Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)



Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (also known as Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia are believed to be disorders of certain mechanisms of the central nervous system. Approximately 3 to 5% of children are estimated as being affected by this disorder. Boys are more than two times as likely to be affected by the condition than girls. Infants and children are the ones most often affected, and most often subjected to the widespread and indiscriminate use of drugs, especially Ritalin®, for quick short-cut suppression of deeper problems.ADD has been diagnosed for hundreds of years, but more recently has become more prevalent due to the increased use of chemicals, pollutants, or heavy metal toxicity (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium). One estimate quotes over l.3 million with Attention Deficit Disorder; another source quotes up to 3 million with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The cause of this behavioral disorder is still unknown though research is ongoing. ADD interferes with the child’s home, school and social life. Unable to screen out stimuli, the child is easily distracted. This usually intelligent child receives a label of being “learning-disabled” and finds the nervous system cannot be slowed down to focus long enough to complete an assigned task. Other symptoms may be head knocking, self-destructiveness, temper tantrums, clumsiness and sleep disturbances. ADD may exist with or without the hyperactivity aspect.Although genetics, infections and brain damage (trauma) have been cited as causes of ADD and LD (Learning Disabilities), these cases are quite rare compared to causes like a dysfunctional home, heavy metal toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, and food and chemical allergies. The majority of cases are caused by an immune defect and allergies to food additives, preservatives, chemicals, or inhalants. To deal adequately with this illness, we must address all these potential imbalances. Some of the nutritional deficiencies that correlate with LD or ADD are calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc. On the other hand, high copper, lead, cadmium and aluminum levels have also been seen in learning disabled children.

Although genetics, infections and brain damage (trauma) have been cited as causes of ADD and LD (Learning Disabilities), these cases are quite rare compared to causes like a dysfunctional home, heavy metal toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, and food and chemical allergies. The majority of cases are caused by an immune defect and allergies to food additives, preservatives, chemicals, or inhalants. To deal adequately with this illness, we must address all these potential imbalances. Some of the nutritional deficiencies that correlate with LD or ADD are calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc. On the other hand, high copper, lead, cadmium and aluminum levels have also been seen in learning disabled children.

Symptoms in Infants and Young Children

  • Crying inconsolably
  • Screaming
  • Restlessness
  • Poor or little sleep
  • Difficult feeding
  • Refuses affection and cuddles
  • Head banging or rocking fits or temper tantrums

Symptoms in Older Children

  • Impulsiveness
  • Clumsiness
  • Constantly moving
  • Destructive or disruptive behavior
  • Accident proneness
  • Bouts of fatigue, weakness and listlessness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Poor concentration ability
  • Vocal repetition and loudness
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Restlessness
  • School failure despite normal or high IQ
  • Poor sleep with nightmares
  • Poor appetite and erratic eating habits
  • Poor coordination Irritable, uncooperative, disobedient, self-injurious, nervous, very moody or depressed
  • Hypersensitive to odors, lights, sound, heat and cold
  • Nose and skin picking or hair pulling
  • Bed wetting (enuresis)
  • Dark circles or puffiness below the eyes
  • Red earlobes or red cheeks
  • Swollen neck glands or fluid behind ear drums
Rona M.D., Zoltan Childhood Illness and the Allergy Connection (Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1997)

Potential Causes

Many natural health oriented doctors believe that potential causes for the modern epidemic of Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD) and hyperactivity are:

  • Food additives
  • Refined sugar
  • Poor nutrition
  • Natural light deficiency
  • Food allergies
  • Heavy metal toxicity (such as lead, mercury, or cadmium)
  • Poor teaching methods combined with lack of discipline

Food Additives

The belief that food additives can cause hyperactivity in children stemmed from the research of Benjamin Feingold, M.D. It is commonly referred to as the Feingold Hypothesis. According to Feingold, perhaps 40 to 50 percent of hyperactive children are sensitive to artificial food colors, flavors, and preservatives. They may also be sensitive to naturally occurring salicylates and phenolic compounds in foods.

