Translated by Katja Schütt and Alan Schmukler
WHAT IS ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent and deteriorating disorder that is characterized by abnormal levels of inattention and impulsive and hyperactive behavior. It is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is defined by three primary symptoms: inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, and the latter is not always present.
ADHD has many symptoms. At first, some of them may look like behaviors of a normal child, but in ADHD they are worse and occur more frequently. Children with ADHD have at least six symptoms that begin during the first five or six years of their lives. These may be:
- Easy distraction and forgetting things frequently
- Quickly changes from one activity to another
- Having problems following instructions
- Daydreaming / much fantasizing
- Having trouble completing things like homework and chores
- Frequent losing toys, books, and school supplies
- They are very restless and writhe a lot
- Talk non-stop and interrupt people
- Run around a lot
- Touch and play with everything they see
- Are very impatient
- Say inappropriate comments
- Having problems controlling their emotions
It is currently recognized as a disorder of unknown etiology with a probable organic basis, influenced by genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. ADHD currently represents the main cause of school failure. There are biological and genetic factors. Among the non-genetic we can mention prenatal, perinatal and postnatal complications. Studies of molecular genetics have related the disorder fundamentally with several genes in different chromosomes and their variations in the number of copies, so it can be said that one of the main causes of ADHD is genetics. The evidence that this is a neurobiological problem, with a very high heritability for which neuroimaging and genetics increasingly provide more information, accounts for the fact that poor education of children or having grown up in an inadequate environment cannot be considered as the cause of ADHD.
ADHD affects 8-12% of children worldwide (Faraone et al., 2003) and represents up to 40% of the cases referred to child psychiatry consultations (Safer and Allen, 1976). In Mexico, approximately 1.5 million people under the age of 18, that means, 5% of the total population of this group, suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In a statement released by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), it is pointed out that this figure can reach even 2.5 million in the country, if the number of adults with this chronic condition is added.
A disorder with these characteristics and complexity requires a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach and study, in which several aspects should be considered:
- Information provided by parents
- Information provided by teachers
- The family and child medical history
- Observation of the child when playing and performing academic tasks. Clinical and neurological exploration.
- Psychological studies
- Complementary explorations for the diagnosis (neuroradiological studies)
HOW CAN PATIENTS WITH ADHD IMPROVE?
The treatment of this disorder requires multidisciplinary management that covers the different aspects of it.
It has been proven that many problems of child behavior improve with the dietary restriction of additives or substances suspected of provoking inflammatory reactions; and, also, with the inclusion of certain fats and beneficial foods in the daily menu. It seems that there is a connection between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and certain allergies and food intolerances.
30 years ago, Dr. Ben Feingold, a North American allergist and pediatrician, developed a diet free of additives (artificial colors, flavor enhancers, preservatives and items relatived to acetylsalicylic acid, present in certain fruits and vegetables. In his opinion, this diet could prevent certain childhood allergies. To his surprise, many of the children who followed this not only improved their allergy symptoms, but also experienced very positive changes in their behavior.
Experts from the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton (UK), studied the changes in behavior experienced by a total of 300 children (three to nine years old) when they took, alternately and in consecutive weeks, fruit juice without additives and the same juice with two combinations of dyes that, in addition, contained the preservative sodium benzoate, which is widely used in food. The juices had the same appearance and flavor and neither the parents nor the children knew if the one they drank that week contained additives. Each week, the behavior of the children was monitored according to the standards used for the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was found that when children drank these there was an increase in hyperactivity, although the results were not similar in all children. It was also observed that behavioral deterioration occurred in children in general and not only in those who had been diagnosed with hyperactivity.
Subjects with ADHD need to maintain a structure in terms of personal organization and social limits, as well as having practical help to deal with everyday problems. The best way to address these needs is to use a cognitive-behavioral paradigm, because this model has a solid evidence base (Roth and Fonagy, 1996).
Parent-child interaction therapy and other forms of parent training teaches parents to cultivate good behaviors while minimizing impulsive behaviors and lack of attention. When the child is old enough, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help the child to control their behaviors by understanding how their thoughts and feelings influence them.
Homeopathy offers a wider range of options than conventional medicine. Homeopathic constitutional treatment under the guidance of an experienced and professional homeopath who is able to observe the totality of symptoms, is an excellent option for the treatment of ADHD. Below, some often indicated remedies are described:
It is especially indicated for those who feel isolated and separated from the world, and who feel pathologically inferior with the need to prove themselves. Very low self-esteem in children trying to prove their worth, to the extent of developing a kind of double personality. Feel two wills, good and bad. They may have impulses of great cruelty. Hard of heart, without compassion for anything. Impulse to curse. History of sexual abuse and violence against them.
