Adults and kids suffer from ADD and ADHD with common symptoms such as difficulty paying attention or sitting still. There are natural ways to treat ADD and ADHD without medication by making diet changes and by using brainwave therapy and brain mapping technology.
What is ADD and ADHD? And what is happening in the body and brain of someone affected by it?
Dr. John Silva: Let’s start first by defining ADD and ADHD, what those acronym stands for. ADD is attention deficit disorder and ADHD is, for the most part, the same thing, but with the hyperactivity component. I want to also add that this is, of course, very common and we hear it commonly associated with children, but this is also very common in adults as well.
What is happening in the brain with somebody that has attention deficit disorder or ADHD, what I’ve come to realize in clinical practice over the years, is systemic inflammation of both brain and the body. Just to further describe what systemic inflammation is, it is a low-grade inflammation that affects all the cells of the body including the neurons in the brain. It is one of the most common attributes that I’ve seen in clinical practice.
Another attribute that we see, that can be measured with a diagnostic that we do to map the brain called QEEG technology, is an increase of what’s called delta brainwave activity in most kids and adults who suffer with ADD and ADHD. When we have increased delta activity it can cause the condition itself.
What are some of the warning signs that someone may have ADD or ADHD?
Dr. John Silva: Some of the common warning signs are difficulty focusing or paying attention. It can also be associated with anxiety. People can tend to forget easily, they may suffer with mood swings. Oftentimes they may show symptoms or signs of fidgeting especially with children. They may have a lack of restraint, of course, short attention span, irritability, excitability, and in some cases it can even express itself in anger. Or they have a combination of any one of these symptoms together. Again, this can be common in both kids and adults.
Particularly with the ADHD, the person has difficulty not only paying attention, but also has a tough time of just staying still. As a lot of my patients often describe, young and old, that they just can’t seem to shut their brain off, can’t seem to shut their mind off. Their mind is always going even when they try to purposely relax, or rest, or take a nap, or even try to go to sleep. Their mind is just constantly going and their body is constantly going.
How is ADD and ADHD diagnosed?
Dr. John Silva: In conventional medicine and psychiatry, ADD and ADHD is typically diagnosed by an examination, interviewing the patient, or the parents of a child, recognizing the symptoms and traits as they present in a clinical history. There are standard neuropsych evaluations or questionnaires that a person can complete to determine the diagnosis.
Now, in our realm of practice we use a brain mapping technology, called QEEG brain mapping, where we can actually look at brain function, where both of these disorders actually stem from. Of course, we take a very thorough clinical history, we listen to the person explaining their symptoms to make that diagnosis, but even further still we want to look at what is going on in terms of brain function that is causing the ADD or ADHD.
For people suffering from ADD or ADHD, can changes to their diet help improve their condition?
Dr. John Silva: Most definitely. We often see this and, in fact, that’s part of how we help our patients is not only with the therapies that we provide, such as the EEG neural feedback therapy and brain mapping, but we do advise on nutrition, proper diet, and oftentimes we’ve seen just sometimes dietary changes in both kids and adults can make a huge impact. One of the most common things I can recommend, right from the beginning, is people start to pay attention to, what we call, pro-inflammatory foods.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the things that I’ve seen in clinical practice and a lot of neuroscientists and doctors who practice this way can agree, is ADD and ADHD one of the more common traits of this or causes is the systemic inflammation, this low-grade inflammation of the brain in the brain. So eating foods that are pro-inflammatory, meaning they cause inflammation, you want to cut back or even eliminate those completely and eat, what are called, noninflammatory foods. This is how we advise our patients, but it is amazing just doing that and giving that some time can make a big difference in a person’s condition.
Are there other ways to help treat people with ADD or ADHD without using prescription drugs?
Dr. John Silva: Most definitely. In our clinical practice and looking at it from a non-drug perspective, neural feedback therapy is at the core of what we do. Again, neural feedback therapy is using EEG technology, not only diagnostically to map this function in the brain that is causing the ADD or ADHD, but it is also used therapeutically to help regulate the brain and restore proper brain function. It is completely noninvasive; it is a way to train the brain towards normal function.
In addition to that, brainwave entrainment therapy, using light and sound stimulation either in the convenience of the patient’s home, or in a clinical setting is also wonderful for ADD and ADHD. Of course, addressing underlying metabolic issues such as inflammation, oxidative stress, even toxicity that could be causing the brain to become disregulated and not functioning properly causing the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.
To speak with Dr. John Silva, visit www.drjohnsilva.com or call 772-429-8800 to schedule an appointment.