Dr. Julian Whitaker has observed:

“Feingold’s assertion that food additives are a problem in learning disorders has been subject to great debate over the past two decades. Practices that are profitable carry on and major economic interests have responded by hiring their own researchers to combat the results. Questions are asked in ways that will produce answers that undercut the challenging work and please the funding interests. The media publishes “conflicting reports.” Politicians and regulators cite this conflict as their reason for inaction. Habits do not change easily. Feingold’s work has stimulated a classic example of such debate, because the American food supply and American agribusiness is profitably enmeshed in the use of food additive.

Dr. Feingold made his original presentation to the American Medical Association in 1973. His strong claims were based on experience with 1,200 individuals in whom behavior disorders were linked to consumption of food additives. Follow-up research in Australia and Canada has tended to support Feingold’s thesis.”

Whitaker, Julian Dr. Whitaker’s Guide to Natural Healing (Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1996)

Avoiding Ritalin®

In 1996 the World Health Organization warned that Ritalin® over-use has reached dangerous proportions. Hopefully, by being armed with correct information, you may be able to avoid using Ritalin® or other similar medications. Use of these drugs on a long-term basis is questionable. Safety of such long-term use is simply unknown, but many dangerous side effects have been increasingly observed. Ritalin®, for instance, may provoke seizures and suppress growth, or it may cause angina, blood pressure changes, depression or any of a very long list of serious side effects.

Dr. Robert Mendelsohn had once noted: “No one has ever been able to demonstrate that drugs such as Cylert and Ritalin® improve the academic performance of the children who take them…. The pupil is drugged to make life easier for his teacher, not to make it better and more productive for the child.”

Mendelsohn M.D., Robert S. How to Raise a Healthy Child…In Spite of Your Doctor (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984)

Success By A Nutritional Approach

Dr. Zoltan Rona, past president of the Canadian Holistic Medical Association, has pointed out the following important nutritional considerations in his best-selling book, Childhood Illness and the Allergy Connection:

“Micronutrient deficiencies or dependencies (e.g. zinc) can have deleterious effects on both short and long term memory. White spots on the nails could be a sign of zinc deficiency even when blood tests for zinc are normal. The expression, “No zinc, no think” is not without merit. Many studies have shown that zinc supplementation is helpful with memory, thinking and I.Q. The best way of getting zinc is to optimize the diet. The most recently published RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for adults is 15 mgs. per day. The richest sources of zinc are generally the high protein foods such as organ meats, seafood (especially shellfish), oysters, whole grains and legumes (beans and peas). Studies show that cognitive development can be impaired when there are low iron blood levels. Deficiencies in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B1 and choline may also be involved.

“Since amino acids are the precursors to the neurotransmitters, low levels can lead to neurotransmitter deficiency. Higher than accepted levels may lead to neurotransmitter excess. One example of amino acid excess causing hyperactive behaviour occurs with the artificial sweetener, aspartame. Some children are highly sensitive to aspartame and scrupulous attention should be aimed at keeping this potential neurotoxin out of the child’s diet. In children who consume large amounts of aspartame in soft drinks or other processed foods, amino acids can be significantly abnormal.” (21)

Rona M.D., Zoltan Childhood Illness and the Allergy Connection (Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1997)

Chiropractic Care

Adjustments by chiropractors has been shown to be effective in many cases of hyperactive children. Studies have shown that hyperactivity and other behavioral conditions respond to chiropractic care. Restrictions in cranial motion have been related to learning disabilities. The areas often involved are found to be the upper cervical area as well as cranial bones. Chiropractic care combined with some type of nutritional supplementation and a dietary change is most beneficial in many cases. Reductions of foods containing red and yellow food dyes have also been shown to benefit hyperactive children.

The Fraud of Child Psychiatry, ADD/ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Ritalin.

