ADD or The Hyperactive Child: the Homeopathic Approach
As a physician who has successfully treated hundreds of ADD/ADHD patients over the years, and based on my training in different healing modalities (internal medicine, neurology, acupuncture and homeopathy), I think I am in a good position to compare the value of different treatments for these children.
What is normal behavior in a child? I remember when childhood was an ungraded test. Growing up in Belgium, I built forts and played cowboys and Indians. The real clock did not start until high school. Now children get homework in the first grade and parents do anything to help their children get ahead, like putting three-year-olds in a private school for $9,000 a year. Is there still a place for childhood in an anxious America? My own childhood behavior, if I were in elementary school today, would surely trigger a psychological evaluation, followed by the inevitable prescription of Ritalin.
So what about that ubiquitous Ritalin? Why does a stimulant sometimes seem to calm a hyperactive child? Doctors don’t know why. (Ask a homeopath though, and he will tell you about the homeopathic law
“Like Cures Like.” When it works —for a limited time—it’s because the child’s particular symptoms match the behavior stimulated by the drug.) It has now been used for a half century, and one hypothesis of why Ritalin works is that ADHD stems from inadequate dopamine levels in the brain, but proof of this has been tough to come by. What are the latest findings?
- Ritalin works for a short time in some children to reduce symptoms of ADHD, but no studies have proved a lasting effect on academic performance.
- Safety? It causes insomnia, a decrease in appetite, and delayed growth, disturbing news considering that 50% of children derive no benefit whatsoever from Ritalin
- A positive response initially to Ritalin does not automatically mean a child suffers from ADHD. Stimulants will temporarily sharpen almost anyone’s focus!
- It is not a panacea. It will not boost IQ nor help children whose main symptoms are not “hyperactivity” but rather “inattention” or “daydreaming,” a problem that affects more girls with ADHD than boys.
This growing availability of Ritalin (its use has increased 7 fold over the past 8 years) raises fears of abuse, while in one study Ritalin caused liver cancer mice (although this was not considered a reason to stop the drug). Well-meaning teachers pressure parents to put a child on Ritalin when they feel his behavior disturbs the classroom. This leads to anguish on the part of the parents, who must decide whether their child’s very active behavior is abnormal to the point of needing treatment and whether to use drugs to control that behavior.
Individualization is the key in treating any chronic condition with homeopathy, but it is particularly important in treating children with ADHD. Symptoms in these children can vary greatly: some are violent and aggressive, others are sweet, sensitive and compassionate, trying to cooperate fully with the physician although unable to concentrate in school. This diversity explains why no one medication, whether prescription or homeopathic, will work for all these children.
Let’s have an in-depth look at homeopathy.
Advantages of homeopathy
Homeopathy is a true science based on laws and principles AND the only scientific way of testing its validity: remedies tested on healthy individuals, not animals neither sick patients as is done in Western medicine. Western medicine has no principles or laws, except that “the Contrary Cures the Contrary.” This is why no therapy in Western medicine survives the test of time. After some years, at first heralded therapies are abandoned and new ones are pursued. They call it progress, but true healing methods have survived centuries of scrutinies. Homeopathy is almost 200 years old while acupuncture survived 5,000 years. What was true and efficient then still is now! What is left of medicine from 200 years ago? Thank God nothing, because deaf people were put in asylums, mental patients got flogged and tortured, while starving, purging and blood letting were crude methods performed by the “star” physicians of that time. That modern medicine still changes its opinions on the drop of a hat is demonstrated daily. AZT, the “miracle” drug for AIDS patients was first advised to be taken not only by full-blown AIDS patients, but also by anyone who tested HIV positive without symptoms. Shortly after this it was found that half of the doses worked as well and cut down on the side-effects. Then a study in Europe showed that AZT did not provide any benefit in prolonging the quantity and quality of an AIDS patient, followed recently by advise in the USA that doctors should not prescribe AZT automatically to AIDS patients. From riches to rags in a couple of years.
Before I start explaining you what homeopathy can do for your ADD child, consider the advantages of homeopathy when compared to Western medicine.
- The treatment is individualized-it considers the whole patient himself through symptoms, rather than the disease as a name. Too often, we physicians think that our work is finished when we put the patient in a category of disease. “Yes, you have ADD. Here is the prescription for Ritalin. Go home and pray that it will work.” Homeopathy does not need a name of disease. It looks at the person as a whole and tries to find the contributing factors of disease.
