love to hear from you?

Thank you Scotland on Sunday for a fascinating read!  (Spectrum, 26 May 2013)

Homeopathic Research for Children with ADHD

Over 28 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs were written in the United States in 2004 alone! By 2008 this had jumped over 39 million!  Hyperactivity and related conditions are American’s number one psychiatric ailment in children.  Ritalin is one of the most common drugs prescribed to these children.  Ritalin (an amphetamine drug), confusingly is a drug which would make those without autism hyperactive seems to help those who suffer from hyperactivity slow down.  Ironically this is the principle of homeopathic medicine (like cures like).  This principle can be seen in in number of conventional drugs like digitalis (for the heart), allergy shots and vaccination.  These drugs are not however ‘homeopathic’ as they are not highly diluted or succussed.  Ritalin can and does provide short term benefits to some children.  It does however not provide long term benefits.

Common side effects of anti-psychotic or psychiatric drugs are restlessness, anxiety, tremors, headaches, allergic reactions, dizziness, abdominal pain, increased blood pressure, heart arrhythmia and hallucinations.  Drugs are also known to reduce children’s appetites, dramatically reduce their height and cause liver dis-function.

Based on this information it makes sense to try homeopathy first!  Homeopathy is safe and inexpensive and although some studies do not show efficacy it surely must be worth trying?

Although more research is warranted it is important to point out that there are many different styles of homeopathy.  So if the style of homeopathy you have tried didn’t help, perhaps another style might?    Each Homeopath has different strengths and finding the match with your child is key!  The example given in this piece from Dana Ullman is that in conventional medicine – if one antibiotic doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean another antibiotic wont be effective.

A Study in Switzerland evaluated 115 children (92 boys and 23 girls), average age 8.3 years with a diagnosis of ADHD / ADD with homeopathy and Ritalin.  After 3 months 75% of the children had responded favourably to homeopathy.  (Frei and Thurneysen 2001)

The children who responded favourably were evaluated on the Conner Global Index (CGI) and achieved a 55% amelioration.  Three children didn’t respond to homeopathy and one left the study.  There was no ‘placebo-controlled’ element to this study so it is unclear if the children benefited from homeopathy directly or the complete ‘package of care’.

Another Study, this time a Double Blind, Randomised, Crossover Study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics  concluded that homeopathy had positive effect in children with ADHD and ADD.  83 Children aged 6 to 16 were treated with individualised homeopathic prescriptions and 62 patients achieved at least 50% improvement on the CGI.  (Frei, Everts, von Ammon et al 2005)

Interestingly, children only met with the homeopath once and follow ups were carried out with parents only.  This strategy highlights effectiveness beyond the ‘package of care’

To conclude, the Cochrane Collaboration, an Internationally respected Group of researchers evaluated and concluded that homeopathic medicines have been shown to be effective in the treatment of children with ADHD and ADD.  They do however state that there is ‘little’ evidence.  The challenge for homeopathy is to carry our further research and to increase and improve research protocols continually.  I think in terms of my own case work and therefore empirical research; homeopathy helps children with ADHD and ADD.  Surely homeopathy is worth trying before giving your child a cocktail of drugs?

Thank you to Dana Ullman and the Huffington Post (2011) – this is an edited version of a much longer piece by a very well respected homeopath who specialises in the care of children with ADHD and Autism.

 

 

The Impossible Cure – Autism and Homeopathy – Part 2

The following account is taken directly from Amy Lansky’s book ‘Impossible Cure’ which she first published in 1998.  My previous post outlines the beginning of this journey for Max and his family – this journey took four years and is a testament to the tenacity of the parents.  This post will document more from Amy’s book.  Please do get in touch via my Homeopathy Clinic if you want to know more.

Amy and her husband were scientists and therefore naturally sceptical about homeopathy however they were able to conduct their own tests to plot changes in Max’s behaviour and speech.  Homeopathy in Amy’s words is natural and graceful and the patients’ seem to get better almost by themselves.  Homeopathy and the correct matching remedy enables the body to heal itself – it doesn’t ‘do’ something to the body which forces a chemical change; homeopathy is gentle and effective.

