The medical community views attention deficit hyperactive disorder as a biological condition caused by dysfunctions in the brain - specifically, a deficiency in key neurotransmitters. Although the brain of a person with ADHD is somewhat different from the brain of those without ADHD, these differences are not the only cause of the disorder. ADHD is triggered by many environmental factors, and imbalances found in the ADHD brain are in fact expressions of the real causes of the disorder as well.
How is the ADHD brain different from a normal brain? A medical doctor will probably tell you that the ADHD brain is deficient in two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the chemicals responsible for carrying signals between brain cells; if there aren't enough neurotransmitters, the brain is unable to function optimally and the person experiences chronic inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. To treat the imbalance, medical doctors will probably prescribe medication to stimulate the brain circuits and temporarily increase levels of dopamine, resulting in increased concentration, higher productivity, and better behavior. But the latest research on the brain structure of ADHD children revealed that the difference in the ADHD brain is not so much due to the lack of neurotransmitters, but rather to a problem with the electrical impulses needed to release the neurotransmitters.
Alternative health care practitioners go beyond the medical explanation of ADHD - a deficiency in neurotransmitters - to locate three major differences in the ADHD brain. All understanding of these three differences is backed up by the latest scientific research.
1) Brain hemisphericity. The normal brain can activate the right and left hemispheres of the brain with ease. However, a person diagnosed with ADHD experiences a deficiency in one of the two hemispheres. Researchers have discovered that the right hemisphere is usually weaker than the left.
2) A developmental delay in brain circuitry. A delay in brain development is usually related to brain hemisphericity. What this means is that a child with ADHD might be ten years old chronologically, but parts of his brain might be functioning at the level of a six year old, which is why he or she suffers from behavioral problems. These developmental problems are caused by complex environmental factors called antecedents and triggers, which is why the right treatment plan for ADHD should be designed around neutralizing these factors instead of temporarily stimulating the brain with drugs. For as long as antecedents and triggers continue to work on each other, the imbalance in the brain stays and the symptoms will not go away.
3) Problems with sensory integration. Due to brain hemisphericity and developmental delay, an individual with ADHD may have issues processing sensory information. They either feel too much (hyperactive) or don't feel enough (hypoactive). Either way, problems with sensory integration often lead to behavioral problems.
Before embarking on a treatment plan for ADHD, your child has to go through tests that can pinpoint any deficiencies in the brain. There are many specialists who can use safe procedures like neurofeedback, sensory integration approaches, or chiropractic neurology to treat any problems in the brain. The best thing about these approaches is that they are 100% natural, which means your child won't be taking any potentially damaging drugs to treat any brain deficiencies that might be found.
Remember that ADHD is a condition caused by many environmental factors; an imbalance in neurotransmitters is simply one of the symptoms. That is why an effective treatment for ADHD must go beyond treating the brain and address the environmental factors triggering the disorder in the first place.
Dr. Yannick Pauli is an expert on natural approaches to ADHD and the author of the popular self-help home-program The Unritalin Solution. He is Director of the Centre Neurofit in Lausanne, Switzerland and has a passion taking care of children with ADHD. Click on the link for more great information about adhd and the brain.