“…This elementary fact makes the child psychiatrist one of the most dangerous enemies not only of children, but also of adults who care for the two precious and most vulnerable things in life – children and liberty. Child psychology and child psychiatry cannot be reformed. They must be abolished.” – Thomas Szasz M.D., Cruel Compassion.
“The pediatrician’s wanton prescription of powerful drugs indoctrinates children from birth with the philosophy of ‘a pill for every ill’.”… “Doctors are directly responsible for hooking millions of people on prescription drugs. They are also indirectly responsible for the plight of millions more who turn to illegal drugs because they were taught at an early age that drugs can cure anything – including psychological and emotional conditions – that ails them. ” – Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D., How to Raise a Healthy Child…In Spite of Your Doctor.

Does You Child Have A.D.D.?

What Every Parent Needs To Know About A.D.D.

Talking Back To Ritilan

Immunize Your Child Against A.D.D.

Dealing With Attention Deficit Disorder


Results of 2 separate studies reveal that hyperactivity, and other behavioral conditions respond well to chiropractic care and even exceed results seen from medication.

Walton EV. The effects of chiropractic treatment on students with learning and behavior impairments due to neurological dysfunction. Int. Rev Chiro 1975; 29:4-5, 24-6

There exists a positive relationship between cranial motion restrictions and learning disabled children, as well as children with a history of an obstetrically complicated delivery. Upledger JE, The relationship of craniosacral examination findings in grade school children with developmental problems., J Am Osteopath Assoc 1978; 77(10):760-76 / Medline ID: 78193624

Children with ADHD and coordination problems were more than twice as likely to have a mother who smoked during gestation, compared with children who did not have ADHD. Many subjects with ADHD also experienced language problems (65% compared to 16% of children without the disorder). The study evaluated 113 6-year olds, including 62 who had been diagnosed with ADHD plus deficits in motor control and perception.

1971 – Study entitled “Hyperactive Children as Teenagers: A Follow – up Study”.

83 Children were followed up on, from 2 to 5 years after being diagnosed as hyperactive or as having attention deficit. 92 % of the children were treated with Ritalin.

Results were as follows:

1987 – Satterfield study states:

“We found juvenile delinquency rates to be 20-25 times greater in our hyperactive drug-treated only group than in the normal control group.”

In the “Delinquency Outcome for the drug-treated group” the results were: of 61 Boys,

  • 46% were arrested for one or more felony offenses before age 18

  • 30% were arrested for 2 or more felony offenses

  • 25% were institutionalized

    The authors go on to state “Studies of the long term effectiveness of drugs have been consistently discouraging.”

Satterfield JH; Satterfield BT; Schell AM; Therapeutic interventions to prevent delinquency in hyperactive boys. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1987; 26(1):56-64 / Medline ID: 87222077

1976 – Study by Riddle & Rapoport:

It was concluded that among the continuously treated hyperactive children it was found that peer status and academic achievement did not seem to improve.

1976 – Study by Hechtman &Weiss stated:

Thirty-five individuals aged 17 to 24 in whom severe chronic hyperactivity had been diagnosed 10 years before were studied together with 25 matched controls. Cognitive style tests indicated continued difficulty in reflection (resulting in more errors) but less impulsivity (longer reaction time) in the hyperactive individuals. Compared with controls, hyperactive subjects were continuing to have more scholastic difficulty, although this difference seemed to be less pronounced than 5 years before. Restlessness, both reported and observed, continued to be a problem for the hyperactive individuals, and socialization skills and sense of well being continued to be poorer than in the controls. The authors concluded that methylphenidate (Ritalin) did not significantly alter poor long-term academic performance, delinquent behavior or poor emotional adjustment.

1978 – Study by Blouin stated the following:

“Clinical treatment with Ritalin was found to have no beneficial effect, and there was some evidence to suggest a poor behavior outcome for the drug-treated group.”

1980 – Ackerman report entitled “Report on Drug Withdrawal Symptoms”:

The abstinence (withdrawal) syndrome associated with amphetamines, methylphenidate (Ritalin) is marked by lethargy, sleep disturbances and prolonged depression.” “Depression is perhaps the most significant symptom.”