Six months after taking a daily dose of his remedy Max continued to improve in his ability to speak and to understand language.  His social awareness improved however his inner restlessness and his social distances remained.  Osteopathy at this time seemed to unlock the social distances.   Max was then able to move to a more socially oriented nursery setting.  After a year of homeopathic treatment Max was now academically above his peers but still socially immature.  Max functioned extremely well and was taken off ‘special education’.  His story does not end here though as Max often regressed when ill or in times of stress.  He deteriorated considerably after vaccinations at the age of 5; the family returned  to homeopathy and his first remedy was once again indicated.  Max took this for another 8 months and again changed potency about once a month.

The family now knew when to stop taking the remedy as the first time after a year Max began to consistenty aggravate on the remedy; and better when he stopped. The second time after 8 months of improvement it stopped and Max ‘aggravated’ on his remedy. As soon as it was discontinued he jumped again in another stage of long term  improvement.  Homeopathy is an ongoing process and Max no longer takes his remedy, however just like the rest of his family he has regular visits to his homeoapth.  None of us are static and we all need remedies now and then for minor ailments and emotional issues as they crop up.  By Autumn of 1997 Max entered school and has done well academically and socially.  He is open hearted and sensitive, he enjoys laughter, drawing and art, he plays computer games, he enjoys reading fantasy and science fiction.  He attends tennis and piano lessons and shows resilience at summer camps.  Interestingly the school were not told of Max’s history until he experienced some episodes of auditory processing.  Hi missed some elements of instructions and tried to cover this up.  Homeopathy again was used successfully to move past this hurdle and his teacher no longer reports this issue.

Amy sees Max’s ‘cure’ as a miracle.  She is however realistic about ups and downs which occur.  Autism is a serious problem and overcoming such serious problems takes time and is very definitely a process.  Max was lucky and his first remedy was a great match.  Not all children will take such a path.  Progress is often much more of a zig zag route; with aggravations to deal with and modifications to the potency to make along the way.  It is important to note that part of the prescription is to include some very personal symptoms and the homeopath needs to know this kind of information to correctly prescribe.  This relationship has to grow between the patient, his or her family and the homeopath.  Contact me via the Heather Clinic if you would like to know more – and why not check out Amy’s book!

Impossible Cure 2003 Amy L Lansky PhD RL Ranch Press, California

 

The Impossible Cure – Autism and Homeopathy!

My first introduction to autism as I have already outlined was as a student homeopath.  The child’s mother was a fan of Amy Lansky and encouraged me to read her book; Impossible Cure.  This was the begining of my journey and a very accessible text if you would like to read more about homeopathy.  Lanksy was a research scientist working for NASA in California when her young son Max began displaying symptoms of autism.  Her enthusiasm for homeopathic treatments grew as Max recovered.  She left her career and trainined as a homeopath.   She has been instrumental in ensuring homeopathy is now accessible (and legal) in California .  The Lansky family use homeopathy now as a first line treatment for all the family and believe they are all healthier than they have been in years.  Conventional treatments being only appropriate in life threatening or critical situations.

Amy Lansky’s son is called Max – she realised at around 2 (1994) that Max was different. He didn’t seem to  understand language and he seemed to be drifting away from the family.  On some levels Max was extremely talented and could manage intricate puzzles, he loved music and could dance rhythmically but he prefered to be alone and didn’t join in with family time or play with other children at nursery.  His teachers suspected autism due to his repetitive behaviours and his ‘spinning in a circle’, his lack of eye contact and his solitary play.    Lansky took action; she met with a speech therapist and started to ‘read up’ on autism.  The first thing was to eliminate Max’s love and addiction to milk – he drank about 8 bottles each day.  The improvement was dramatic; he began to talk and was clearly more present.  The second step was to eliminate artificial food colourings from his diet.  Lansky examined both Max’s nursery education and the family dynamic.  His nursery was play-centred but not great for a solitary boy – Max was moved to a Montessori Nursery which actively encouraged Max to work alone.  He could not interact with the other children but he could accomplish other tasks.  This school saw Max as ‘quiet’ and not as ‘disabled’.  In terms of the family dynamic Lansky knew deeply that she had a ‘feeling of rejection’ towards Max in his current state.  She knew she must cultivate a deep state of unconditional acceptance for her son and a more positive state of mind in which to search for his cure.

That cure came about when she read about homeopathy.  Homeopathy seeks to find the ‘individual’ in a set of symptoms.  Max was clearly displaying autistic symptoms but none of these were unique or ‘peculiar’ to the individual.  The example given is of asthma; nearly everyone will have difficulty breathing together with some level of anxiety about their condition but when individual symptoms are added to the picture these can be linked to specific remedies and lead to curative states and not palliative care.

