Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder. It interferes with a person’s ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate behaviour. There are three types of ADHD: an inattentive type (generally referred to as just ADD), a hyperactive-impulsive type and a combined type. Diagnosis is usually made in childhood and symptoms may continue into adulthood.


Hyperactive-impulsive type
The person is active and often acts without thinking, even in dangerous situations. Signs and symptoms to look out for include:

    • Fidget and wriggle
    • Run around or climb constantly
    • Cannot sit still for long periods and will tend to regularly get up from their chair even when asked to remain seated
    • Always talking, tends to interrupt others
    • Impatient, often pushes ahead in lines, interrupts games etc

Inattentive type

  • Difficulty paying attention and staying focused on a task
  • Rarely finishes school work or chores
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Easily distracted
  • Always losing items such as toys, school work and books

Combined type

  • Children exhibit symptoms of the two types and can be inattentive, impulsive and over-active.
  • Difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness are the main symptoms.

Why does it happen?

Factors that may cause ADHD include:

  • Low dopamine levels have been noted, which can affect attention and motivation. Alcohol and drug use during pregnancy may decrease reduce the activity of nerve cells that produce dopamine
  • Genetic tendency
  • Childhood exposure to lead and industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • New research suggests an inability to convert fatty acids into longer chain fatty acids may be a contributing factor for some ADHD children.

What natural therapies can help?

  • Fish oil – improvements have been noted in clinical trials using a combination of high DHA fish oil and evening primrose oils
  • Zinc and magnesium levels have been reported to be low in children with ADHD
  • B group vitamins – are important for supporting the nervous system
  • Bacopa and ginkgo may prove useful to help with memory and learning, though more research is required in this area to establish the correct dosage of herbs.
  • Homoeopathic remedies specially formulated for children can help calm the nerves and help soothe anxiety.

Did you know?

  • All children can be impulsive, hyperactive and not pay attention at times. However if this behaviour is constant, then we recommend you visit your healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.
  • Due to their behaviour ADHD children experience problems at home, school or maintaining friends. This can lead them to feel anxious, depressed or have low self esteem. Be open to counselling for yourself and your s self esteem.
  • Build up your child’s strengths and offer praise and recognition with their achievements.
  • Discipline is important. Set clear and concise rules for your child. Explain what will happen if your child is good or reaches set goals and what will happen when they misbehave.
  • Keep in touch with your child’s teacher regularly and discuss how your child is going at home and at school. Try to stick to the same recognition and discipline plan and home and school.
  • Diet – certain foods have been noted to exacerbate different behaviours. Start a food diary for one to two weeks, include everything your child eats. Record all physical, mental and emotional symptoms and how long after eating they occur. Give this information to your healthcare professional to help determine if any foods or beverages are aggravating the symptoms.
  • Generally following a good healthy diet is a good start. Limit over-processed foods, artificial preservatives, colourings and flavours (particularly any additives in the 600s), sugar, soft drinks, cakes and lollies.

©2014 Go Vita. Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.