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ADHD Symptoms: Categories of Behavior and a Natural Approach

ADHD child in trouble image

You’ve just received another call from your child’s teacher about his behavior in school today. You know what she’s saying is true, but you feel guilty and defensive. After all, this is your child she’s speaking about. But he often acts out at home, when you’re out shopping and when he’s visiting friends – the friends he has left, anyway. She’s recommending that he be evaluated for ADHD and, “You know, ” she says, “there are plenty of medications available that will keep his behavior in line.”

Wow, if it were just that easy…and safe. But it’s not, and you’re at odds with friends, family and school officials alike because you believe, “He’s just a boy!” But is that all it is? Or, does your child have all the symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD Symptoms: Confusion and Controversy

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed illness in children and sales of ADHD medications are at a record high. During the past 20 years, in fact, the incidence of ADHD has risen 400%, with a corresponding increase in the number or prescriptions written for ADHD’s usual drug treatment of choice, Ritalin.

The problem is that controversy surrounds both diagnosis and treatment because no definitive test exists to rule it in or out and ADHD medications contain risky and potentially dangerous side effects.

What makes matters even worse is that fact that different ADHD sources list different diagnostic criteria, making this one of the most widely misunderstood, and perhaps misdiagnosed, illnesses of all time. And that means there are millions of children taking ADHD medications that may, in fact, not need them at all!

So let’s at least start by taking a look at some of the more widely agreed upon symptoms, by category.

ADHD Symptoms: Inattention

The inattention symptoms of ADHD used to be known simply as ADD, without the additional hyperactivity and impulsivity components. Now, these symptoms are just one category of the ADHD “syndrome.”

A child or adult with ADHD may have some of these symptoms of inattention:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details, making careless mistakes, handing in messy work on a regular basis
  • Frequently loses things necessary to complete a task or perform an activity (i.e., homework assignment)
  • Appears not to be listening when spoken to
  • Easily distracted by noises or other stimuli that most people can ignore
  • Inability to stay “on task” or to pay attention when attempting to complete a task
  • Procrastination, especially with tasks/activities that require concentration or extended amounts of time to complete
  • Inability to stay focused in conversations; frequent shifts from one topic to the next when speaking
  • Disorganized, making it difficult to start/complete tasks and assignments
  • Forgetfulness (appointments, school supplies needed for class, etc.)
  • Failure to complete school assignments, work-related tasks, chores at home
  • Shifting from one task to another, without completing any

In children, these characteristics don’t often become noticeable until the child is in a school setting. With ADHD adults, these symptoms often become more apparent in work-related or social situations.

ADHD Symptoms: Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity symptoms usually show up before the age of seven and are frequently noticed when a child starts preschool.

A child or adult with ADHD may have some of these symptoms of hyperactivity:

  • Inability to sit still for any length of time, fidgety behaviors
  • Talks incessantly
  • Gets up and walks around frequently
  • May have difficulty playing quietly or observing “quiet time”
  • Runs around excessively
  • Is always “on the go” or “on the run”
  • Restlessness

ADHD Symptoms: Impulsivity

Problems with impulsivity usually lead to a lack of self control on the part of a child or adult with ADHD.

A child or adult with ADHD may have some of these symptoms of impulsivity:

  • Blurts out answers before a question is finished being asked
  • Has difficulty standing in line or waiting his/her turn
  • Interrupts others’ conversations or activities; invades others’ personal space
  • Often has difficulty keeping emotions in check – prone to angry outbursts, tantrums

Children and adults with symptoms of impulsivity often act out on thoughts before considering carefully the consequences that might be involved.

ADHD Symptoms and an ADHD Diagnosis

ADHD child with doctor image

So we have these lists of symptoms that any number of people, children and adult alike, may demonstrate over the course of any given day. What has to be present for a professional, trained in evaluating ADHD symptoms, to determine that ADHD is the definitive diagnosis, when there is no single, conclusive test for ADHD, like there is, say, for strep throat?