The individual symptoms that made Max stand out were his deep love of milk, together with the fact that it clearly aggravated his condition; his love of dance, his sweaty head when sleeping and his prefered sleep position; (on his back with his hands on top of his head), his restlessness and his intensity.  Homeopathy also considers the family history on both sides which included diabetes, cancer and schrizophrenia.  Max was also a stubborn perfectionist and this was displayed to the homeopath in the consultantion when he became upset that he couldn’t write ‘Mom’ successfully as he wanted to.  This ‘remedy picture’ is ‘carcinosin’.  This remedy matched the symptom profile of Max most clearly.

Carsinosin also has a blueish colour in the whites of the eyes; especially in children, often there are dark moles or dark freckles, a craving for butter, salt and spicy foods, a love of animals and being particularly sensitive to reprimand – amongst other things.

Two days after Max started on his remedy his family began to notice change; his speech therapist noticed change; Max was more socially aware, his speech improved, he used new words and phrases and spoke more fluidly.   Max was also now able to follow more than one command consecutively.  The improvements continued as the family daily gave Max  each ‘potency’ of the remedy in turn.  Towards the end of the month the improvements would drop off and the homeopath would duly increase the potency.  Usually when a new potency was started Max would ‘aggravate’; his hyperactivity would increase for a few days (usually 3-5) but was followed by a jump in verbal, cognitive and social ability.  Max was also more contained and relaxed.

Amy Lansky first  published Max’s cure in 1998 – this journey took four years and is a testament to the tenacity of the parents.  I will document more from Amy’s book and the outcomes for Max next month.  Please do get in touch via my Homeopathy Clinic if you want to know more.

Impossible Cure 2003 Amy L Lansky PhD RL Ranch Press, California

Allergy, Diet and Autism Spectrum Disorders

I previously highlighted supplements which have been known to produce encouraging results in children on the autism spectrum.  Of course the cost of these supplements can be daunting and asking an often fussy child to swallow lots of tablets and capsules is often difficult or impossible!  I thought it might be useful to highlight a typical (good) day’s diet.

First up – eat regularly – and try to make sure food is natural – can you recognise how it was grown / produced?

Breakfast – yogurt – add safflower oil, linseed oil, and wheat germ flakes

eat fruit in the morning (CEASE practitioners adviced no bananas)

Use seasonal vegatables, use coconut oil for cooking and baking – stick to real butter – encourage salad or stir fried vegetables

Milk is fine – but wait for one hour after eating a hot meal, drink fruit juices with as little sugar as possible – avoid aspartame in ‘sugar free’ drinks – drink lots of water – try your children with a variety of herbal /fruit teas – let them cool and you might be really surprised?

Marilyn Le Breton writes an interesting book ‘Diet Intervention and Autism’ – she advocates a gluten, casein, monosodium glutamate and aspartame free diet.  Her theory is based around the ‘opiod excess theory’ – and she opens her book with ‘my son’s a drug adddict’.  It would be relevant to point out that not all children need or would benefit from a restricted diet – often autistic children restrict their own diet themselves.  However it is worth highlighting her key point –  gluten breaks down into the peptide ‘gluteomorphine’ and the milk protein casein breaks down into ‘caseomorphine’.  This morphine like substance cannot be broken down by some children.  Le Breton said her son was ‘high’ – living in his own world, lack of eye contact, sensory problems and bizarre behaviours.  Her child also had a total lack of any sense of danger; a problem I have encountered before.  When you take away foods from an already restricted diet the child is likely to scream the house down; Le Breton attributes this to ‘withdrawal’ and ‘pain’.  Her child behaved like a heroin addict!

Those who are at the highest risk for allergy induced autism are children who have regressive autism – that is, those children who develop normally and start regressing at around the age of two years – and children with behavioral and neurological problems in combination with extreme digestive issues.

Due to this improper digestive functioning, these children are also incapable of eliminating many of the chemicals within their environment and their food. These can include pesticides, pollution, detergent additives, artificial colorings and flavorings, chemical food additives, and other substances that can become toxic when built up to unusually high quantities. Hence Le Breton’s addition of MSG and aspartame to her elimination diet.  Detoxing these highlightedchemicals from a child after undertaking an elimination diet would almost certainly benefit from the CEASE Therapy protocol.

