All of us can remember from our school days the person in our class who seemed to cause the most disruptions: getting up and walking up and down the aisles, replying to questions with completely irrelevant answers, and talking out of turn. We have come to realise that these kids are not naughty, but could probably have the condition called ADHD. They don’t want to behave that way, but their brain simply does not allow them to do what they actually should do!

Life for them can be difficult and frustrating, not just them but also for their parents and teachers. The parents worry that their child will be labelled naughty and sent to the back of the classroom. The teacher needs to focus on them in ways that will hold their attention, as well as making sure that the distractions don’t affect the other kids in the class.

When an ADHD child is identified, the best starting point is lifestyle modifications. A healthy diet with a balance of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish is good. A bad diet does not cause ADHD, but can definitely worsen symptoms. Eliminate processed food products and avoid artificial food additives and colourings such as brightly coloured sugar sweetened drinks, sweets and colourful cereals. You will soon see if your child’s behaviour improves.

There are MANY over the counter supplements on the market that can help with ADHD.  For example BIOSTRATH which is a wonderful natural tonic and health food formulated to combine all 61 of its nutrients into a natural yeast molecule that is easily absorbed by the body. It improves memory and concentration, as well as giving extra energy and endurance needed to fight exam fatigue. EYE-Q contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in the correct ratio (3:1) which is what is required for maximum brain development. Not even the best of diets can provide this 3:1 ratio. NEUROVANCE contains a unique blend of natural ingredients such as Rose Root, Inositol and Magnesium that work on multiple neurological pathways to optimise brain function helping it to concentrate and think faster. MINDSET is a great brain food formula that calms, but at the same time improves concentration.

The mainstay of prescription medication is RITALIN containing the active ingredient Methylphenidate. Many parents are extremely concerned and cautious about starting their children on this option. It is worth bearing in mind that Ritalin has been on the market for over 50 years, and has helped millions of   children to cope in the classroom and with their homework. Ritalin today comes in several strengths and dosage forms. Some are formulated into a slow release matrix, ensuring that the active ingredient is released slowly during the course of the day. It is worth discussing the Ritalin option with you doctor or Paediatrician.

Gillian Watson | M-KEM Director and Pharmacist