- All remedies recommended in homeopathy have extensive human experiment. Contrary to what opponents of homeopathy would have you believe, all remedies are tested in the only scientific way, i.e. on normal, healthy individuals.
- The homeopathic method of prescribing on a totality of symptoms is designed to be curative, not just palliative and suppressive as when takes a sleeping pill for insomnia. Little in allopathic medicine is directed at reparation.
- Homeopathy has its time-tested usefulness. Medical fads run their course and disappear rapidly, whereas homeopathy is practiced all over the world.
- There is no drugging effect, and there are no side-effects from homeopathic remedies. Unwanted effects are homeopathic aggravations, recognized by the well-trained homeopath and easily managed.
- Its cost is very modest and its application is simple. Practicing homeopathy by a majority of physicians would turn the health budget around over night!! This is quite different from the high prices of drugs now often used in ADD/ADHD like Ritalin, Cylert or Tofranil with all their side effects. Not one ADD/ADHD patient in this world has to stay sick because they can’t afford the medications.
- Most of the remedies are prepared from fresh plants and minerals. Properly stored away from heat or radiation, they keep their strength indefinitely.
Is it not amazing that despite this long list of the benefits of homeopathy that some not-so-well-intentioned people still label this great science as quackery?
Practical plan for the ADD/ADHD patient
Time-Line for Order of Treatment and Diagnosis
For a physician, every investigation into an illness starts with a good inquiry. Getting the facts together, the symptoms with their modalities and the different factors in the patient’s lifestyle which contribute to the disease are essential in restoring the patient’s health. Yet most physicians neglect the all-important question: “What happened in your life when you became sick or just before you became sick?” I see enough doctor’s reports from my patient. They are explicit enough in the description of symptoms and the enumeration of the different illnesses, but they rarely link the onset of the disease to a meaningful event in the patient’s life. Yet the onset is most often the clue to the solution. For your ADD child, identifying the onset will be your first task. Communicate to your physician the exact circumstances and the first symptoms observed.
Some examples that I have seen in practice will clarify this. Of ten ADD children I treat, they all may be getting the same prescription medication, but they may have ten different beginnings or etiologies. They may have been“never well since” such diverse circumstances as:
- a heartbreak (divorce of parents, death of a pet, moving from the childhood home)
- a fright (locked in a car trunk, or almost killed in a car accident)
- changing schools
- difficult delivery when being born, sometimes with a trauma to the head from the use of forceps or suction, sometimes with temporary lack of oxygen
- the longterm effects of an operation, because of sensitivity to anesthesia
- severe diarrhea with dehydration
- recurrent antibiotic intake
- the death of a family member
I have seen all these factors lead to ADHD cases in my practice. Your pediatrician may not be able to make anything of this information, but a homeopathic physician will come up with ten different remedies for these ten different children. Doesn’t it make more sense to treat the root of the problem, and not merely the little sick branches (the symptoms)? Yet most doctors, alternative or conventional, do little more than trimming the twigs (removing the symptoms) because they do not know how to treat the sick root, the source of the symptoms. Conventional medicine does not have the tools to repair the beginnings of ADD. So they keep on using the few medications that cover some of its symptoms. Only holistic modalities like acupuncture and chiropractic and especially homeopathy are capable of turning ADD patient’s lives around.
Determine What Kind of ADD Child you have: Help through Hereditary (Miasmatic) background
The term “miasm” is an old medical term used in Hahnemann’s time (the 1800’s) and by Dr. Hahnemann himself to reflect a certain “predisposition, a defect” that can be transferred from generation to generation. This theory so well set-out by Hahnemann corresponds to our genetic work of today, except that homeopaths are two hundred years ahead of conventional medicine in applying this theory in practice. For more explanation of miasms, I can refer you to my book Human Condition Critical. For the purpose of this article, it is sufficient to classify these ADD/ADHD children into four major groups, which I will call the Support-Needy, the Stimulation/Excitement Seekers, the Destructive ones, and the Changeable/Restless. As we will see, each of these groups has different symptoms and behavioral expressions, which will reflect the many different kinds of ADD/ADHD children we have. Don’t we have some that can’t pay attention, but are the sweetest kids around? Others are restless and seem to forget the moment you teach them something. Then there are those who feel the need to be malicious and hurt someone, while some ADHD children exhibit the constant need to kiss and touch everyone around. Are all these children alike? Obviously not, so the myth that a drug like Ritalin would cover all of these children is just that, a myth.
