October 29, 2019

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a widespread neurodevelopmental disorder in children. It is usually detected in childhood and mostly continues into adulthood. Children with ADHD may find it challenging to pay attention, control their impulsive behavior, or be extremely active.

February 3, 2017

By Allan D. Lieberman, M.D.

These are some of the many case histories of successful treatment of behavior disorders in children and adults. All of our patients are treated with an individualized, comprehensive program.

Case 1: This patient came to us when she was 4 years old. Her behavior could be described as “the Attention Fatigue Syndrome”, meaning she would appear very hyperactive and not able to focus one minute, and the next she would be whiney or crying with fatigue.

She also had allergic rhinitis, with runny nose and dark circles under her eyes and other classic allergy symptoms.

As we read through her medical history, we saw that she had often had ear infections and had been on many antibiotics. It was also documented that she had developed thrush and even vaginitis (infection of the female reproductive tract) as an infant and toddler, most probably as a side effect of all the antibiotics given for her ear infections. Based on so many symptoms of yeast overgrowth, we emphasized eradicating the yeast overgrowth as part of her initial treatment. Since her history of yeast-related problems was so clear, we used a systemic anti-fungal drug.

At the first follow-up visit, the mother said her child’s behavior had been better from the very first day of treatment. Overall, her symptoms were 50 percent better. About 4 months later as we continued to monitor her progress, we again prescribed a different anti-fungal medication and again her behavior improved significantly.

I had just heard Dr. William Shaw’s lecture about his research into the correlation between yeast overgrowth and neurological and behavior disorders. So eventually we tested this child with the Organic Acids Test as recommended by Dr. Shaw and found high levels of four metabolites from yeast overgrowth and also high levels of a bacterial metabolite from bacterial overgrowth.

On the basis of this test, I prescribed an anti-fungal medication again and the child’s behavior improved so markedly that the mother commented she had had only one tantrum in several weeks, whereas she used to have several tantrums daily.

However, we did not wish to continue to treat this child (or any patient) with medications to control yeast overgrowth, so we knew we had to look further into her case.

We suspected she had developed a hypersensitivity to the yeast metabolites we had found on her laboratory testing and that allergy testing could be an important key to her further improvement. During allergy testing in our Center’s testing room, she developed symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, restlessness, itching, and stomach pains when we tested her with allergy extracts of yeasts. Her symptoms all improved when we reached a neutralizing dose. Seeing these symptoms provoked and then “turned off” was amazing to the parents, but we see this sort of thing in our allergy testing process quite often. This little girl continued doing well with a maintenance treatment program of allergy desensitization extracts, a probiotic supplement (a supplement to replenish the normal good gut bacteria that are often killed by antibiotics), and, equally important, dietary measures. Her behavior continued to further improve over time with this comprehensive program.

[NOTE: Yeast eradication can play a powerful and important role in alleviating behavior problems, but need not be continued for an extended period of time when all the other parts of our Center’s comprehensive programs are followed.]

Case 2: This 12-year-old boy came to us with a long history of truly severe behavioral problems. His medical and school history showed he had been diagnosed with hyperactivity and aggressive tendencies by age 3 and difficulties with learning and focusing by age 6.

He was placed on Ritalin in first grade, but developed migraine headaches. He repeated first grade, was placed on Tofranil and became very fatigued. A pediatric neurologist was consulted and different medications tried, all of which provoked side effects of various kinds. Medications were discontinued but his behavior was so bad he was on the verge of being thrown out of school.

He was referred to a child psychiatrist at age 9. His formal diagnoses by age 11 were Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Dysthymia (a form of depression). High-dose Prozac (60 mg.) was prescribed. On this drug, he was somewhat better, but developed screaming tantrums in school, especially in spring and fall. By age 11, he was prescribed Zoloft, whereupon he developed more OCD behaviors. He was placed in a class for learning disabled children, with additional behavior modification instituted after school.

When this child came to our office for initial evaluation, he was still on Ritalin and Zoloft but was unable to sit still or stay in one room. He persisted in wandering all over the building while his mother tried to give his history to one of our physicians. She related that he had had many antibiotics as an infant due to recurrent ear infections. His favorite foods were milk, sugars, and chocolate. There was a family history of Bipolar disease. Our physical examination of this boy showed allergic rhinitis (runny nose), athlete’s foot and jock itch (fungus diseases of the skin), mouth ulcers, and nail biting.

We placed him in our Center’s allergy testing room (we have a separate room where restless children can go) and tested him for foods, pollens, and inhalants. These tests showed moderate reactivity so he was started on allergy desensitization. Due to the obvious symptoms of yeast overgrowth (athlete’s foot and jock itch), we also started him on medications to eliminate yeast and fungus. We strongly recommended that his diet be changed to eliminate sugars and milk products, since these foods feed yeast and were the things he craved the most and ate the most (probable signs of allergic addiction).

When we received the results of our laboratory testing a few weeks later, they showed he had elevated levels of mercury and low levels of the essential minerals magnesium and selenium, again specific imbalances that we were able to address.

At the first follow-up 6 weeks later, his mother reported her son’s behavior was 30 percent better. Because of such marked improvement, she had been able to taper him totally off Zoloft and down to one-half of his previous dose of Ritalin. Her son had brought home the best report card ever. He was obviously calmer and showed increased focus. Athlete’s foot and jock itch had been eliminated. His symptoms of runny nose, constipation, and headaches had also decreased.

At the 3-month mark after beginning treatment at our Center, his mother reported that her son was 60 percent better in both his behavior and his physical symptoms. She had tapered him totally off Ritalin.

He had brought home straight E’s (for Excellent) on his report card and had recently attended a summer camp! This young man was so dramatically changed in demeanor and behavior that it was hard to believe he was the same person. Since he was still craving sugars and having mild headaches, we recommended further allergy testing to uncover hidden food allergies. Other nutrients were added to his plan.

For this young man, a comprehensive evaluation and treatment program provided an almost incredible turn-around from a tragically dismal history to a promising future. It’s hard to describe how deeply satisfying it is for the parents, the child, and the physician alike to see what wonderful results are possible when an effective comprehensive program is developed and then carefully followed.

There have been many, many such success stories at The Center. We only wish more parents could learn that there are natural, effective treatments for overcoming ADHD and other behavioral and developmental problems in their children.

Posted in ADHD, DEVELOPMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Submitted by Timothy J. Callaghan, M.D. for COEM’s Website

Three to seven percent of children (and one to six percent of adults) have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the use of pharmaceutical drugs to treat this condition is estimated to double every six years. Why?

In schools across America, teachers and nurses find themselves having to supervise administration of their students’ ADHD psycho-stimulant medication. In order to deal with ADHD symptoms, more and more children are being placed on drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta.

Let’s first define ADHD.

ADHD is a persistent lack of attention with the inability to control impulsiveness. This manifests as restlessness, difficulty sitting still, problems completing tasks, and may be accompanied by learning issues, decreased memory, mood swings, and even temper tantrums. As a consequence, the child’s self-esteem may be devastated and the parent exhausted.

Since there is no clear objective test to diagnose this condition, it is critical to get a second opinion and, hopefully, one opinion should be from a developmental specialist. There is a fear that many “boys who are just being boys” will be labeled in error.

What is happening in these children’s brains?

Current research indicates that there may be a “perfect storm” combining genetic predisposition (vulnerability) and environmental triggers. We in Environmental Medicine feel that “genetics loads the gun but the environment pulls the trigger.”

Professor Richard Deth of Northern University has discovered that ADHD (and autistic) individuals have problems at the D4 (dopamine) receptors of the brain. These receptors, critical to normal brain transmission and signaling, are genetically different in ADHD children and may explain their susceptibility.

Note that the susceptibility doesn’t mean inevitability!

Researchers Harding, Jodahand Gant list in their 2003 study eight categories of triggers. The researchers can be commended for identifying and initiating research into these eight areas of possible “triggers.” This concept of triggering mechanisms is the big key and has been utilized by Environmental Medicine physicians to successfully treat this condition for nearly thirty years!

What are the treatment options for ADHD?

The traditional approach to ADHD treatment is psycho-stimulant medication. It can be very effective and has helped many. However, there are often dangerous side effects and concerns over long-term use. One study showed chromosomal breaks with Ritalin. Another study found possible growth suppression. Some children exhibit insomnia, headaches, dizziness, and loss of appetite, neurological ticks, abdominal pain, social withdrawal, fatigue, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), “Zombie”-like behavior, and the possibility of increased risk for drug addiction. Side effects often necessitate anti-depressants and mood stabilizers being used to control emotional problems that are consequences of the medicine.

Is there a non-drug option to treat ADHD?

At the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, we look at the entire biochemistry pattern of the patient and utilize non-toxic treatments. After a very comprehensive initial evaluation, a battery of tests is performed to look for triggers. Testing includes tests to evaluate levels of toxic metals; hidden yeast or bacterial infections; allergies (including food allergies); deficiencies of important minerals, especially iron, as well as essential fatty acids and amino acids; and blood levels of glucose and insulin to rule out poor blood sugar control as a cause of mood swings.

Based on this wealth of information obtained from a comprehensive diagnostic work-up, we are often able to identify causes behind the behavior of ADHD. With proper diagnosis, treatment becomes much easier, and more importantly, more effective.

Adults also suffer from ADHD and these same principles apply. When the causes are identified, there are a multitude of natural and effective treatment options available.

References:

Crook, WG. The Yeast Connection and the Woman. Jackson, Tennessee: Professional Books, Inc., 1995.

Harding KL, Judah RD, Gant G. Outcome based comparison of Ritalin versus food supplement treated children. Altern Med Rev 2003; 8(3) 319-30.

Pangborn, JB and Baker SJ. Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. San Diego, California: Autism Research Institute, 2005.

Posted in ADHD, DEVELOPMENTAL