What is “Real Focus”?
Focus, concentration, attention… all are crucial for learning and maturing for a child. Yet, it seems to be a problem for so many of our children.
The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has skyrocketed over the past few generations.
According to WebMD “ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.”
Notice, that the definition describes behaviors, but fails to address what is causing the behaviors. At some point, someone drew a big circle around a group of symptoms and called it a “disorder”, as if a descriptive term really told us anything about the problem.
In fact, the diagnosis is typically made after a survey is filled out by the parent and/or teacher. That can give us a lot of information about problematic behaviors but fails to address the “why’s” behind the behaviors. Generally, treatment is initiated based on that survey. And, generally, that treatment is a pharmaceutical drug that is designed to alter the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. (Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that allow for communication between brain cells.)
Over the past few years I have started to dive deeper into the root causes of ADHD and found multiple causes for the behaviors. Nutrient deficiencies, anxiety, thyroid problems, genetic variations, learning disorders and many other things can all lead to the behaviors found in ADHD kids. Often times, the stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD work, but they fail to address the underlying causes.
It’s like you come face to face with a tiger.
If you throw a blanket over the tiger, you will no longer see it…
and you can pretend that the dander is gone.
But it doesn’t change the fact that the tiger is there…
and it is still a problem.
That’s how many drugs work.
They mask the problem. They make it look like it isn’t there.
But they aren’t without risks.
They can have short-term and long-term detrimental effects.
And they do nothing to take care of the problem.
The problem is still there.
Now, if the tiger is removed from the area, you no longer need a blanket to cover it up.
That’s our goal when treating root causes.
We want to find out what the problem is and give the body what it needs to heal itself.
So, you may have gathered by now that our approach to ADHD is a bit different. We still use the behavior checklist forms. But before going directly to a pharmaceutical treatment we look for causes.
We get a detailed health history looking for stressors— both emotional and physical.
We invite the parents into the process of investigating the causes of the symptoms and give them tools to help the body and brain work more efficiently.
We recommend supplements that have been well documented to help the brain function more effectively.
We may recommend techniques that allow the nervous system to move away from an ongoing “fight or flight” response to the world.
We do initial laboratory studies that look for nutritional deficiencies, thyroid function, etc. All of which is well studied, but buried deep within the medical literature.
Depending upon the child, he/she may need further testing to look for learning differences that can look like inattention on the surface.
Our treatment plans are made after we have the right information to make the best decisions.
Treatment will include lifestyle interventions that help to support the body’s innate ability to heal.
Nutritional supplementation and dietary changes, neurofeedback, stress reduction, fresh air and sunshine, immune support & gut healing are all a part of our approach to treating the whole child.
We have seem amazing things happen with this approach.
Instead of using brain altering medications that change kids’ personalities and numb their interaction with the world, we are watching them blossom into their potential.
It’s not immediate. And its not a quick fix. But it is real and powerful.
It is real health!
Honestly, this approach has put me at odds with some parents and school personnel.
Our society has conditioned us to expect quick answers and a drug to treat every problem.
It’s time for us as parents to expect more.
It’s time for those of us who are medical practitioners to do more to help our children to be the healthiest versions of themselves.