Indicated in children and adolescents who react intensely, dramatic and in a passionate way, and who seem to be exaggerating all the time. These patients can be very disturbing for adults because of their tremendous intensity. They act as if they were prophets, or can have visions and perform magical spells. Great loquacity with great physical strength, in children with serious intellectual deficiencies and who improve in the dark.
For traumatized children who refuse to accept the reality or situation, such as divorce or the death of their parents, or the arrival of a new sibling, and who behave aggressively. They don’t want to get involved or have any contact and when being asked questions with regard to what happened to them, they repeatedly deny any problem.
Indicated for excessive joking, especially teasing and manipulation by acting cute. They may act as a mischievous leader, inducing others to disobey. May be fascinated with spiders.
They are very impulsive and excitable. Digestive disorders before going to school because of worry, anticipating the situation and exaggerating it in every way. Great desire for sweets. Children with obsessive ideas, rituals or compulsive behaviors. They feel overwhelmed by everyone and are very anxious, but not necessarily hyperactive. Due to anticipation and extreme obsession they can act impulsively. It is indicated for people who can be cruel and malicious, often after a history of mistreatment or contempt.
In cases where there may be reactions of violence, especially with great anger and self-destruction. They are very responsible. May have parents who are quite strong or emotionally distant. They might seem very mature and sensible, but in the end a deep depression develops because of resentment. It is used for children who behave like little adults, who want affection, but do not know how to express their emotional needs; can be cold to their family, and have difficulty making friends. It is indicated for those who are perfectionists.
They can be sweet, shy and fearful or are the clown of the class, acting silly. It is indicated for delayed mental, physical or social development, for children who are shy, aware of their self-limitation and feel defective. People with the fear of looking bad, of being laughed at or criticized. Feeling incompetent and incapable. Those who feel that they are being mocked or ridiculed and who are timid due to fears, especially the fear of making a mistake. They feel observed, do not dare to look up, act childish and immature, have difficulty with schoolwork. They are often the teacher’s mascot. Tics and glandular inflammation.
It is used for those who are irritable, rushed, restless and nervous, who have difficulty concentrating, and who have a canine appetite.
It is used for those who are forgetful, slow, and have a poor learning capacity, are sensitive to noise and light. They have night terrors and dream of ghosts; with a wild glance when angry. Have big heads and bright red cheeks. These persons often look good, even when being sick, tend to otitis media, ailments caused by warmth and of a throbbing kind.
In any case with the tendency to hyperactivity, severe intellectual disability and high propensity to obsessive sexual thoughts or masturbation. Extreme oligophrenia with great violence.
Indicated for those who feel insecure, are afraid of thieves, dogs, heights and airplanes – any situation of potential risk to physical security; they are cautious. Fear that other will perceive their confusion. They are stubborn and methodical, obstinate and tenacious; they can be slow, hesitant.
Small children who are restless, shy and fearful, but who at the same time like to take risks and play tricks, even act recklessly. These children feel like as if they were away from home and have to get home. Like travel, change and new experiences.
Children who respond to this nosode are often very appropriate, calm, rational and overly mature and responsible. Great emotional immaturity. Systematic rebellion with the support of intelligence, with great genius, despises all those he thinks to be intellectually incapable. Acts of revenge and unstable behavior in children who were previously model students and very disciplined.
It is used for those who feel isolated, disconnected, anguished, terrified and even sometimes ecstatic. They feel confused and inattentive, time and place disorientation. Afraid of going crazy, they feel as if everything were a dream with things and even relatives that seem strange or unreal. Act as if from a dream inside or out in space, can’t pay attention for long. But they are good at science projects until theorization makes them lose contact with reality; they are absent-minded and can be obsessive-compulsive.
There are three common variations of the behavior of this remedy: (1) they present as laughing, and clowning, (2) they present as ethereal and airy, and (3) they are loquacious and enjoy dressing in antiquity clothes.
Indicated for those who are very nostalgic, discontented, melancholic, irritable, distracted, disobedient, and angry, who seem very obstinate, are contrary, even against something they want if it is suggested by someone else. It is recommended for those who fear to be censored and are easily offended, who are restless and clumsy, have difficulty sleeping at night, but yawn during the day. It is used for those who may wake up in a fright, screaming, or full of fear.
These children, beyond being hyperactive or distracted, are reactive, violent, and very fanciful. They are characterized by tantrums and intense manifestations of fits of rage. They can fall into sobbing or flat spasms, changing into their wild crying. Nothing pleases them and they do not know exactly what they want, or ask for something to reject it immediately. Bad temper, irritable and impatient, complaining, frustrated, restless; think that others are against them. Wants to be taken everywhere, but they complain and scream. These children are averse to being touched with hypersensitivity to pain, feeling pain is unbearable. Feel everything is intolerable, and can become so hyperactive that they will exhaust and start to cry. The child shows awkwardness of the senses with a minor power of understanding, as if having hearing problems. All symptoms are worse at night.
