Because I work with pregnant mamas and women with little ones, I get a lot of questions about natural remedies for childhood disorders like ADHD.
And they’re good questions—ADHD has been on the rise for the past 10 years. New parents want to know if there’s anything they can do to prevent it from happening to their kids, and parents whose kids already have ADHD want to know if there’s anything they can do besides a prescription to ease symptoms for their kiddos.
So today I’m starting a three-part series where I’m going to dive deep into the root causes of ADHD, what preventative measures you can take before and after you get pregnant, AND what natural remedies you can use if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and is a neurological/behavior-related condition that can cause difficulty concentrating, impulsive behavior, and excessive energy (hyperactivity). Many kiddos are first diagnosed at around age 7, when they start school and have problems concentrating, following directions, difficulty staying organized, being forgetful about completing tasks, and having difficulty sitting still. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls, and about 4 percent of adults in the US over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis.
The scary part is that diagnoses of ADHD have been increasing DRAMATICALLY. From 2003 to 2011, reported cases have increased by 42%. That’s HUGE. So what the heck is going on!?
First let’s talk a little bit about what causes ADHD to begin with.
Researchers have known for a while that ADHD runs in families (and therefore has a genetic component), and that maternal exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy also increases the risk of a child developing ADHD. Other prenatal risk factors include:
The good news about most of these risk factors is that they can be mitigated (meaning there’s plenty you can do to decrease their potential effects). But that’s not the whole story—it still doesn’t explain why cases of ADHD are increasing.
Our exposure to environmental toxins has ALSO been on the rise for many years. Environmental toxins are nearly impossible to avoid these days. They’re used in all kinds of manufacturing, in our water, in our personal care products, and even in our food (read my blog posts Non-Toxic Cleaning Tips and Recipes, Clean Makeup and Why it Matters, and How Toxins Might Be Impacting Your Fertility for more info on our exposure to environmental toxins). Common food additives are already linked with all kinds of issues like “endocrine disruption, insulin resistance, reduced immune response, thyroid hormone alterations, and neonatal hypothyroidism” and the toxins they contain are also impacting the neurological development of our children.
Just a few of the researched toxins associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities (like ADHD) are:
And many of those (like pesticides) are found in and on the majority of the food we consume.
If you combine increased exposure to toxins with genetic predisposition to ADHD that carries over to the next generation, you’re essentially multiplying the risk for ADHD with every generation.
There’s hope! (I promise).
Next week I’ll cover all the things you CAN do to help prevent ADHD.
Looking to have a more in-depth conversation about ADHD root causes? Schedule a consultation with me!