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Acupuncture for ADD/ADHD

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Diagnosing a hyperactive child with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a very controversial issue among some doctors. They argue that a lot of children in the past have this kind of characteristic and it was not really considered a type of health condition all throughout those years. Nevertheless ADHD is one of the most common conditions diagnosed in children in the United States today. In terms of gender distribution about 5% of girls and 10% of boys have this disorder. This statistic comes from the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology).

ADD and ADHD conditions are usually addressed by very dangerous medications such as Ritalin (methylphenidate).  What’s worse this drug is now being given to younger and younger children.  These drugs have dangerous side effects and parents are wary of having their children take these types of drugs. Because of this apprehension, more and more parents now are seeking for safer, more natural and effective ADD/ADHD treatments for their children.

The addictiveness and nasty side effects of Ritalin is making this drug less and less popular especially among parents who only want natural treatments for their kids as much as possible.

These past few years, more and more people are beginning to see how acupuncture can be an ideal complementary therapy for children suffering from ADD/ADHD.  One very potent treatment is ear or auricular acupuncture. Depending on the acupuncturist, ear acupuncture can be the sole treatment for ADD/ADHD or it can be combined with body acupuncture. Acupuncture is widely known to address dozens of illnesses via the stimulation of target points on the body using reed-thin needles or with other devices such as laser or electricity. Since auricular acupuncture is a noninvasive procedure (as with all types of acupuncture procedures), using it on children is okay.

Acupuncture belongs to an oriental type of medicine called traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. This system has its own way of evaluating a patient particularly focusing on their bodies, problems and personality. ADHD treatment using TCM and acupuncture is considered a lot differently in western medicine. While western medicine views ADD/ADHD as a complex neuro-developmental disorder, TCM sees these conditions as either the result of orifice blockage by static phlegm or blood, spirit agitation by some type of heat or nourishment deficiency of the spirit. Static blood may likewise lead to poor blood flow which may result in insufficient nourishment of the spirit.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be modalities to address ADD/ADHD.  A treatment plan involving ear acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be utilized as primary treatment for children with mild ADHD. They can also serve as an adjunct therapy for extreme types in order to help lower the dosage of the medicine and lessen its effects.

The United States considers ADD/ADHD a condition and because of this it is almost the only country in the world that uses Ritalin on its children.  Most countries handle the problem very differently.  The Chinese, for example, think that certain ADD/ADHD symptoms are normal characteristics of the way many preschool children behave. As the child ages by 6 or 7 years old, his behavior can change. In cases where behavior became worse, the child is given tests for ADD/ADHD.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are usually the primary option for children with these problems simply because these therapies are very safe for children.  For more than 3 decades, countless clinical trials have been done to see how Chinese herbs alone can treat ADD/ADHD children and the results have been encouraging so far.

Parents who are interested in trying out acupuncture treatment for ADD/ADHD for their children should talk to a licensed acupuncturist or a licensed TCM practitioner, preferably one who specializes in ADD/ADHD treatment. The good news is that many health insurance companies now cover full or partial costs of acupuncture treatments.

Written by Valerie

March 28th, 2014 at 7:36 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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