Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Dr. KennedyMany children and adults have lapses of consciousness and difficulty concentrating. Some are irritable and have poor memory. These are problems, to be sure, but not all are true ADD and should not be treated as ADD. ADD can be diagnosed by the presence of inattention which has persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level. The person often:

  1. fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  2. has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  3. does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  4. does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
  5. has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  6. avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  7. loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  8. easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  9. forgetful in daily activities


Has six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity which have persisted for at least 6 months to a
degree that is disabling and inconsistent with developmental level. The person often:

  1. fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  2. leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  3. runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
  4. has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  5. "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
  6. talks excessively


  1. often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  2. often has difficulty awaiting turn
  3. often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
  4. Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.

Additional Criteria

  1. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school or work and at home).
  2. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  3. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).


The best hope for meaningful relief of symptoms for this illness is diet and detoxification. Detoxification must focus on removal of heavy metals (chelation therapy). First metal levels must be tested with a challenge test, using a chelating agent followed by a six hour urine collection for analysis. Based on the information gathered from this test a rational treatment plan can be designed.

Treatment by conventional (drug) means is not aimed at the cause of the disorder and is therefore, not surprisingly, almost never successful. The cause of the disorder can hardly be attributed to "low levels of Ritalin" since Ritalin is a drug and is not
found in normal human biochemistry.

The dramatic increase in the incidence of this disorder parallels the dramatic change in the nature of the modern American diet. The extreme intake of simple carbohydrates in the form of "junk food" and the extreme intake of processed foods, especially white flower which changes to sugar immediately upon digestion, is highly suspect as a cause of this disorder in
many cases.

It has proven to be such a difficult proposition to remove this type of diet from one person in a family existing in a culture which worships fast junk food and has little concept of the value of organically prepared food. In this conditon, the medical profession has more or less given up and reached for the prescription pad. Nevertheless, it is probably true that a change in nutritional habits is necessary in the majority of cases. Nutritional counseling by a competent doctor is very supportive and may enable a change in nutritional habits for the entire family. This is necessary if the patient is to have a chance to make permanent changes in dietary habits. One person walking the dietary straight and narrow in a family never works. The family culture around food must change to support the child with ADD.

In addition certain vitamins and minerals are essential and you should rely on your doctor for advice in this area as to type and dose. Also, food allergies and sensitivities may be identified which have a very definite relationship to the disorder. Blood tests are available to help with this aspect of diagnosis, but even more useful is electrodermal screening.

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