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If your child is diagnosed with ADHD what do you do next? This is the most common diagnosis given to children in this country today. The AACAP (American Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) estimates that among grade school children 5% of girls and 10% of boys suffer from this disorder. The United States has roughly 5 % of the world's population yet we consume 90% of all the Ritalin produced in it. Even more concerning is the age of children being put on these drugs. In children under the age of 5 prescriptions for these stimulants increased an astonishing 107% for girls and 78% for boys between 1991 and 1995. While these drugs have been shown to help 60% to 75% of children put on them people are getting very concerned about the side effects these drugs have on their children. The most common medications prescribed for ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall. These drugs are known as psychostimulants. While many children taking these drugs experience improved focus better grades in school and generally feel better about themselves they do come with side effects. These include insomnia, weight loss, abdominal pain, headaches and depression. In 2007 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings of side effects like stunted growth and psychiatric problems. So it is not surprising that parents are looking for alternative therapies. We have listed a few natural ways that you can treat this condition. GET YOUR CHILD INTO A ROUTINE Children with ADHD have a natural tendency toward chaos. They find new activities and adventures appealing. The fact is that they are balanced by the exact opposite. You want to create a nurturing environment for them. Creating a set time to do homework, eat meals, exercise and go to bed each day provides them with this. MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD HAS A HEALTHY DIET At this time the current medical standing is that there is no link between food and ADHD. This is stark contrast to numerous studies that suggest the opposite which have been done over the last two decades. Many parents have reported that hyperactivity is reduced in as little as eight weeks when they limit consumption of sugar, foods with chemical additives and refined foods in their children's diets. They claim their child is more focused and less disruptive when given a diet high in whole grains and vegetables with a controlled amount of protein. In light of the current problem with childhood obesity this choice of a more healthy diet can help with weight control also. NATURAL HERBS There are a number of herbs that are known to calm the nervous system. Some of these include St. Johns Wort, skullcap, hops, passion flower and lemon balm to name a few. These can be taken safely as long as you remember that a child's dose should be one forth to one half of the adult dose that is recommended by the manufacturer. TAKE A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY We all know how much time our children spend on computers, cell phones, and watching television each day. This constant exposure to electronic stimulation does two things. It fragments their attention span and exposes them to unhealthy levels of EMR (electromagnetic radiation). When a child is sensitive to EMR it can cause agitation to the nervous system. Some of the side effects from this are memory and attention problems, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, dizziness and headaches. It is suggested that you limit exposure to one hour per day. In conclusion, you need to work with your child. They need to feel loved and part of this new routine. Suggest that he or she have a nutritional snack instead of a sugary one. Or playtime includes the new remote control car they have instead of a computer game. By doing this you and your child will be much happier in the long run.
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