Let’s look at the four major groups.
The Support-Needy Ones
- hypersensitive to environmental factors
- moody (anger and tears) and impressionable
- lazy and apathetic, day dreamers
- inconsistent thoughts, cannot materialize what he thinks (theorizing), thoughts come too fast, they cannot stay put in one channel
- fictious thoughts, builds castles in the air
- inability to concentrate, weakness of memory
- slow learners, need to “mull” things over; it leads to being perceived as “dumb”, even by the child himself
- passionate indulgence to achieve unnecessary objects with mental restlessness
- easily fatigued, mentally and physically with a desire to lie down
- complain they want to do something but they don’t know what
- anxieties and phobias in children: fear of darkness, being alone, animals, going to school, fear of failure in school, fear of being laughed at
- aversion to be in company of strangers, crowds; likes to be one-on-one, being with his one “best” friend or would rather play by himself
- chronic worriers: about leaving home, coming too late at school, not performing well at school, about the welfare of their parents, sensitive about horrible things they see on TV, in the street (they are greatly disturbed by them)
- lack of discipline, untidy appearance
- very attached at the home, does not want to leave family to go to summer camp; cries when having to go to school, hangs on to the mother and looks for constant reassurance; invites friends to come play at his home, does not want to play at friend’s home unless it is in the immediate neighborhood
- when family splits (divorce), this child can feel lost and will join a gang, “just to belong”; or he suddenly changes his behavior from easy going to very volatile, even aggressive behavior (cursing, inappropriate sexual behavior, kicking,punching holes in the wall, etc.)
- when sick, is very clingy, wants constant reassurance, wants to be held or have mother at home
- loves playing in nature, in the woods, camping on an island, loves all kinds of animals and dogs are often their only friend
- cannot tolerate noise and crowded places
- lots of imagination
- standing in one place tortures him most, but dislikes exercise except being in the water (pool, ocean)
- very stubborn: can brood for hours, can throw temper tantrums when refused something
- likes to collect things: cards, memorabilia, “antiques,” toys and dislikes to share them except with his best friend
- loves food in general, eats or snacks all the time; favorites are rich, creamy foods, ice cream, milk although it often disagrees, meat; chews on his pencil or as a baby eats sand at the beach
- timidity: in conversations, at parties, at school: they don’t like the attention drawn to them, don’t like to be looked at; avoid taking initiative, are always followers, never a leader even to the point of cowardice
Over stimulation, the ones looking for Excitement
- suspicious and jealous; quarrelsome with tendency to harm others and cruelty to animals; sometimes exaggerated, pathological love for animals (it is the only being they bestow their attention on)
- lack of affection, anger from trifles
- can’t sit still doing his homework, restless legs while sitting, tapping with his pencil while sitting; sitting still in a classroom is like a bird being in a cage; they need to interrupt the teacher, calling out answers when not asked
- rudeness and mischieviousness
- absent minded: loses thread of conversation, loss of short-term memory, inattention, easily distracted by slightest diversion, is in a constant brain fag
- best time to do their mental work is the evening (8 p.m. till 3 a.m.), unfortunately that’s when they come “alive” for other things too: they love the night life and go to the extreme of switching the day life to the night life; of course then they are exhausted the next day in school
- tendency to conceal things, lies easily, boasts all the time; conceals “parts” of the real him: his performances at school, athletic performances, successes with the opposite sex, etc., he exaggerates the extent of them
- loves and needs company: the more people, the better; has no problems to get acquainted with strangers, people are very charmed by the sycotic child who is full of tricks and inventiveness
- loves to hang out with a bunch of his friends, looking for mischievous things to do, looking for the next short-living thrill; they are dare-devils, taking risks just to look good with their friends; they incite others to do the same daring deeds; they love films with high speed, stunts, guns; they rather live a short life full of excitement than a long “boring” life
- jealousy can be outspoken: towards friends, younger siblings, the success other children have at school, towards the “jocks” at school
- children with colic from birth on
- impatient, wants things now, can’t take no for an answer
- will do anything to get the attention of others: bright clothes, orange hair, tattoos, rings through the nose, flaunting their bodies with tight jeans, miniskirts, bare midriffs; they love to “shock” people and their parents
- mind on sexual organs, preoccupation with sexuality
- great physical stamina when excited by things he is doing: sports, dancing, playing music; otherwise complains about feeling too fatigued to do his homework upon returning from school; but feels great again in the evening
- mental and physical restless sleep
- suspicious, mean, selfish
- suicidal tendency in the heat of the passion (“no one understands me,” two friends committing suicide together
The Destructive Ones
- the child can’t explain and does not realize his symptoms
- mentally dull, ignorant, stupid, sulky, sullen, morose
- he can read but can’t retain, must reread to comprehend; slowness in comprehension, they forget what they were about to say
- urge for destruction is very characteristic: breaks things, with a malicious intent; loves to destroy toys, books, your furniture; cruelty with absence of remorse
- at slightest provocation, and even without, resorts to fighting, cursing, nasty behavior; everybody “is out there to hurt him;” he hates everything: his life, school, work, parents, the government
- lack of sense of duty and responsibility, cold blooded, perversion
- aversion to company, introvert; locks himself up in his room and plays on the computer; asocial, misanthropic
- depression, despair, sulking with suicidal tendencies: “giving up on life,” rather a lack of passion
- laughs inappropriately (in school, at a funeral, etc.)
