First: Are US Kids Worse Off?
11% of US children have an ADHD diagnosis. In France, the prevalence of an ADHD diagnosis is 0.5%. Part of this spread has to do with the US health care system's practice of readily pathologizing children's behaviors. Many behaviors may just be normal developmental variations or reflect behaviors brought on by stress, trauma, learning style issues, chaotic family situations, inadequate educational environments, or suboptimal lifestyle practices.
Kids Are Not to Blame
There are many reasons for the difference in ADHD rates between kids in the US and France. One key reason has to do with the US mental health care system.
Over the past few decades, psychiatry has become more biologically-based causing pharmaceutical companies and the field of psychiatry to focus almost exclusively on the "neurotransmitter deficiency model" of mental illness. For example, biologically based studies on ADHD...
Many families are looking for more natural options to manage ADHD and attention issues (e.g., distractibility, impulsive behavior, disruptive behavior, restlessness, and hyperactivity). ATTEND is a pneumonic device to remember the six key strategies to consider.
Some studies suggest that ADHD symptoms may represent a dysregulation of the internal 24-hour clock (aka circadian rhythm), which controls the balance of alertness and drowsiness of our brain throughout the day and night. Over 55% of people with ADHD have sleep disturbances. Sleep is foundational for good attention and emotional regulation. Be sure to receive the appropriate amount of sleep each night. For example, kids and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
Mind-body skills can be very...
The percentage of people in the US suffering from depression, anxiety, and poor focus/memory are historically high and increasing by more than 10% each decade. The rise is even faster among adolescents. If you are struggling with one of these common mental health problems, you are most definitely not alone!
Antidepressant medications still form the mainstay of treatment for depression and anxiety, while stimulants are the primary treatment for ADD. Consumers and professionals alike are realizing the limitations of conventional treatments and desperately looking for more natural, safe yet effective alternatives.
There is no unified theory explaining the epidemic of disorders, either in the...
By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.
Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.
I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...
The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...
There is sparse evidence that CBD oil can improve the core symptoms of ADHD, and the evidence that exists is mostly anecdotal. Nonetheless, that isn’t stopping patients from trying it.
The current concern is that consumer/patient use has sped past scientific evidence for use and regulation on product quality. That means long-term effects are virtually unknown and snake-oil companies continue to pop up with CBD products that are not pure.
An article in ADDitude magazine summarized this:
“During [a person’s] development, I worry about cannabinoids, both CBD and THC,” says UCLA’s Evans. “There are adenosine receptors (and CB2 receptors) on the microglia that are critical for brain development, and CBD inhibits adenosine uptake. This may be a beneficial factor for epilepsy and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but who knows for ADHD.”
I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies.
A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:
Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.
No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits.
Some of the...
Many of the same brain regions that regulate sleep and arousal also control attention. You've likely felt that firsthand when trying to focus on a task after a rough night of [no] sleep. It's a losing battle.
The relationship between ADHD and sleep is becoming more clear as new research has identified that:
Though not always done in usual care, it's vital that sleep issues are explored in any child, teen, or adult with complaints of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. If you're a patient or parent who can relate, don't be shy to bring up the topic of sleep with your...
200-Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher
*If a posture feels painful, find another position to better suit your body's needs.
Spread your knees as wide as the mat, bring your big toes to touch. Reach your arms out far in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat. Let gravity guide your hips towards your heals.
Optional: You can bring a...
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan
Nutrition can be quite confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. Focus on eating a wide variety of whole plant foods and don’t worry about being perfect. The latter advice is key, especially when transitioning from a processed food- or animal product-laden diet to a more health-promoting, plant-based diet--keep yourself successful by celebrating your journey and your progress rather than your perfection. Just as Dr. Henry Emmons recommends to acknowledge your moments of happiness amplify your joy, I can strongly attest to that same principle applying towards acknowledging your feelings of success and pride in your progress.
I believe knowledge is empowerment, and that is no less true for nutrition. Let’s briefly dive into the what and why behind eating plants and provide you with the best scientific resources to make you feel confident on your journey to eating...
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