The Center for Unhindered Living
Causes of ADD/ADHD


In my last article, "Are ADD and ADHD Real?" I mentioned that ADD and ADHD are psychiatric diagnoses.  Most people are unaware that the real causes of these conditions are often medical, and sometimes psychological if they result from pent-up feelings that the child has not been allowed to freely express through crying or raging.

The pre-frontal lobe of the brain is the control center of the brain, the "chaperone" if you will.  If you were holding a dance for a bunch of kids, you would need a chaperone there to make sure that their behavior stayed within normal bounds.  The pre-frontal lobe provides this kind of chaperone-like control over a child's behavior.  In children who exhibit symptoms of ADD or ADHD, this control center is asleep.  This is why Ritalin, a stimulant, serves to calm these children down.  The stimulant wakes up the control center, so it can once again watch over the behavior of the child.

What can cause this part of the brain to fall asleep?

First of all, in order for neurotransmitters to be made, there must be the proper nutrients.  So having the proper diet is vital.

The #1 trigger for ADD or ADHD symptoms are food allergies.  This means the child's food is not breaking down properly in the intestinal tract, large particles of food pass through the intestinal wall into the blood stream, the immune system produces antibodies to destroy that particular food, and thereafter there is an immune system response which is triggered every time the child eats that particular food.  This can make them unable to concentrate, unable to think clearly, and puts the contol center to sleep in some kids.  The cure?  Repair the breakdown in the intestinal walls, and facilitate proper digestion of food.

The #2 trigger is heavy metals.  1 out of every 7 kids with ADHD has elevated levels of lead in the blood and brain.  The cure?  Find out where the lead is coming from (probably lead pipes or paint in older homes), and facilitate detoxification of the lead from his/her body and brain.  Just a note:  there is also lead in many places you would not think to look for it, such as in low quality calcium supplements.  See my article on  Calcium .

The #3 trigger is antibiotic use.  There is a correlation between repeated childhood ear infections and ADD/ADHD.  Why?  Because antibiotics given for medicinal reasons as well as the antibiotics injected into the animals used for meat in this country both set up conditions in the intestines for the overgrowth of trigger #4......

The #4 trigger is Candida yeast.  This is a HUGE problem in ADD/ADHD sufferers.  Candida yeast occurs when, through antibiotic use or through a diet high in processed carbohydrates, the intestinal tract becomes an environment which encourages the growth of yeast.  Antibiotics kill not only bad bacteria that makes us sick, it also kills the healthy bacteria which lives in the intestinal tract and which is needed to keep us healthy.  This healthy bacteria stays in the intestines all the time and protects us from the bad bacteria by killing it.  So if we reduce the amount of healthy bacteria, we reduce our bodies ability to kill the bad bacteria.  One of the reasons children get ear infections in the first place is because of the use of formula, which encourages the growth of the wrong kind of bacteria in the intestinal tract.  Also, a diet high in processed grains and sugars provides a rich growth medium for candida yeast once it gets started.

Candida yeast releases 79 different toxins into the blood stream, and these toxins pass the blood-brain barrier and put the control center to sleep.  These toxins also cause a host of other health problems. These toxins damage the nerves, causing many neurological problems. Learn more about it

The #5 trigger is blood sugar imbalance.  Refined sugar is a drug, which causes immediate changes in blood chemistry which are not favorable to clear thinking and judgment.  Also, the ingestion of sugar drastically increases the amount adrenaline released into the blood stream.  Studies on children and adults who consumed refined sugars showed that children's bodies produce more adrenaline than adults when given the same amount of sugar.  To read more about this, see my article  Dangers of Sugar .

The #6 trigger is low levels of zinc, calcium, magnesium, and B6.  Low levels of these nutrients can cause ADD/ADHD symptoms.

The #7 trigger can be determined by asking yourself the question...."Has your child had a head injury?"  Even a simple fall out of bed and a bump on the head can do the trick.  The symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome are the same as the symptoms of ADHD.

The #8 trigger can be low levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Docosahexaenoic acid deficiency may be key to ADHD.   It is estimated that 3-5% of the school-age population in the United States suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prominent symptoms of this disorder are a poor attention span, inability to complete tasks, hyperactivity, and a tendency to interrupt others. Almost one quarter of children with ADHD also suffer from one or more specific learning disabilities in math, spelling or reading.

A study first reported in 1995 linked ADHD to a deficiency of certain long-chain fatty acids. These acids (arachidonic, eiscosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acids) are all metabolites of the two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Researchers at Purdue University are now leaning towards the conclusion that a subclinical deficiency in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is responsible for the abnormal behaviour of children with ADHD. They point out that supplementation with a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid (evening primrose oil) has been unsuccessful in ameliorating ADHD and believe this is because ADHD-children need more omega-3 acids rather than more omega-6 acids. The researchers also found that children with ADHD were breast fed less often as infants than were children without ADHD. Breast milk is an excellent source of DHA. A study is now underway to investigate the effect of oral supplementation with DHA on the behaviour of ADHD-children.

Burgess, John R., et al. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71 (suppl), January 2000, pp. 327S- 30S

The #9 Trigger, and the most probably cause, is low pH.  Test your child's saliva to get an idea of how acidic they are.  You should test first thing in the morning or two hours after any food or drink.  Normal pH is 7.4, and when the saliva is below this, it shows that there is a calcium deficiency because the saliva is the first place that calcium is robbed from in order to normalize blood pH.  Without sufficient calcium, neurons don't fire properly so the brain doesn't work properly.  Calcium calms the nervous system, so it's not surprising that some of these children would be hyperactive.  Click Here to get pH test paper and instructions on doing the test.

Hyperactivity is often caused psychologically by the need to suppress painful feelings.  As long as the child is in motion, he is distracting himself from painful feelings that must be brought into the open and dealth with.  Often the child's need to cry about a particular stress or trauma has been suppressed when he was young, and in order to keep himself distracted so he does not have to feel this unexpressed emotional pain, he keeps himself in motion.  The constant movement serves the purpose of a pacifier for a baby, it's just a distraction so he does not have to deal with the hurts inside him, which could have been healed if he was allowed to cry and rage about them at the time they happened.  For more about this, see my Emotional Causes of ADHD


What can I say. I forgot I had this site on my "favorites" list.  I was cleaning it out and read the "9 triggers" for ADD/ADHD.  Our daughter had been diagnosed years ago, but we never put her on any medication. Instead, we chose the long process of finding out the cause.  Finally, this past spring, after trying many different ideas, we finally discovered her cause.  #1. food allergies to dairy and gluten, particularly wheat.  #2. candida yeast.  We were already suspicious about the antibiotics because of frequent ear infections when she was an infant. #3. she craved sugars also.  So we pulled her off of all dairy and gluten products that we were aware of.  WOW, almost overnight we saw an immediate result.  Within a week, her bad breath cleared up, the dark circles under her eyes disappeared, she developed a sweeter disposition, no more constipation, more attentive and cooperative and the matty eyelashes were gone.  So we went to our chiropracter who gave us vitamins with high B-complex, probiotics that address the candida yeast issue and one to help with digestion/assimilation.  We were already addressing the Omega-3 issue.  We found your assessment in the article to be so accurate and true for our daughter. Keep the public informed!


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