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ADD / ADHD may have Underlying Health Problems
August 11th 2005

ADD / ADHD Ritalin side effects and cause of ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is estimated to affect 3 – 7 percent of children in the US according to the American Psychiatric Association.  Some other studies think that rates for ADHD are much higher.  ADHD affects boys three times more often than girls.   

Other potential health conditions could be causing the ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) / ADHD and should be addressed first.  Vision or hearing problems, Hyperthyroid or Hypothyroid, Food Intolerances or Allergies, Calcium and/or Magnesium deficiencies, High Copper and low Sulfur - with or without elevated Aluminum, Iron deficiency, lower levels of Tyrosine amino acid, Recreational Activities such as violent movies and video games and lack of parental discipline are all potential contributors to the ADD / ADHD disorder.  Changing a child’s diet to improve nutrition and changing environment like the type of TV shows they watch or the games they play may help. 


Blood test should be considered to rule out any imbalance in blood chemistry.  Make sure the pediatrician does a complete evaluation of the child instead of quickly writing a prescription for Ritalin.

Causes of ADHD might be linked with a sleep disorder of sleep apnea.  Children are also susceptible to sleep apnea.   Obstructive breathing problems treated with CPAP machines and surgery may be the solution. An ENT doctor would be helpful in determining if a sleep study or surgery is necessary.   If you child has trouble sleeping at night, they snore, have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, they breath through their mouth, and show a failure to thrive (weight loss or poor weight gain), they are hyperactive or irritable during the day, or restlessness during sleep, they may have sleep apnea symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help to address issues with ADD / ADHD on a day to day basis.  The child learns how to organize, prioritize, and follow-through on tasks.  The ADD / ADHD child may have problems with making friends.  Therapy can help to deal with the issues that may arise in social situations.  There are special camps which specialize in behavioral therapy teach the child to interact appropriately with a reward system for doing the correct behavior.

Currently Ritalin (methylphenidate) is being prescribed for the treatment method for ADHD children.  There are currently 10 million prescriptions filled each year for this drug.  Ritalin drugs stimulate the section of the brain that uses self control and works to increase the child’s concentration.  One side effect of taking Ritalin is growth retardation.  Two studies showed that children who have nausea and vomiting as a side effect where a full 2.6 inches shorter as an adult.     


Other drugs that are used to treat ADHD are Tofranil, Catapres, Aurorix, and Petrofan.  The list of less serious side effects to Ritalin are insomnia (difficulty sleeping), nervousness, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, tics (repetitive movements), abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, decreased appetite or weight loss, or slower weight gain and/ or growth.  The serious side effects are an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives), an irregular or fast heartbeat, chest pains or very high blood pressure (blurred vision, severe headache, flushing), unusual behavior or confusion, or liver damage (yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, unusual bleeding or bruising, severe fatigue). 

Taking Ritalin is a medication and should not be taken without careful consideration as it has side effects.  "For the first time, we are seeing that Ritalin given at doses commonly used to treat children with ADHD significantly increases levels of dopamine in the brain," said psychiatrist Nora Volkow  at Brookhaven Lab. "This combination - the ability to increase motivation and also directly activate circuits of attention - is likely to be key to the beneficial effects of Ritalin."

ADD / ADHD are a list of symptoms that are very possibly be created from something else in the body or environment that is not working correctly.  It would be worth looking further into potential hidden health and environment issues that might be creating the problem in addition to take Ritalin medication with behavioral therapy.

If you have any comments or corrections please email me.

By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

ADD and ADHD related Books

Keywords and misspellings: atention atension attansion defecit defacit behavor hyperactivitiy

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM