Is There a Cure for Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD/ADHD?
Throughout the years many doctors, chiropractors, and natural supplement companies have announced, often with great fan fare, that they have a cure for attention deficit disorder or ADD/ADHD. Parents and educators hopes are built up in this fashion and are then quickly dashed when they realize that these claims are vastly overstated.
At the present time there is no "cure" for attention deficit disorder, more commonly known as ADD/ADHD. ADHD is a genetic disorder and learning, neurological disorder who's etiology is not completely understood at this time. The genetic component is huge. If one parent has attention deficit disorder a child has a 60% chance of ADD/ADHD. If two parents have the condition then there is a 90% chance.
It is thought that the lack of neurotransmitter balance, especially dopamine and acetylcholine, is one of the main reasons for the disorder. I believe that this is true, but in my clinical practice I have found that the lack of GABA is even more common with ADD/ADHD clients.
The symptoms of ADD are well known and include attention difficulties, a problem following through on tasks, distraction, procrastination, possible hyperactivity, and impulsivity. What is not well known, however, is that there are seven different types of ADD and not just the Inattentive Type and Hyperactive Type. These other types are Over-Focused, Temporal, Limbic, Anxious, and Ring of Fire. Each type is very different and needs to be treated in a different fashion or the results are often worse than the "cure".
Although there is no real ADD "cure" there is effective treatment. It is possible to obtain 30% symptom relief through diet, exercise, common vitamins and supplements, a self-disciplinary activity such as yoga or martial arts, biofeedback or neurofeedback, and behavioral strategies or ADD rules and protocols. However, until recently the only way to achieve the other 70% improvement by activating the prefrontal cortex was a combination of medication which usually consisted of a stimulant such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Vyvanse and an antidepressant such as Effexor or Zoloft.
This has changed with the advent of natural supplements. Although not a "cure," testing has shown them to significantly reduce distraction, impulsiveness, and procrastination in many people.
Jef Gazley, LMFT