Well, it is generally agreed that the following criteria must be met before a firm diagnosis of ADHD can be offered:

  • Symptoms must first appear before age 7
  • Multiple symptoms from each category must be present for 6 months or longer
  • The symptoms have to affect the child’s ability to function in two or more settings (home, school, social)
  • Other physical/mental causes must have been explored and ruled out
  • The symptoms must not be considered normal for the child’s developmental level
  • The symptoms must have negative effects on school, home and/or social life

The bottom line is that these symptoms must be consistent and must seriously affect the child’s ability to function normally in two or more different settings.

Although ADHD starts in childhood, in 15 – 60% of all cases, it becomes adult ADHD, where the core symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity continue to be present, but show up as missed deadlines/appointments, restlessness, impatience, angry outbursts, mood swings, substance abuse, depression, low self-esteem and risky behaviors.

ADHD Treatment Options

So a childhood ADHD diagnosis is confirmed…so now what? Ritalin? Adderall? Concerta? Some other type of drug to control symptoms??

That is, of course, the usual ADHD treatment, but after reading the patient literature, you’re not sure what’s worse – ADHD symptoms or the medications used to treat them. You’re concerned and confused and your child’s school is exerting some pressure. And then…you read that chiropractic care might be helpful. What? How?

Addressing ADHD Symptoms with Chiropractic Care

We understand, every so often you hear of a solution that just doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. It makes no sense because you’re just not aware that it works! How can chiropractic care possibly help with the symptoms of ADHD? After all, chiropractic care is strictly for bad necks and backs, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. Not at all. It’s just what you’ve been led to believe is true. The sponsors of are chiropractors – compassionate health care providers who know that the symptoms of many conditions, like ADHD, are simply the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong in your nervous system. Nerves have become compromised in some way, interrupting the communication flow between the brain and the body.

Sounds like gibberish? Not if you understand the whole picture. The nerves in your body control every organ, every function, and every cell in your body. When there is interference in the nervous system, the affected nerves can’t do their job. They become compromised and the area of the body that they control is affected in some way as well.

How does this interference occur in the first place? It occurs as a result of spinal misalignment. When you fall, or have an accident, or injure yourself in some way, particularly if head trauma is involved, your spine can become misaligned, affecting the nerves that exit the spine at the point of misalignment.

Our sponsors are highly educated health care professionals. They’re trained to locate spinal misalignments and to correct them, and in doing so, they free up the impaired nerves so that they can go about the business of keeping your body running like the well-oiled machine that it is!

After any misalignments are corrected and the nerves are no longer compromised, the body is able to heal on its own, without drugs and without surgery. Chiropractic deals with causes, not symptoms (effects). When the ADHD cause is identified and addressed, the symptoms take care of themselves.

Can Chiropractic Help ADHD Symptoms?

Absolutely! Chiropractic care helps both adults and children with ADHD to behave normally, often eliminating the need for medication with dangerous side effects.

Many ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity, inability to pay attention, impulsivity) appear to originate as the result of a disturbance in the brain stem, located at the top of the spine. Every single nerve that goes out to every part of the body passes through the brain stem. A spinal misalignment in the upper cervical spine (first few vertebrae) can actually be responsible for the disturbance in the brain stem. So, chiropractic adjustments to this area of the spine are likely to correct this misalignment, thereby relieving the disturbance to the brain stem and addressing the cause of ADHD symptoms. Make sense?

What’s the Next Step?

Pick up the phone and call one of the sponsors of who will explain this to you in more detail. Make an appointment to take your child in for an examination and evaluation to see if chiropractic care might be a good fit for your child’s symptoms. Although no one can make any promises, our sponsors can share testimonials and stories about former ADHD sufferers with you. Many are now free from ADHD symptoms and no longer use any ADHD medications.

Your child deserves to experience all-natural relief of his or her ADHD symptoms, by addressing and correcting their cause, instead of just covering them up with potentially dangerous ADHD medications.

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