In the book, “Predicting Dependence Liability of Stimulant and Depressant Drugs” researchers Travis Thompson, Ph.D. and Klaus R. Unna, M.D. describe the “chronic effects of stimulants in man”: “Perhaps the best-known effect of chronic stimulant administration is psychosis. Psychosis has been associated with chronic use of several stimulants; e.g., d- and 1- amphetamine methylphenidate (Ritalin-P), phenmetrazine and cocaine.”

1987 – The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III-R, states:

That methylphenidate (Ritalin), along with other amphetamine-type drugs and cocaine, can create “persecutory delusions” and may “cause a highly organized, paranoid delusional state indistinguishable from the active phase of schizophrenia.” It states “The person may harm himself or herself or others while reacting to delusions.”

This American Psychiatric Associations Manual goes on to state: “Initially, suspiciousness and curiosity may be experienced with pleasure but may later induce aggressive or violent action against enemies. Delusions can linger for a week or more, but occasionally last for over a year.” This DSM III-R also states “Suicide is the major complication of withdrawal from methylphenidate and other amphetamine or amphetamine-like drugs.”

1991 – Journal of Behavioral Optometry, “The Efficacy of the Use of Ritalin For Hyperactive Children”. This study evaluates 22 previous studies/articles since 1976 concerning Ritalin use for hyperactive children. It states:

“The fact that the above studies do not show the efficacy of Ritalin for helping hyperactive children should be apparent to the skeptic and make a skeptic out of the believer. But the argument should not stop at this point. The weak evidence of the value of Ritalin must now be viewed in the light of its reported side effects.” And it concludes: “…at this time there is scant evidence for the use of Ritalin in hyperactive children to produce improved learning. This lack of evidence is consequential because of the many side effect produced by Ritalin administration.”

1988 – Journal of the American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry, January 1988 Case Study entitled:

“Methylphenidate-induced Delusional Disorder in a Child With Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity” discusses a case study involving a 6 year old child, J. R. who was placed on 20mgs of Ritalin in the morning and 10mgs in the afternoon, but due to measurable weight loss after 1 ½ months the dosage was decreased to 20mgs. After 4 months the child was placed on 20mgs of the sustained released Ritalin, the results were as follows: “Approximately 6 months into therapy, J.R.s mother reported that the child was becoming physically and verbally aggressive and difficult to manage. He was agitated and verbalized repeatedly that “someone” was ” going to kill “him.” …the child was suspicious and delusional, accusing others of thinking homicidal thoughts towards him ” “J.R.s stimulation (Ritalin) therapy was terminated and his behavioral disorganization and psychosis resolved completely over the next several days but only with a full return of his attention problems and hyperactivity.” The conclusion: “J.R.s psychological disturbance certainly seemed to have been associate with his methylphenidate therapy.” The final paragraph of this study states: “Young (1981) suggested that psychotic reaction to stimulants in children may be common, as prescribing physicians are generally less alert to possible signs of toxicity when these medications are prescribed within normally accepted dose ranges. J.R.s reaction was certainly more intense than what has usually been described and it is unlikely that his behavioral changes would have gone unnoticed indefinitely. On the other hand, as most reported instances of psychotic reactions in children have involved less dramatic behavioral changes, such as tactile hallucinosis, there may be considerably potential for such changes to remain unrecognized for prolonged periods of time.”

Bloom AS; Russell LJ; Weisskopf B; Blackerby JL; Methylphenidate-induced delusional disorder in a child with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1988; 27(1):88-89 / Medline ID: 88139122

    Q: Can chiropractic care be effective in hyperactive children? Are there specific areas of the spine which can be pinpointed for this problem? G.D. in PA

    A: Yes, chiropractic has been shown to be effective in hyperactive children. The area of the spine involved is usually the upper cervical area, usually the atlas. Above all, a nutritional change should be considered. Eliminating processed sugar foods could be beneficial.