Indicated for children who cross themselves, are contrary and disobedient, with a very difficult behavior. These children do not want to be touched or looked at and they move away when others approach. Nothing satisfies them for long. They are restless, nervous, especially during sleep. They often sleep on the abdomen or hands and knees. The use of drugs in children is very aggressive and reactive, they can not remain still and nothing satisfies them. The child does not know what he wants and reacts disturbing and destructive. It does not want to talk or be touched. He cries if he does not get his will, blows and kicks.
Hyperactivity with euphoria, everything is sees on the good side. Impulsive in extreme. Active and with exaggerated optimism. Children who can not sleep because they have too much energy and want to play. Very good intentions, but also with rage and imprudence.
Indicated for those who do not want to think, read and work. They have an inability to concentrate on thoughts, they do not understand what they are reading.
Indicated for those who are intense, makes cartoons, are restless, in a hurry, and talkative. They have many fears, especially that someone is following them or to hear footsteps behind them. They are afraid of being alone, spirits, ghosts, snakes, and may strike in a fit of rage. They resent and blame other children to get rid of problems. Have dreams of hairy spiders.
Indicated for those who are of strong character and persistently fight, for their beliefs, have a lazy mind, with difficulty to collect their thoughts.
Indicated for those who feel stupid, who can not face challenges in life, and whose mind is slow. They seem bored and unresponsive, often have a history of encephalitis or head injury, and have difficulty memorizing or articulating thoughts. They have a tendency to despair and a strong aversion to make any effort, however, they get angry easily. They have been observed to bite their spoon when eating without being aware of it, they have a history of fever and / or head injuries.
Highly destructive children, in particular they are sadistic and they like to hurt, for which they have an instant genius. Fascinated by fire and firearms, as well as everything that can be useful to cause harm to living beings. He is intellectually brilliant, but he shows himself clumsy and with gestures of imbecility.
Hyperactive children with a very silly and ridiculous behavior, they laugh at everything (like Cannabis indicates) and are reluctant to accept the rules and social conventions of their age. Sarcastic or nasty jokes, constantly want to draw attention at all costs. There is not a tone of exhibitionism, only sexual, they take off your clothes and want to be naked. Sexual precocity.
Suitable for restless children, who always have to do something, especially with their hands, including activities such as throwing.
In patients of all ages in which there is great concern and anxiety combined with violent impulses. Worse when not eating. The child can not sit still at any time. Bad humored and very irritable, doing everything wrong, sensitive and susceptible, does not admit any joke, thinks that they make fun of him.
One of the most important remedies for extreme anxiety in children and all kinds of disturbances of public order. In childhood she is jealous, treacherous, selfish and very talkative. Great tendency to deception and falsity. One of the most important remedies in girls who completely change their character as a result of puberty and adolescence, becoming cunning, treacherous and manipulative.
Extreme lack of self-confidence, children are timid and coward, learn to manipulate and cheat to maintain an image of efficiency and value to others. These children and adolescents can’t show aggressive physical behavior, but tend to be difficult and deceptive with great skill, leading to manipulation or deceiving parents and teachers. Terrorizes other children using blackmail and psychological violence. Is too weak to expose their coldness and sadism to others. He needs power, recognition and the good opinion of others.
Indicated for those who bite, groan, snarl, scratch, and act violently, but regret soon. They feel tormented and abandoned, as if they had suffered some evil. These children feel as if they have been hurt or mistreated. They often have a history of abuse and might be children of violent parents. They are self-destructive, with an impulse to reduce their self. They can be defensive, as if being attacked or insulted. They may have a history of dog or animal bite, and the behavior is aggravated by the sound of water. May be afraid of water or reflected water, dogs, small rooms. They can have cravings for chocolate and salt and they suffer from enuresis.
Indicated for those who fear evil demons and being possessed, fears or obsession with evil can be created after watching a horror movie, and they may have delusional ideas that their soul has been surgically removed. The child says that someone is taking things.
In cases where there is great intelligence but with extreme hyperactivity, sometimes with destructive and impulsive criminality. Children and adolescents are able to pushing their parents and the people around them to the limit. Strong impulses, especially of evil, in the end they destroy with the minimum effort. Very early in all respects, including emotional, intellectual and sexual. They want to try everything, and develop an unhealthy and exaggerated curiosity. These children, together with the Tuberculinum children are the most disturbing of Materia Medica.
Children and adolescents are most instinctive, competitive and eager to enjoy. Very restless and mischievous children, primitive and react in an exaggerated way. Very self-confident and bold, do not seem to generate fear or overwhelm, these children often demonstrate their leadership and are always positive and with great confidence, but also tend to defy all kinds of rules and structures. They love to fight and are argumentative, passionate and react immediately to any circumstance.