 

 

 

 

CEASE Therapy for ADHD and Autism

CEASE Therapy was developed in Holland by the late Tinus Smits.  His overarching principle was to ‘cure’ autistic children.  He published hundreds of cases of children who showed great improvement in attention, aggression, sleeplessness, agitation and so on.  Many were able to (for the first time) attend main stream schools.  Unfortunately he died while his treatment protocols were in their infancy.  Two of his long term staff and his son have since gone on to further develop and improve on his work.  The results are decumented in hundreds of live video cases.  The treatment involves using ‘Inspiring’ homeopathy and a form of ‘Isopathy’; which uses homeopathic preparations to detox the body of possible ‘obstacles to cure’.  These ‘obstacles’ stress the child who has a genetic predisposition to ADHD or autism.  If your child was born ‘normally’ but later developed symptoms of autism – what do you think were the causative factors?  Was your child born autistic; perhaps a traumatic birth was the stressor for your child?  The CEASE organisation has gathered cases from around the world which suggest that ‘layers’ of toxic overload on an already vulnerable child contribute to autism.  These layers include hormones; clomid, IVF drugs, prednisone, contraceptive pill, marina coil.  Chemicals also create another layer; plastics, paints, vapours, and all those fire retardants on carpets and furniture for example.  Vaccinations have also been suggested controversially by parents, including tropical vaccines.  Medication can create another layer; one case showed a clear example of detoxing a mother’s nasal spray on the child made an enormous difference.  This group would also include pain killers and antibiotics.  Heavy metal toxicity, previous drug use by parents and aetiology of never quite recovering from illness; Epstein Barr, scarlet fever, mumps etc.

The vulnerable child with the developing immune system has much to fight.  Recent news reports here in Scotland suggest 50,000 Scots have autism (24/10/12).  There numbers are growing at a terrific rate!

I have recently qualified as a CEASE Practitioner and feel very excited about the future of this protocol.  There is an wide network throughout the world and support is available.  Do you want to know more?  Please get in touch or check out the CEASE web site at www.cease-therapy.com

Natural Alternatives and Solutions for ADHD and Autism

Each child with ADHD or Autism spectrum disorder will be unique.  This is the cornerstone of my approach and each treatment plan is totally child specific.  There are wonderful case studies available of children with specific issues and nutritional deficiencies but they are not necessarily the solution for your child or your family.  Of course many children will refuse changes in food and often have a limited diet.  If you’ve read my last post and are keen to explore more natural alternatives to the drug cocktail on offer then there are some basic nutritional options which may be very useful.

Regular meals and snacks which are low in refined carbs and whole food rich are essential to stable blood sugar and healthy brain function.

Essential fatty acids promote good brain function; salmon, sardines, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds – why not add some ground flax seeds to breakfast cereals?

Many parents will have read about the artificial food additives, colours and preservatives which have been highlighted as increasing hyperactivity; these include sunset yellow, carmoisine, tartrazine, E104, E129, and sodium benzoate.  Quality six week trials published in The Lancet (2007) highlighted reduced hyperactivity in the non-placebo group of children.  The quantity given was equivelant to one or two sweets daily or childrens’ soft drinks.  Cutting them out just might make a huge difference?  This is easier said than done I realise and would need support from parents and carers to achieve a disciplined and holistic treatment.

Try fish oils – they can have an positive effect on mood and focus; high doses of omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to affect behaviour, inattention, hyperactivity and defiance.  The Nutritional Journal published a study using 8-16grams daily with ‘significant improvement’ rated by parents and psychiatrists.  Buy a good quality supplement and look for EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The suggested dose for use at home is 2,000 mg of compined EPA and DHA daily.   Another study saw significant changes from baseline in 7 out of 14 scales for active treatment.  Cognitive problems and general behaviour improved significantly. (research at Oxford University on 41 children).

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid and a normal component of brain cells.  21 children with ADHD aged between 4 and 19 were given 300mg daily and more than 90% found significant benefit over 4 months.  The greatest improvement was in learning and attention.

Zinc is often deficient in children with ADHD; in trials over 12 weeks zinc reduced symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impaired socialisation.  It was most useful in those diagnosed with a zinc deficiency.  Children under 5 should try 10-15mg daily and older children between 50-150mg daily. Look for a supplement with a little bit of copper in the ingredient list.  Take care though – too much will upset the stomach!

