Dealing With ADHD

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

There is substantial evidence to support the view that TV viewing can promote aggressiveness in children. Yet, by way of a paradox, TV viewing may also be beneficial. TV and computer/video games connect children to society, and to deprive your child of access to what other children are engaged in, puts them at a disadvantage when they go to school, or play with friends, and hear them discussing TV shows, or video games, they have never seen.

So, what is the remedy? Psychologists suggest that you limit rather than eliminate your children’s TV watching and video game play. One hour a day during the school week, and not more than two hours on weekends, would be a reasonable goal for TV watching. In addition, you should, they suggest, eliminate violent programmes from your child’s TV and computer/video game schedule as much as possible. If you want to watch it, or your child wants to do likewise, sit with them and watch it together, and explain your feelings, while listening to your child’s reasons for preferring this type of programme.

Don’t Take Stands 

You could, as a parent, do much better by not taking stands. Just allow your child to indulge in ‘self-talk.’ Example: ‘Easy does it,’ ‘Keep Cool.’ ‘Behave well,’ ‘Relax’ etc., You wouldn’t believe it. Self-talk represents a process where an individual develops key phrases that can guide them through a complex task, or difficult situation. It is also a problem-solving strategy — one that can be used to help a child form a more positive image of oneself as a learner. Ultimately, self-talk could make a difference in how your child thinks about oneself.

Alternatively, you’d also find out what interests your child, and promote a strong physical programme. You need not be a psychologist to discover your child’s personal learning style. The best way to doing it is by providing your child with the opportunity to learn what they do best. You could, with effect, use good background music to focus and calm your ‘hypersensitive’ [ADHD] child. But, remember that the music you use is soft and soothing — not something that is too noisy, or loud.

Research suggests some of the great Western classical pieces for children: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for example. Maybe, you could add Indian classical, or light, music to the list. Yet another time-tested idea is: ask your child to visualise by focusing on a special place in nature, favourite colour, toy, sport or movie hero, or a film. It will have a calming effect. Also, don’t you forget to remove allergens from your child’s diet.  The reason is simple. ‘What may be eating your child could be what your child is eating.’ Think. Have patience. Give adequate time to your child’s difficult behaviour, and more.

You’d add on — and, include the following [parental] pointers for better results too:

  • Enhance your child’s self-esteem
  • Find your child’s best times of alertness
  • Provide a variety of stimulating learning activities, like reading, drawing, painting etc.,
  • Teach your child positive aspirations
  • Provide positive role models
  • Provide hands-on activities
  • Help your child with organisational skills
  • Help your child to appreciate the value of personal effort
  • Teach your child focusing techniques: for example, simple breathing exercises, and meditation
  • Give your child choices
  • Establish consistent rules, routines, and transitions — including sitting and having dinner every evening together
  • Hold family meetings
  • Hold a positive image of your child
  • Most importantly, always give rewards after your child has finished doing a [good] job — never before.

Besides, you could also use ‘hope magnets.’ Here goes, by courtesy of Dr Thomas Armstrong, PhD, the noted American psychologist and author of The Myth of the ADD Child

Instead of thinking of your child as…     Think of them as…
Hyperactive     Energetic
Impulsive     Spontaneous
Distractible     Creative
Daydreamer     Imaginative
Inattentive     Global thinker with a wide focus
Unpredictable     Flexible
Argumentative     Independent
Stubborn     Committed
Irritable     Sensitive
Aggressive     Assertive
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disordered     Unique.

Go For Balance

If you could only achieve such an ‘equation,’ or ‘balance,’ half of the battle could be won. Easily. For your good and your child’s good. And, you’ll be more than happy with yourself and your kid. But, it isn’t all too easy, though. Because, the ‘linkage’ is not just a ‘balance-wheel’ of convenience related to control, or environment. It has got to it something more than conventional wisdom — a channel for promoting skills rather than powerful conventional medications, or drugs.

As Dr Armstrong puts it so succinctly: “Remember that a hyperactive child is an alive child. The energies that many kids labelled ADHD possess, represent a valuable natural resource that, when properly channelled, can really make a difference in the world.”

Maybe, you’d recall an old paradigm, a simile: an allegory, that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a great thinker, had visualised, long before one could have conjured a whole, new field entirely devoted to the study of the human mind. Goethe said: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being.” It holds good for ADHD kids.

Now, the big question: are parents, teachers, and others, including doctors, listening, and willing, as it were, to taking the ‘bull’ by its horns — with a little help from safe, sweet, little homeopathic pills too, which are useful in treating ADHD kids?

Homeopathy: Clinical Evidence

  • A study, conducted in Switzerland, followed a group of children who were carefully diagnosed with a number of screening processes to verify the diagnosis of ADHD, while excluding other diagnoses. The study, published in The European Journal of Pediatrics, involved three phases. First, the children were treated with a constitutional homeopathic medicine individualised to their case. Only those children who improved by at least 50 per cent on ‘ADHD rating scale’ were included in the second phase of the study, with a placebo [dummy pill] group. Subsequently, the children were treated with their homeopathic remedy. The progress under homeopathic treatment was assessed with parents at intervals of four weeks. After a period of observation, children eligible for the final phase of the study were randomly assigned to either receive the appropriate homeopathic medicine, or placebo. Next, the groups were switched and treated with homeopathic medicines and compared accordingly, in terms of response. The study results showed that children did not improve while taking the placebo, but continued to improve while taking the homeopathic remedy.
  • A randomised placebo-controlled single-blind pilot study published in The Indian Journal of Research in Homeopathy showed that individualised homeopathic treatment of children with ADHD is beneficial. A total of 61 patients aged 6-15 diagnosed with ADHD [homeopathy = 30; placebo = 31] were randomised to receive either individualised homeopathic medicine in fifty millesimal [LM] potency, or placebo, for a period of one year. All patients in the homeopathy group showed better outcomes. The authors concluded that the pilot study provided evidence to support the therapeutic effects of individualised homoeopathic remedies in ADHD-affected children. However, the results, they observe, ought to be further validated at multi-centre randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials — for much better treatment outcomes.

Nutrition

What your kid eats, or does not eat, may be important. When a range of foods is restricted in one’s diet, children and young people may benefit from an age-appropriate over-the-counter [OTC] vitamin and mineral supplement to avoid deficiencies. Several students highlight that deficiencies of nutrients, especially iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 [pyridoxine], are linked with ADHD symptoms. It has, therefore, been proposed that addressing such deficiencies may help to reduce ADHD symptoms and/or its severity. One research study has focused on the contribution of iron and zinc supplementation in ADHD, among children and adolescents. It has demonstrated that low zinc and iron levels were associated with impaired attention capacity and increased hyperactivity, while highlighting a pathway mediated by the dopaminergic system. In the study, zinc supplementation was observed to consistently improve ADHD symptoms.

  • Granero R, “Role of Nutrition and Diet on Healthy Mental State.” Nutrients, 2022, 14[4], pg 750.
Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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