Post written by Contributing Writer (and my Beloved), Calvin.
Thank you, everyone, for your great comments to my previous post on Naturally Managing ADD. I love it when people are in conversation and community. Let’s help each other out!
I thought it most efficient to write a follow-up post, instead of trying to respond to everything each person said. By all means, let’s keep the conversations going. It should be mentioned, however, that anything I mention or others mention in their comments should not substitute the diagnosis and advice of a physician.
Which leads me to my first point. One of the first and most important steps to take in the ADD journey is to at least talk to a psychologist or physician trained to spot ADD and differentiate ADD from other conditions. Some readers have already mentioned that ADD can look like depression and vice versa, for instance. Then there’s the truth of different types of ADD to explore and different treatments for each, and it can get pretty complicated.
As with everything in life, ADD is a beautiful opportunity to fly to the Lord.
Start in prayer, walk in prayer, cover every decision in prayer. The Lord made you or your family member this way on purpose for His glory.
Ask him to lead you to a medical professional who can walk with you and encourage you, not simply label and medicate you. In fact, ADD may not even appear in a physician’s office. Mine was only officially identified after wrestling with long-term self-medication habits and family life in a counselor’s office, as I developed practical “tools” for life. She “happened” to have ADD herself, and knew what to look for.
Turning to the practical, it may be necessary to start your search for help in a pediatrician’s office, even if the ADD person is an adult. Pediatricians are often more up-to-date with the latest in ADD research, since ADD is considered primarily a pediatric condition. He or she can at least give you a list of other providers to contact.
A number of folks commented about L-Tyrosine. A word of caution: L-Tyrosine is not a cure- all for all types of ADD. L-Tyrosine is especially used to help one to focus and think clearly. If a particular ADD brain has problems with overfocus, L-tyrosine taken alone would only worsen the problem.
Dr. Amen in “Healing ADD” recommends taking St. John’s Wort with L-Tyrosine for some types of ADD. Dosages vary, and one needs to exercise great caution if taking any natural supplements while also taking prescribed antidepressants. Again, seek professional advice. (Note: I’ve recently learned that breastfeeding women, for example, should not take individual amino acids, and a combination supplement is usually preferred, under the direction of your healthcare professional.)
So how does one parent a child or teenager with ADD?
I speak not as a child psychologist, but as one who kind of has to “parent” myself. And I’m finding the following tips work well with one of my little ones whom I’m strongly suspecting has some type of ADD.
- Be consistent with routines and discipline.
Often parents need to be the anchors the child ties to, as you work together in the goal of training the young person to set up their own structures.
- Discipline in control of your emotions.
ADD people can do some really puzzling (madding!) things. The temptation is to fall into a guilt cycle: parent explodes, feels guilty, relaxes expectations, kid falls back into undesired behavior, parent explodes. Discipline means to teach, not simply to punish.
- Go out of your way to praise successes.
ADD folk tend to fall into self-defeating self-talk, berating themselves into hopelessness. Be on their side and show them they are beautiful works of art.
- Watch their diet!
Avoid foods that have had the natural color, thence the nutrition, removed. Avoid artificial colors and flavors, and corn syrup/sweeteners like the plague they are. The human body uses precious B vitamins needed by the brain to digest refined foods. White rice and all-purpose flour should be substituted with whole grains (if you’re not trying a grain-free diet). Give your child every advantage possible nutritionally.
It’s interesting to note the above tips work well with any child. I think the goal is the same:
To raise whole people who can love and serve their God to their highest potential. Their utmost for His highest.
ADD may seem like a challenge to this goal.
Really, ADD is a beautifully organic way to reach this goal.
Calvin is a dad of two munchkins and the husband of his Lover and Editor, Michele. He likes hanging out with kids while showing them God’s extravagance. He roams his community at night as a volunteer firefighter & EMT. By day, he owns and operates a sustainable, real food Bed & Breakfast in the Pacific Northwest.