The Hyperactive Child and Chiropractic

By: Larry Webster, D.C Originally printed in: Todays Chiropractic Jan/Feb 1988; 17(1):73-4

Depending on which study you read, there are now 1.5 to 3.5 million children who have been diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADDH). In some cases, the terms hyperkinetic and attention span deficiency cover the same diagnosis. Recent publicity has focused on the medical approach of using Ritalin (a stimulant medication) in these cases. This particular type of drug has been used for a longer period, and more frequently by far, than any other psychoactive drug administered for childhood psychiatric disorders. Its efficacy and side effects are well documented and are part of the chemical treatment used by most, if not all, child and adolescent psychiatrists.

Characteristics of ADDH In using medication to “control” child the child’s behavior pattern, the results are inconsistent and controversial. One child may become subdued and controllable, while others may become even more “hyper” and uncontrollable. In several case studies, it seemed initially that some improvement was obtained from medication, but later serious side effects developed and the child lapsed back into the original symptoms. Other symptoms developed, as well. The most common of these were nail biting, crying easily, and irritability. Several children bit their fingernails until they bled while manifesting no sign of pain during the biting.

In medical studies of ADDH, there is evidence that diminished activity of the brain DA may exist and that this neurotransmitter abnormality may contribute to the pathophysiology of this syndrome. With this evidence of a neurotransmitter abnormality and the inherent danger of side effects of the medication, a serious look at the chiropractic approach to this disorder must be made.

In our early studies of hyperactivity we observed interconnecting factors in the hyperactive child. One, a diet heavy In sugar-rich foods and/or junk foods was revealed. Two, a chronic subluxation of the upper cervical spine, mainly the atlas vertebra, was presented.

Regarding neurotransmitter abnormality with a chronic upper cervical subluxation, we now have the start of chiropractic management of ADDH. In the early 1950’s, a study by Dr. George Malcolm of Canada labeled the spine as a “shock organ”. By this, he meant that certain chemicals, food preservatives, dyes, or other pollutants could cause the spine to subluxate. Although this particular observation that chemicals can produce subluxations was not new in chiropractic, perhaps the term “shock organ” was new.

After reading this study, we began our own study on children focusing on the effect of these “chemicals” producing subluxations. The study utilized pre and post examinations in the following manner. The hyperactive was checked via nerve instrument, palpation, and thermographic plates. The adjustment (usually a toggle-type) was made, and after 15 minutes a post examination was made to determine a change.

Some very interesting observations were made while establishing the effect of these “chemicals” producing a subluxation, thereby indicating the possibility of initiating a neurotransmitter abnormality, and the bottom line of ADDH, in the child. In the studies, each child was asked to keep a diet diary, containing records of everything ingested in a two week period. Then, we determined whether one of these foods could be producing a subluxation, discovered in Malcolm’s studies.

We could examine the child, record our findings, and then have the child ingest the suspected substance. Our findings did indicate the spine was a “shock organ”, and certain preservatives, food dyes, and processed sugars did produce abnormal readings after immediate ingestion of the chemical. In some of the cases, we could have the child change his diet, monitor and adjust it, and then find our readings greatly reduced. We also felt that the subluxation was greatly reduced.

In several of the study groups, we would have the child immediately ingest the suspected chemical irritant after our post-improvement findings. On re-examination, our readings were off the wall again. Our conclusion was that in a chronic subluxation, as in these children, it took less and less chemical irritant each time to maintain the subluxation.

One of the major problems in treating the hyperactive child is dietary control. So many food products can irritate the nervous system that the chiropractor may have a difficult time eliminating or finding the “shock” food. We also found that parents at times chose not to exercise dietary control over their child, even though it may benefit the childs health care. The youngster wakes up to find a sugar laced cereal (such as Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms, or Crunch Berries) on the table for breakfast. In the grocery store, you can find more than 100 brands of cereal which have a sugar content of up to 68 percent. (If you write us, we can send you a list of the sugar content of approximately 80 of these cereals.) In many cases, not only will the child be served cereal with a high sugar content, but he will then place extra sugar on the cereal.

In the case of food dyes, you must be careful of red and yellow colorings. These seem to be major irritants. Forty years ago, the chiropractor did not have to pay much attention to dietary effects on the subluxation. dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals were not found in food products. Now, with studies indicating that the spine can subluxate in reaction to these addatives, we must heed these factors and isolate them.


