Some Resources for Treating ADD and ADHD Using Holistic Methods
By Dr. Randy Martin, OMD Doctor of Chinese Medicine
The resources from the Western medical profession for treating ADD and ADHD are readily available. These include traditional talk, or cognitive psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals, hypnotherapy and behavioral therapy. But more and more people are interested in, and turning to, alternatives to the more traditional Western approach.
For those of you interested in alternatives, or if you are interested in combining the Western approaches with the alternatives, I would like to share some resources and my treatment approaches with you. First, it’s important to note that it’s NOT at all necessary to stop traditional approaches before beginning more natural approaches.
In fact, of my patients, about 50% are in traditional psychotherapy or taking Western pharmaceuticals when they come to me for treatment. And it’s absolutely fine to both take Western medications and to use homeopathy or acupuncture or herbs or nutrition all at the same time. In fact, these often work very well together.
I am accustomed to working with the Medical Doctor as a teamwork approach to treatment. And more and more Medical Doctor’s send me their patients to work together as a team. In treating ADD and ADHD, as well as for anxiety, depression, OCD, phobias, IBS, and panic attacks, the most effective long-term treatment and cure, based on my experience, is homeopathy.
This article will not delve too deeply into the subject of homeopathy. For that, I encourage you to go to my website which has many articles on homeopathy, and to read my book, Optimal Health: How To Get It, How To Keep It. If you want to read more about the treatment of ADD and ADHD, I have also listed other books and resources at the end of this article. And if you are considering using alternative methods to control you or your family’s depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD, I do want to give you, the prospective new patient, enough information so that you can make an informed decision as to whether homeopathy and other complementary methods are what you wish to commit to.
Homeopathy uses very small amounts of plant, mineral or animal substances to stimulate the body to heal itself. It works somewhat like a vaccine or allergy shot. The homeopathic remedies come in the form of little white pellets that are put under the tongue and left to dissolve. Kids may also suck on them.
By the way, Homeopathy is different than herbs. While I also use many herbs in my practice, homeopathy only refers to the use of these little white sugar pills that go under the tongue. In my personal and professional experience with the use of both homeopathy and herbs since 1978, I have found homeopathy to be much less expensive than herbal therapy and also much more effective and powerful in the long run.
This is because homeopathy works more on your energy and herbs work more on your physiology. And any symptoms you have usually start with your energy being out of balance —- well before the physiological or physical symptoms even begin. Kids love homeopathy too! This is because the pills taste like sugar. So getting your kids to take them is no problem. (By the way, homeopathy also works great for your pet cat or dog!)
Also, you may be given a homeopathic remedy that is only taken once a month, or once per week, so the directions are very easy to follow. The way the homeopathic medicine is prescribed is based on the person’s behavior in the office, what we discuss over the phone, or email, and also on what the person describes as his or her, or their kids, problems and behaviors at home, at school, at work, and socially.
All your physical and psychological symptoms are taken into consideration, even though you are coming only to be treated for ADD or ADHD. The same is true, by the way, if you come to me to be treated for ONLY physical issues, like pain in the back, or a headache, or PMS. I will almost always also take into consideration your emotional and psychological issues. This is because they tend to all go together, even though we tend to separate symptoms in our mind into those that belong to medical and those that belong to psychological.
The way homeopathy works is largely based on behavior. And the more I can actually observe, or the more you can describe to me your child’s behavior, or your behavior, the easier to choose the first homeopathic remedy. For instance, if a kid is running all over the office, this may point to a particular remedy, or family of remedies. Another kid may sit on his mom’s lap and not say a word, or whisper into the ear of her mom. This is another remedy. Yet another child may get angry, and provoke an argument with his or her mother in the office. Another child might walk all over the office touching everything and asking questions about things he or she doesn’t understand. One child might run into the desk and injure herself, and another might sit on the floor content with playing with the toys. One child might decide to play with the plastic snake, another might take the plastic knife and start sticking it everywhere; another might build a castle out of blocks, another might enjoy coloring in the coloring book, using all red and black crayons. Another child might color using a variety of bright colors. One child might interact and begin a conversation with my secretary, and another might be shy and want to be left alone. One child might go off to the bathroom on her own and another might want the secretary or her mom to accompany her. One child might look at me directly in the eyes, or even stare me down, while another child might not look at me in the eyes at all. I have had kids spit at me, throw things at me, kiss me, come over and want me to show them my computer, and a huge variety of other behaviors. Each type of behavior points to another category of homeopathic remedies!
One adult might come to their appointment right on time and with their intake forms completely filled out very neatly. Another adult might be late to the appointment, with her clothes and hair kind of disheveled and not even started yet on filling in her forms. When she does, the form might be hard to read, and have coffee stains on them from sitting around on the kitchen table for a week. One person may come to the appointment alone and another might bring their spouse or the entire family into the consultation room for support. Another person may be dressed very formally, and another very sloppy or have tattoos and piercing.
We will also discuss the diet and I’ll want to know about food preferences. Some kids or adults love bread and butter, and for others it’s salty foods or chocolate. Some people will sleep with the windows open and others prefer no draft in the room. Some with a lot of covers, and other with only a thin sheet. One person may perspire a lot at night on the head and another person may not perspire, even with rigorous exercise!
Of course what is also important is what types of things the adult or child forgets to say. Do they have trouble doing their work or homework assignments, or are they easily distracted? All these individual characteristics help to choose the correct homeopathic remedy. It’s good to talk to the child’s teacher before you come in, in order to get as much information on behavior as possible.
In other words, each thing that you tell me or that I observe and intuit might point me to a particular family of homeopathic remedies. Then, after I have all the symptoms that the person conveys to me, both verbally, non-verbally and on the intake forms, I can put all this information together to determine the right homeopathic remedy to start off with.
Patients always want to know how long the initial consultation will be. But in truth, I never know. This is because I might know the first remedy within the first 15 minutes of the interview, or I might need an hour or more and even then, I might take all the information home and work on it for a few days, and ask a lot of additional questions from the person via email or phone. Each situation is completely different, and unpredictable.
And this is what makes homeopathy so challenging and so much fun for me. This is why it never gets boring doing homeopathy! After we choose the correct homeopathic remedy, all there is to do is to take it as directed.
At the same time, I might recommend we discuss nutrition and diet, or perform blood tests or a take-home neurotransmitter urine test or saliva test. The neurotransmitter tests will show which brain chemicals are too high or too low. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain, which give us our feelings of well-being, agitation, depression, mental clarity, motivation, muscle coordination, wakefulness, insomnia, inhibition, or sexual desire.
There are many neurotransmitters in the body, and there are specific tests for each specific problem you might have. If depression or insomnia or anxiety is the problem, one test will be given. But for ADD or ADHD, it will be another test, each one checking for different neurotransmitters. Then, based on the results of the test, you can chose to take various herbs, or amino acid supplements, to balance the neurotransmitters. This way, the behavior will change.
This method is a great complement to homeopathy, because it will give you some immediate results, and with homeopathy alone, it may take a few months to see an improvement. So, we can use these two methods together.
Next you will be encouraged to share your symptoms on your follow up treatments. I might see you or your child every 3 to 8 weeks, and at each visit I’ll want to know exactly what has changed and what has not changed. So the more accurate you can share with me, the better I can determine what to do next.
Because much of this method of holistic treatment is based on my taking the time to know you and your symptoms, or your child’s symptoms, it is very important that you accurately report your symptoms. This can all be very time consuming, both for you and for me. (I have noticed that not all patients want to spend this amount of time documenting their symptoms.)
It is best if you keep a homeopathic journal and jot down all your symptoms each time something changes. Then bring those notes to your follow-up appointments. I may spend an hour or more after work to determine the next homeopathic remedy a patient needs. Or you and I may have to email back and forth several times within a month in order to correct your supplements if we are not getting the results we both had expected.
Lastly, in order for this treatment approach to be effective, you must commit to it for an extended period of time. This means coming to follow up visits every 3 to 6 weeks for at least 6 months, and usually for a year of more. The reason it takes time is because with this approach we are actually working to permanently change the chemistry in your brain and body.
This doesn’t change overnight when using natural products. So if you need to have quick results, then the Western pharmaceuticals are a better approach for you. But if you want to really change who you are on a deeper level of body chemistry, and if you want to see yourself or your child get much healthier over time, then homeopathy and natural products might be for you!
Again, if you are not sure, then you can use both Western pharmaceuticals and the natural approach together as you begin treatments. There are many patients who receive homeopathic and herbal treatments while taking their Western pharmaceutical medications and they are improving dramatically also.
Nutrition is of course very important to consider. So we will take the time to also assess your diet. I might even have you write down your diet so I can assess and determine it’s right for you and your body type and particular classification of ADD.
It may also be important to eliminate certain foods that you may be allergic to, as well as chemicals, colorings, and other artificial additives. Although most kids and adults will respond to treatment quite well, without having to go to any extremes in diet!
One final note, while I don’t usually recommend nor perform acupuncture on children under the age of 12 years, some of my patients’ kids request acupuncture, even at the young age of 8 years old or so. If you or your child does decide to add acupuncture to the treatment, you will experience results much more quickly then with homeopathy alone. This goes for adults as well as kids.
But as I said, most kids don’t want acupuncture, and I never suggest it to them, if they are not interested in it or are afraid of needles. But many times, after they see their parents receiving an acupuncture treatment, the kids want to try it also. And after trying acupuncture once, most kids feel so good, that they always want another treatment when they come to the office.
Further Resources and
1. Article on the Success of Homeopathy for ADD: http://www.ymlp.com/pubarchive_show_message.php?Drrandymartin+23
2. Optimal Health: How To Get It, How To Keep It, by Dr. Randy Martin – available in the office or online at WWW.DRRANDYMARTIN.COM
3. Rage Free Kids http://www.wholehealthnow.com/books/rage-free-kids.html
4. Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine http://www.drdooley.net/Book.pdf
5. All books are available from my friend Dana Ulman at Homeopathic Educational Services: http://www.homeopathic.com/
6. Brain Imaging – A Scientific Method of Diagnosing ADD/ADHD: http://amenclinics.com/bp/spect_rotations/