- they like to hurt people (emotionally too) and animals: kick their dog for no reason; they like to hurt their younger sibling out of satisfaction it gives them
- disrespectful to any authority (teachers, parents, physicians, police, etc.); they dress to shock people, but not for the thrill, rather to hurt people, out of meanness, as a show of disrespect for the rest of the world
- they are fascinated with cemeteries, satanic cults, Dracula and have a morbid interest in skeletons or medical books looking up pictures of deformed people
- unsuccessful in arithmetical calculations
- great restlessness, driving him out of bed
- no mercy, sympathy or affection, despotic, domineering
- hereditary tendency to alcoholism; consumes alcohol not to belong or for the excitement, rather to numb the isolated, sad feelings he has; tendency to take street drugs and medical drugs; addictive personality
- fascination especially with knives, also guns
- tendency to depression; wants to be left alone; indifferent to pleasurable things, avoids people in general (not because he is timid, but because he does not like people in general)
- complete aversion to meat
- behavior worse from sunset to sunrise
- depression, suicide, mental disease, alcoholism in the family history
The Dissatisfied and Changeable Ones
- good memory but easily fatigued by mental work, becoming confused and averse to mental work
- impatient if their wishes are not happening fast enough; or giving up easily when the desired result is not forthcoming
- easily impressionable, easily enthusiastic, but tiring quickly in their interest; they change the object/subject of their interest very quickly
- temper tantrums with breaking and throwing things when their little whims are not satisfied quickly enough
- they crave excitement and new things all the time; they hardly take the time to explore the new things, settings, places, etc.
- loquacious in the class, frustrated with rigid teachers, easily coming along with excitable ones
- loves to run around, listening to music
- tend to be allergic to fury animals (dogs, cats)
- argumentative and contrary behavior
- biting, destroying toys, books
- refuses to come into consulting room, shrieks and yells and kicks; unreasonable terror in a child at a medical examination or with strangers
- loves bacon, smoked foods, milk, salt, chocolate
- fear of thunder, being alone, being in the dark
Many of the ADHD children will fall under the Stimulation/Excitement group. Yet I have seen ADHD children from all four groups and sometimes symptoms of different groups in one child. The well-trained homeopathic physician will recognize which group is mainly represented in that child. Then his task starts. Each of these groups have numerous remedies. The physician will tailor the remedy to each child, thereby assuring success in the outcome. Often the child’s life is changed on every plane: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just to give you one example of the hundreds I have been treating:
An 8 year-old child suffered since age 2 from recurrent ear infections. Every cold went to the ears. Now at age 8 he had a 30% hearing loss. He was diagnosed with ADHD because his behavior was asocial, he hated everything, paid no attention, was labeled dumb, and he threatened to kill his mother on a daily basis. After a full examination, it was concluded he belonged to the Destructive group of ADHD. An appropriate remedy was prescribed and taken once only. Result: from the very next day on, his behavior changed dramatically. He became sweet and affectionate. This behavior three months later was still the same, without having to repeat the remedy at all. During this time, he got a cold. Upon examination by his ENT doctor, no ear infection was found. Even more astonishing to the physician, a new audiogram (hearing test) showed a complete normal result. Surprising? Not to a skilled homeopath. Anecdotal? Not if we can repeat such results, and we can! I hope that many parents and teachers alike may discover the wonders of homeopathy: their children’s future is depending on it!