By: Larry. Webster, D.C.

Depending on which study you read, there may be as many as four million children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADDH)

In some cases, the term hyperkinetic and attention span deficiency are used instead. Publicity has focused on the medical approach of using Ritalin – a stimulant medication which has been used for a longer period of time and more frequently by far, than any other psychoactive drug for childhood psychiatric disorders. We find that in a great many cases the parents are not given all the facts about Ritalin and as a rule know nothing about the chiropractic approach to ADDH.

In an early study titled Hyperactive children as Teenagers follow up on 83 children two to five years later revealed:

  • 92% had been treated with Ritalin

  • 60% were still overactive and had poor school work
  • 59% had some contact with police
  • 83% had trouble with lying
  • 52% were labeled as destructive

Ritalin is speed. Ritalin has the same drug classification as morphine, opium and cocaine. In fact the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that Ritalin is an extremely addictive substance and that classical symptoms of Ritalin usage and cocaine dependence are the same. Also stated in the Manual is the main complication of withdrawal from Ritalin substance is suicide. According to Medical Economics, chronic use of Ritalin has produced psychosis. Ritalin is definitely not a safe drug.

The late Robert Mendelson, M.D. made a most interesting comment about ADDH and the use of Ritalin, Dr. Mendelson stated that “So many children are being called hyperactive by the experts that I wonder whether many of them actually are perfectly normal in contrast to the hypoactive children who serve as the reference base. If we’re not careful, we’ll soon find the non-hyperactive being drugged with prescriptions for hyperactivity to arouse them from there lethargy.

In the publication, Physiological Medicine, Roselise Wilkinson MD. states “We deplore the careless manner in which Ritalin use is regarded by many educators, psychologists, and medical personnel. It is often prescribed hastily, without adequate evaluation and by authority figures who are placing unreasonable pressure on parents who wish to do the best for their child.”

Ritalin itself is used mainly in school age children and is the subject of much debate. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant that activates the arousal system in the brain stem and cortex, in effect producing increased alertness. How it does this is unknown. The only other indication for use of Ritalin is for the condition of narcolepsy, a disorder of abnormal sleep. (An oxymoron perhaps).

Some of the signs that are present in the child to diagnose ADDH are:

  1. A child easily distracted by outside stimuli.
  2. A child who talks excessively.
  3. A child who fidget in their seat.
  4. A child who blurts out answers to unfinished questions.

<This sounds a little like me at my present age. >

Clarke, National Spokesman for citizen Commission on Dennis Human Rights states “there is not a single normal activity which the psychiatrist have not labeled as mental childhood illness.”

The manufacturer of Ritalin (Ciba-Geigy) warns that the drug should not be used under the age of six. The long-term effects of Ritalin have not been established and of course the mechanism of how Ritalin works in the body is not understood. Some side effects of Ritalin are: stunting of growth, depression, chronic headaches, nervousness, skin rash, blood pressure and pulse changes and development of Tourette’s Syndrome.

In one most unusual case a parent was urged to place her son on Ritalin. The child was getting bad reports from the teachers and at the teacher-parent conference ,the teacher again urged the consideration of placing the child on Ritalin. The mother then started giving the child a vitamin each morning but telling the child it was Ritalin. When the teacher asked the child if he had taken the Ritalin the child, of course, answered yes. Then the report turned around 360 degrees. Could this have been a case of hypoactive children being compared to normal children as Mendelson stated?

In the Journal of Behavioral Optometry (1991) in evaluation studies
of the use of Ritalin in children since 1976 it states that “the
studies do not show the efficiency of Ritalin for helping hyperactive
children and should be apparent to the skeptic and make a skeptic
out of the believers of Ritalin.

our personal studies evaluating both the dietary habit of the child
and the spine, we have found that chiropractic can be an effective
tool in handling of the diagnosed ADDH child. Ritalin is certainly
not the answer and the parent should definitely be leery of the
statement that Ritalin has no side effects.