by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt (Dynamic Living Magazine) There is no one causative factor that can be ascribed to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD, ADHD). It is a complex and multifactorial spectrum of problems. The tendency for mainstream medicine to attribute ADHD to faulty brain chemistry is a false premise and gross oversimplification that comes from its limited reductionistic perspective and its desire to impose a pharmaceutical solution upon the problem. Altered brain chemistry may well be a symptom of these conditions but it is not, in the vast majority of cases, the cause. That is why drugs like Ritalin and Adderall that alter brain chemistry represent shortsighted solutions that do not address the real problem. While these drugs can temporarily dull the difficult child into submission, they come with some potentially serious side effects, such as seizures, heart arrhythmias, psychosis, and suicide.
Furthermore, most assumed etiologic factors are, in actuality, just triggers for these conditions and not true underlying causes. Dietary restrictions that minimize sugars, food dyes, preservatives and the like can often help diminish the intensity of symptoms in some cases, but they are usually not the final solution. Even if a pristine diet were to restore a child to normal, the underlying problem often remains as evidenced by the return of symptoms upon reintroduction of the offending dietary items.
Nature and Nurture:
The notion that ADHD is a genetic disorder is another example of regular medicine’s reductionistic tunnel vision. I believe it to be a mistaken belief closely related to the pervasive cultural myth that we will someday conquer most, if not all, diseases by means of technological proficiency. It suits the political and economic goals of the biotechnology and nanotechnology industries well.
The same applies to the overemphasis upon various techniques of brain imaging that seek to diagnose and someday treat ADHD. It represents a technological bias that favors physical explanations of causation, while ignoring some of the more obvious etiologies that don’t conform to the tech agenda.
As is the case with most illnesses, whether any given individual manifests ADHD traits is the result of a complex combination of one’s inherited predisposition coupled with factors that conspire to trigger it or bring it into being. It is often just a potentiality until the right (or wrong) stressor encourages its development. Mind you, I am not talking about genetic but, rather, energetic predispositions toward certain medical conditions.
Energetic inheritance is a ubiquitous phenomenon that can be illustrated by the following example. A married man with two developmentally “normal” children is held up at gunpoint on his way to work. In the following months he begins to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The couple then conceives and births a third child who begins to manifest signs of ADHD. The father’s trauma has been energetically transferred to the child who now displays a variety of fight or flight behaviors such as aggression, fear of the dark, and fear of being alone at night. Far from unusual, stories of this type are quite common.
The following are some of the primary factors that contribute to ADHD:
1. The pervasive violence that permeates all aspects of American culture is, no doubt, a very strong contributor to all forms of ADHD. Psychologists describe the two primary responses to violence as “fight or flight.” One either reacts with aggression or retreats in fear to a perceived threat. Those children on the “deficit” end of the ADHD spectrum are usually the ones who are fearful, inhibited, or even dissociated. They have turned inward and, thus, represent the “flight” response to violence. Those on the “hyperactive” end of the spectrum are the ones that display aggressive and destructive tendencies. They act as if their adrenaline is always pumping, and this represents the “fight” response to violence. Of course, many ADHD sufferers exhibit mixed characteristics that represent both fight and flight.
The steady diet of violence in all forms of media is a defining factor that has come to shape the American character. The implications for young minds that are frequently too immature to discern the difference between real and fantasy violence are staggering. The manufactured fear used by politicians to promote military conflict in this age of unending “terror” has the net effect of keeping everyone on edge. It is a wonder that we don’t all have ADHD.
2. There are a variety of other mental/emotional factors that frequently contribute to the development of ADHD. All sorts of disturbances in the home environment may be triggers. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, parental neglect, divorce, a death in the family, and alcoholism are some possibilities that represent just the tip of an iceberg that is too large and complex to cover here. Suffice it to say that anything that threatens the emotional security of a child may be a contributing factor.
3. Synthetic chemicals in the form of industrial pollutants and pharmaceutical waste must be high on the list of offending suspects. We must also consider the many additives in the American diet, which have been introduced into the food chain by the food “industry.” These include all manner of synthetic sugars, unnatural fats, hormones, caffeine, antibiotics, preservatives, and dyes, to name just a few. Truly, the American diet is a nutritional wasteland that is largely a function of corporate and technological influence. Clearly, these chemicals impact human health in a variety of negative ways.
