Old Wives Tales and Other Things That Just Might Help with ADHD

Here are some tips that I have picked up from parents that I have met over my 15 years working with ADHD kids and their families. These are not clinically tested. They are researched. These aren't remedies that I'd say are reliable or valid treatment approaches to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but I wanted to pass them on to you as they do seem to help some kids, and I wouldn't want to be the judge as to whether they might help your child or not. So you might want to try these from time to time and see what happens.

Some of your kids are very sensitive to certain foods, whether they be sugars, sugars paired with carbohydrates, certain food colorings, sodas, or even certain fruits. I have personally seen some children have nearly psychotic reactions to red grapes, for example. And many of my patient's parents report that their child has significant reactions to different foods or drinks. So, here are some things that some of these parents have reported working for them when their child goes "off" on foods:

1) Peanut Butter. Yes, several parents have told me that when their child gets really wound up after eating something that they shouldn't have, a spoon full of peanut butter will level their child out in about 10 minutes. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps the fat or the protein, but I really don't know.

2) Alka-Seltzer, especially Alka-Seltzer Gold. In the same situation as above, other parents report giving their child Alka-Seltzer. In fact, with the kid who went "crazy" after eating red grapes (and did so several times before red grapes were found to be the problem) the Alka-Seltzer did work every time to stop the problem within about 10-15 minutes. I have several parents who carry Alka-Seltzer around in their purses just in case their kids might need it when they go out together.

NOTE: Alka-Seltzer contains aspirin. NEVER give a child aspirin if he/she has a fever, as it may cause bad things to happen. This would probably be OK for teens and certainly for adults. Consult your doctor.

Why would this work? Well, I think it probably has something to do with blood sugar levels, blood pH levels, and the pancreas. Sugars, I am told, make the pH levels more acidic, which sends a message to the pancreas to make more insulin, which then quickly raises and then soon plummets. Through the roller coaster of insulin levels, the child may experience hyperactivity and then significant temper problems. Now, this is way beyond my level of expertise, since I am not an expert in blood sugar, etc. But I will say that we have had good success with a simple intervention.

When I am presented with a child who is ADHD and has a terrible temper in the morning when he first wakes up I recommend two things. First, no sugars after 7 PM, and second, as soon as he wakes up, drink a small cup of orange juice. This, so far, has helped the situation every time with every kid who has had this problem.

Now, I would never want you to believe that blood sugar problems cause ADD. It does not. However, a small percentage of ADD kids are very sensitive to problems like food and environmental allergies, blood sugar problems, and the like. Just because ALL ADD kids don't have these problems doesn't mean that NO ADD kids have these problems. Some do, and the above suggestions, strange as they are, might help some of you reading this newsletter. Let me know if they do help you. Oh, yes, as always consult your physician before doing something like this. This is not "medical advice" but merely old wives' tales. . .

To learn more about ADHD in children please visit us at the ADHD Information Library.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.

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