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ADHD Symptoms and Chiropractic

According to the CDC, “approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, and the percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011. Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006  and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011. Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD. The average age of ADHD diagnosis was 7 years of age, but children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD were diagnosed earlier.” 1

ADHD is identified by a few common symptoms such as:

  • impulsivity or “acting out”
  • hyperactivity, such as running and hitting
  • lack of focus, including inattentiveness
  • inability to sit still
  • physical aggression
  • talking excessively
  • frequently interrupting other peoples’ conversations and activities
  • being withdrawn
  • low self-esteem
  • anxiety
  • intellectual impairment
  • difficulty with academic achievement
  • inattentiveness or a tendency to “daydream”
  • trouble focusing
  • appearing not to listen
  • verbal aggression, such as teasing, taunting, or name-calling

Even with so many children being diagnosed with ADHD, it can sometimes be undiagnosed until adulthood; especially in girls. A diagnosis of ADHD can bring some relief in putting a name to a problem that you, or your child, have been dealing with for some time.

However, once the issue is known, most often the solution is a prescription. According to a f="" >report from the New York Times, “The number of young American adults taking medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder nearly doubled from 2008 to 2012. Drug manager, Express Scripts, which processes prescriptions for 90 million Americans, also found that almost one in 10 adolescent boys were taking medications for the disorder, usually stimulants such as Adderall or Concerta.

Express Scripts reported that the number of American adults receiving prescriptions for ADHD drugs had risen 53 percent, to an estimated 2.6 million in 2012 from 1.7 million in 2008. Use among young adults ages 26 to 34 almost doubled, to 640,000 from 340,000, during the four years.” 2

Side effects of ADHD medication

In one<a href=""> review  of the potential adverse effects of amphetamine treatment on brain and behavior, it was found that, amphetamines, which are the most commonly prescribed form of ADHD medication, “readily cross the blood-brain barrier to reach their primary sites of action in the brain.” And that because of the “acute administration of amphetamine,” it can produce “a wide range of dose-dependent behavioral changes, including increased arousal or wakefulness, anorexia, hyperactivity, perseverative movements, and, in particular, a state of pleasurable affect, elation, and euphoria, which can lead to the abuse of the drug.”</a>

Additionally, “Adverse effects listed in drug labels of prescription amphetamines include disturbances of mood and behavior in addition to cardiac and gastrointestinal effects. Most of these adverse events are considered “time-limited”, resolving rapidly after discontinuation of stimulant exposure. The most common drug-related effects are loss of appetite, insomnia, emotional lability, nervousness and fever.” However, “A recent review of 54 scientific studies concluded that a single stimulant dose can produce a psychotic response in 50−70% of patients with schizophrenia and pre-existing acute psychotic symptoms and 30% of schizophrenics without acute symptoms.

Clinical case reports of the induction of psychotic states by prescription stimulants have appeared occasionally. For example, one paper concluded that 10 mg of daily Adderal taken over five weeks for ADHD induced classic psychotic symptoms in a formerly drug-naive adolescent with no personal or family history of psychiatric disorders other than ADHD. Symptoms abated after 7 days (5 half lives) without drug.”

Web M.D  lists the most common side effects of ADHD medication as:

Nausea     Loss of appetite     Headaches     Dry mouth     Dizziness       Moodiness      Trouble sleeping    Tics

Chiropractic and ADHD symptoms

You may think it is strange to claim that a chiropractic adjustment can help with ADHD symptoms, however, chiropractic deals with the nerves connected to the spine, which affect the functioning of the whole body. When the nerves are affected by the misaligned spine it can cause all kinds of problems. It is said that ADHD is neurobiological which means that it stems from the nervous system.  Although the claim that Chiropractic relieves ADHD symptoms requires more research, there have been several case studies demonstrating those results.

In one 2004  case, it was found that a 5 year old boy, who was diagnosed with ADHD by his pediatrician, received 35 chiropractic treatments during the course of 8 weeks. After 27 chiropractic visits, the child’s pediatrician stated that the child no longer exhibited symptoms of ADHD.

One case  from 1998 showed how a 6 year old boy, diagnosed with ADHD since he was 3, received chiropractic care twice a week, for 6 weeks, whose teach though he had been put back on Ritalin because his symptoms had improved so much.

Another case from 2003  presented a nine-year old male with Tourette Syndrome (TS), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, asthma, insomnia, and headaches. After six weeks of chiropractic care, all six conditions were no longer present and all medications were discontinued with the exception of a half-dose of Wellbutrin. At the conclusion of his case at five months, all symptoms remained absent.