4. “Recreational” drugs used by parents are also a big factor that can impact upon the health of the children that they bring into the world. Usually through energetic inheritance, children often manifest symptoms related to the drugs that parents have taken—even if they were taken in the past. Thus, the child of a heavy marijuana smoker may be anxious, spacey, or distracted, just as the child of an amphetamine user may be restless or hyper. The same principle applies to all such psychoactive substances including cocaine, LSD, heroin, and even alcohol.
5A. Next we have the entire range of culturally accepted medicinal drugs to consider, such as antihistamines, antibiotics, corticosteroids, other hormones, and the vast array of OTC drugs. Psychoactive drugs taken by parents such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep aids, must be very high on the list of suspected contributors to ADHD. All drugs potentially have an impact in-utero if ingested during pregnancy, and their effects can be inherited energetically even if parents discontinued their use prior to the time of conception.
5B. This category is related to the above since suppression is the net effect of most conventional drug interventions. The bioenergetic life force purposefully generates symptoms as a means of self-healing. Symptoms also serve as distress signals. Regular medicine mistakenly views all symptoms as enemies to be eradicated in its war against disease. When the symptomatic coping mechanism of the life force is thwarted, it simply seeks another avenue to express the underlying disturbance. That is why a patient I recently saw developed excruciating back pain shortly after he used steroid inhalers to suppress his chronic cough. No conventional doctor could explain it but it made perfect sense from an energetic perspective.
And this is the same reason why kids bombarded with antibiotics, antihistamines, and oral and topical steroids don’t stand a chance. With each suppressive salvo of symptom thwarting medication, the underlying disturbance is forced further underground as it retreats deeper into the body-heart-mind-soul. As it goes deeper it tends to move away from the physical level toward the mental-emotional level, thus generating ADHD-like disturbances. While suppression may be useful in certain situations, as in the case of an acute asthma attack, it should not be used as a routine approach to illness.
6. Vaccines must be given a special category of their own because they represent a particularly troublesome source of iatrogenesis. Modern day kids are scheduled to receive almost fifty individual doses of vaccines by the time they reach age six. This relentless experimental tinkering with the immune system has profound implications for the future health and development of all children. Given the lengths to which medical authorities will go to deny the relationship between vaccines and autism, they are very unlikely to entertain the suggestion that vaccines are also connected to ADHD.
There are many causes of ADD and ADHD and, so, there is no corresponding single solution. ADHD represents a very real and deeply rooted spectrum of problems that requires a much more serious approach than pill popping. Proper education as to the true nature of health, illness, suppression, and healing will provide a solid start.
The commonality between the above listed factors is a fundamental lack of basic common sense. When we feed tainted food to our children, unquestioningly give them the latest drugs marketed by Pharma, line them up for a never ending list of newly minted vaccines, and relentlessly expose them to shocking levels of media violence, how can we expect otherwise? This synergistic cocktail of environmental, medical, and psychic pollution is taking its toll on our children and our society. It is no wonder that ADHD would thrive in such a toxic and dysfunctional environment.
Genuine healing is not possible when one’s form of medicine tends only to the physical body while neglecting the needs of the heart, mind, and soul. Applying a chemical straightjacket to these illnesses is not a viable solution. Effective solutions require a more sophisticated understanding of the environmental, bioenergetic, psychic, and spiritual nature of illness. Greener forms of holistic healing and integrative medicine such as nutrition, various forms of energy-oriented bodywork, family therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture, to name just a few, are more likely to generate lasting relief for ADHD sufferers.
Cecilia Zuniga, AD/HD Generation: Holistic Ways to Support Children, Trafford Publishing, 2009.
Larry Malerba, DO, Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2010.
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt has been a practitioner, educator, and leader in the field of holistic medicine for more than twenty years. He is the author of Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. Dr. Malerba is a featured author at Natural News and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. He is board certified in Homeotherapeutics, is Clinical Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, and a visiting lecturer at Albany Medical College. He is past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, his medical degree from Des Moines University, and his residency training at Albany Medical College. Dr. Malerba has a private practice in Upstate New York.