The child or adolescent is usually charming, warm, empathetic and sociable, his big problem is the total lack of limits. These children are slow to recognize the limitations of their age, to respect the guidelines and distinguish ideals and dreams from reality. Often, they are too naive and impulsive, and ist difficult for them to assume responsibility and discipline. In some cases, especially in adolescence, they might be very apathetic and reluctant to any physical activity. It costs them a lot to get out of their comfort zone.
They are insecure, unstable, flirtatious, arrogant and contemptuous (usually women), abandoned and without love, with the need to reconnect with people, but they have the illusion that others are physically and mentally inferior, yet they have feelings of failure, rejection and lack of confidence. These children want to look good, and can be quite blunt, young people sending a sexual message and tend to be jealous of other women. These children can be emotionally blocked, they tend to live in the past. They may have strong feelings of anger, indignation and paranoia.
They can have aggressive and overwhelming impulses that provoke the most severe depression and states of confusion, with an alteranating indescribable happiness, laughing at the saddest, then unbearably sad, desperate and scared by any serious thought. They need emotion or melodrama, they can be very restless children who can not stay in one place and can experience marked anxiety with tremor, palpitations, as well as oppressed and violent breathing.
This is one of the most important remedies of hyperactivity manifested in its most physical form. These children have an excess of energy, but of a physical nature: they can not stop moving, also when sleeping, although it is often involuntary or unconscious. They also tend to repetitive or routine activities, and it costs them a lot to change the direction of their habits and attitudes.
Extreme destructive impulses, very reactive. They destroy systematically and with great violence. This medicine is probably the most destructive and violent of all; the child has a crisis of uncontrollable rage, in which it seems to be possessed, with loss of all conscious control and will. They are very fearful children: darkness, loneliness, animals. Night terrors, nightmares with terrible spasms and screams, with exaggerated fears after waking up, when they still believe to see what appeared in their dream. It is very indicated in children with serious behavioral disorders and a history of abuse or medication.
It is used for children who are selfish. They try to control feelings with the mind, hate being afraid, feel as if they are being despised, have delusional ideas that they have fallen out of grace, are dirty and ragged, but think that they look good. These children can be lost in their thoughts, distracted, forgetful, lose things, have visions, are full of theories and dreams, love science fiction, can be a loner, with lack of social skills, prefer computers, reading, mechanical things.
As with all nosodes, they tend to be a psychopath or sociopath. Fascinated by issues related to death, the deterioration of life and the darker side of the human condition. Very intelligent, but serious difficulties to really integrate into society. He is very withdrawn, sad, morbid in tastes, thoughts of death, illness and degradation. Without being truly sadistic he may be obsessed with causing harm or pain to other living beings, or have unhealthy or destructive uncontrollable impulses from an early age. All combined with great intelligence or creativity, or on the contrary, a true intellectual decline combined with very damaging impulses.
Children are overwhelmingly preoccupied and very destructive, they become criminals. Impatient, precipitate, intolerant and, above all, they seem to have more energy. These children do not seem to need sleep, they can spend whole nights due to intense physical and mental activity, without showing any fatigue. They are very intelligent and make disparaging jokes. They easily get out of control, anything leads to violence, they are children who start playing seriously and end up hurting others. They like bright colors and rhythmic music.
Very bright and briliant mind, but with a great dissatisfaction is the key to this homeopathic remedy. It is highly destructive, unbalanced in any environment, everything alters, the children are able to devastate the entire family unit. He always wants something different, changes, gets rid of what he has and when he can not do it continuously, he tends to destroy everything around him. The desire to wander. Violent temperament with great cruelty to animals and even other children. The happiness of others deeply upsets him as he does not see any reason to feel full and satisfied, wherefore he boycotts the joy of others, even at the expense of his own integrity.
The child or adolescent of this remedy, in his eagerness to make everything a secret and due to the suspicion of his mind and the degree of systematic paranoia, can develop an obsessive, ritualistic, superstitious or manic behavior. Adolescents are obsessed with the notion of being ugly, inadequate or obesity, with a tendency to isolate themselves from society and everything that is involved.
The hyperactive child of this remedy is boundless, never remains still, thinks that he can perform several tasks at the same time. Strong dreamer, live in their fantasies while they are in constant activity, which leads to confuse the real with the imaginary. Stubbornly and perpetually active, but not necessarily destructive. Can feel special, arrogant and contemptuous. Children sleep very little and it seems that they are never completely connected to the surrounding reality.
The great picture of hyperactivity will often mask the true one of mental retardation. Children with great anxiety and restlessness that lead them to annoy others without control. Great irritability and sensitivity.
ADHD is a chronic behavioral disorder, with high prevalence in the population, that requires multidisciplinary treatment and continuous monitoring, in which homeopathic medicine, so comprehensive in its therapeutic arsenal, offers us a fabulous option for a better prognosis for the quality of life of patients.