An amino-acid like substance called L-Carnitine has been shown in trials to significantly reduce attention problems and aggression in boys. Try 100mg per kilo of body weight.

Calcium and Magnesium can both have a relaxing effect on the nervous system.  Children with low levels of magnesium can benefit from supplementation; try 500mg of calcium and 200mg of magnesium daily.  Great for hyperactivity!

If you would like to know more about these supplements and the trials mentioned – send me a comment or email me directly at mail@autismandhomeopathy.co.uk and I pass on the references – all information from Balch, Stengler and Young Balch (2008)

Combining these supplements if appropriate with a well chosen homeopathic remedy has been shown to offer significant benefit to children.  Barry was 11 and struggling with impulsivity, inattention and restlessness.  Following some dietary changes, supplementation as outlined above and a well chosen homeopathic non-toxic prescription Barry dramatically improved over the course of two months.

 

ADHD Drugs – recorded side effects

There are three major classes of conventional drugs used to treat ADHD and these include stimulants, non-stimulants and antidepressants.  As a homeopath my approach is to offer safe homeopathic treatment protocols only, advice on food allergies or sensitivites and perhaps relevant supplements.  However the conventional drugs offered, I believe are worth highlighting in order to make sure your choices are informed choices. Here goes……

The stimulants group, of which Ritalin is part includes Concerta, Metadate, Cylert, Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) and Adderall (mixed amphetamine).  These drugs work on the Central Nervous System (CNS) to balance neurotransmitters in the brain.  Although stimulating they tend to have a calming effect on children with ADHD.  There aim to improve focus, attention and decrease distractions.

Unfortunately these potential benefits come with a price tag; loss of appetite, poor sleep, dry mouth, weight loss, stomach ache, head ache, lethargy, angina and mood changes.  In higher doses paranoid psychotic reactions have been recorded.  In typical doses blood pressure is elevated and heart rates may increase.

Although studies suggest about 70% of children may be ‘helped’, American labelling for the last 5 years has legally been obliged to carry health warnings for use in ADHD.  Heart related problems, increased risk of stroke, heart attacks, risk of sudden death in children, moreover these drugs may trigger psychotic episodes or exacerbate negative behaviours.  Suppressed growth is also a major concern.

The non-stimulants group is simply atomoxetine (Strattera).  This drug works by increasing brain chemicals and is a ‘selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor’. (SNRI)  It is thought to increase attention and control hyperactivity.

Strattera is said to be effective in children by reducing impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention.  This drug is not well tested over longer term.  Studies cover simply a few weeks use. No other drugs in this category have been approved.

Unfortunately this category too has many common side effects; loss of appetite, drowsines, headache, stomach ache,nausea, vomitting, dizzyness, dry mouth, agitation, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty sleeping, sexual dysfunction, irritability and problems with urination…..whew!

The key warning with Strattera is suicidal thoughts and actions in some children and teenagers, psychotic and or manic symptoms – hearing voices, heart related problems (heart attacks and strokes) and liver problems.  Retarded growth in children has also been recorded.

The anti-depressant group approved for ADHD include imipramine (Tofranil, Janimine) and desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane).  Many others are used for ADHD but not necessarily approved and include; bupropion (Wellbutrin), reboxetine (Edronax), and venlafaxine (Effexor).  Antipedressants are usually prescribed for those suffering from depression and ADHD or when stimulants are not working.  They are believed to work by increasing neurotransmitters; seretonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.  It is believed that these neurotransmitters are low in the brain of the ADHD patient.  Wellbutrin is less well known.

Some of these tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s) are used to treat moderate depression but include such side effects as blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, impaired sexual function and weight gain.  Low blood pressure and glaucoma are the major causes of concern.  Wellbutrin is recognised as an atypical antidepressant which acts like TCA’s and also SSRI’s.  The side effects are similar to those listed for TCA’s.  However major cautions are also added which include suicidal thoughts, manic episodes, hallucinations or seizures.

Of course there are issues about mixing these drugs with others, nutritional depletion and interactions with certain food supplements.  Many ADHD sufferers also take a variety of food supplements.  My information is not complete but does offer a flavour of conventional drug therapy. All the above material has been sourced from Balch, Stengler, and Young Balch (2008). Prescription for Drug Alternatives which was published in New Jersey, USA.  Next time I will outline their options for a drug free alternative!  Thank you for your clear and consise textbook.