Attention Deficit and All the Junk That Comes Along With It

After my most recent podcast, where I talked about Attention Deficit Disorder, and how it appears to be tied into every other health issue I have, including my lifetime struggle with obesity, sleep disorder, thyroid trouble, and seasonal affective disorder, I had an email from a listener asking for more info, since she had many of the same problems. Here's a quick list of some references:

ADD and circadian rhythm disorders

ADD and iodine deficiency

ADD and obesity

ADD and obesity

ADD and compulsive eating

ADD and SAD

ADD and SAD

Light therapy used for SAD, ADHD, depression, sleep disorders, and more.

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Amazing book that might help

Hi Dana,
Although not specifically about ADD/ADHD, this doctor's approach to insomnia/thyroid/PCOS/depression/insulin resistance/hypoglycemia/all the other associated stuff is (for me) earth shattering. "Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal" by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS. His website is www.thyroidbook.com and contains information about his program and doctors who have trained with him to treat patients with his protocol (note: the one I consulted in Denver wanted $6,000 for a 6-month program; however, the book pretty much spells out the entire program and is available for about $12 online).

He gives very detailed information about what your lab values SHOULD be as opposed to the "normal" range and what tests you need to be having done and why. I have been looking for answers for years in both allopathic and alternative arenas, but nowhere have I found such a comprehensive (and different) approach. It's worth a read -- particularly if you can find it at your library like I did.

It seems like everyone I know is suffering to some degree from hormone imbalance, although we don't know it because most doctors don't test and the ones who do use inaccurate 'reference ranges' and tell us we're fine or want to immediately put us on hormone replacement rather than addressing the underlying cause of the problem. I hope it is as helpful for you and other readers as it has been for me! All the very best to you, Lynn

More on ADHD

These links come as no surprise to me. I'm a child psychiatrist who specializes in treating ADHD and see ADHD in combination with lots of other things: delayed sleep phase, carbohydrate cravings, other addictions, anxiety (a big one), and mood/irritability problems. Tartrazine, a yellow dye, can exacerbate ADHD symptoms we think by causing the kidneys to dump zinc. God only knows if restricting carbs could be helpful for some or most, but I doubt it. Dana, you for one could probably speak to this.
On another note, saw this article about whether salt restriction is healthy in the NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/health/research/04salt.html?_r=1&ref=health
Dr. Alderman seems like a very smart man!

ADD and Carb Restriction

Carb restriction has done many positive things for me, but I still have much of the comorbidity of ADD -- sleep disorder, SAD, etc. And heaven knows, I'm still pathologically disorderly, and have great trouble with focus.

Still, my addiction as a kid can't have helped. Wildly oscillating blood sugar has got to make it worse. And I first self-diagnosed reactive hypoglycemia because of a list of symptoms of it that to most people would appear to be signs of emotional problems. I had, of course, been getting my head shrunk since age 11.

I very much wish I'd been diagnosed early. Dunno if I'd have finished college, but at least both my parents and I would have understood better what the heck was going on with me. And maybe they could have saved some money on fruitless therapy, and my, er, undistinguished college career.

ADHD

Hi Dana:
I used to follow your blog years ago, but have been away for a long time. I saw your name on Jimmy Moore's site and followed the link and love your current site. The ADD blog caught my attention. I am convinced that many mood/energy disorders are linked to insulin resistance. My daughter, who was an obese teenager as a result of my misguided attempt to feed my family a "healthy" low-fat diet, has now converted to low-carb. (She lost half her body weight several years ago through a modified low-carb diet and lots of exercise). She she says that when she was living in NYC in an intense professional acting program for two years and suffered terrible depression and relapsed into her eating disorder (bulimia) as well as gaining 20 pounds, she was primarily a vegetarian and realizes now that the carbs were a big part of her problem.
But, the most amazing story is my son. He had severe "ADHD" as a child and teenager. He barely graduated from high school, and got into trouble from his use of pot to "self-medicate." (He went to 4 different high schools, including a boarding school). Because he is very bright and talented, he was accepted to college, but had a rocky start. He was actually in one of my classes as a college student (college #2) , and I witnessed the day he had his "awakening." He was literally climbing the walls in class, jumpy, and fidgety. Later that day, he told me that he had drunk a large Red Bull that morning because he had a lot to do that day and needed the energy. "Mom do you know what the first 3 ingredients are? Caffeine, sucrose, and fructose." (He know acknowledges that the worst symptoms he had as a child were when he drank red kool-aid or Hawaiian Punch, which indicates that sugar and red dye are the worst combination). That day, he became a believer and has been a low-carber ever since. He is almost 23 and has really turned his life around. In college, he wrote papers and gave speeches on the topics of low-carb diets and the "misdiagnosis" of ADHD in kids. He really lambasted the medical community for giving "legal drugs" to kids instead of using lifestyle intervention. He is passionate about healthy living, eating organic, additive, preservative-free, and of course, no sugars or grains. He actually works at Whole Foods, but somehow manages to ignore their vegan propaganda.
I suspect we will see a return to using elimination diets for kids before putting them on meds. My son would be the first to testify in favor of that approach.
Great to back on "Hold the Toast" and glad to see you are still going strong.
11 years low-carb counting!
Peggy

ADD

My two oldest children, ages 49, 52, have officially been diagnosed with Adult ADD this year. This was a revelation to me - I am twice as bad as they are. My daughter, is an attorney, and my son has his Phd and teaches math in college. Her counselor said intelligence masks it to a great extent. Now I have a name for many of the problems I've struggled with through the years. I look back at age 75 to see a person who did pretty well, considering, but it was hard work.

Eating low carb helps - not so many food choices makes focus easier. I do have the addiction problems - certainly carbs is one - I just have to say NO! I don't have a good sleep pattern. When I start a book I like, I just keep going. I didn't get any thing done today oher than reading the last 250 pages in my book.

The free ADD coach I'm found, although at first I didn't realize what she was doing for me, is the Flylady at flylady.net. I had to look twice at her egg salad recipe where she said to use real mayonnaise, not the crappy low fat stuff ,and not many carby minced onions, to be sure it wasn't you sending the recipe.

Her site is bookmarked right by yours - you are both my helpful internet friends to help this old girl stay closer to the straight and narrow.

Barbara

Flylady

Thank you Barbara, I'd not heard of Flylady before. I've spent the past couple of hours reading the Flylady site (with a brief stop to clean my sink) and I'm now a member.

Can I add that I don't think a day spent reading a book and nothing else is a day wasted?

Tessa

Flylady

I, too, admire Flylady, though I flutter intermittently. I use my timer to help me write -- 15 minutes of focusing on writing, 5 minutes to surf the 'net, 15 minutes of writing, etc. Helps.

good work

Dana, I'm working on projects and unfortunately don't take time to listen to podcasts. (I am less of a auditory learner and more of a visual learner.) I struggle with distraction and focus all the time, as I was diagnosed with adult ADD about 15 years ago. It is a good thing for you to share your testimony! Yeah, ADD affects a lot of life. I've thought that I would have been a better person without ADD. But, I can offer up my struggles to God, and my cross helps me to be closer bound to Him. Speaking of which, Happy Easter, Dana!