My therapist believes I suffer from adult ADHD and it is something I suspected I had for quite some time way before I started paleo, however, I am pretty much against taking prescriptions drugs unless I absolutely have too. Are there any paleo or natural remedies for this condition?
I think the major issues with ADHD and paleo is that there is nothing wrong with people with ADHD. In the Paleolithic, we would have been highly successful, but in the modern world we have to focus on monotonous tasks for hours and hours on end. I'm not sure paleo helps that much with ADHD. I still have it and I know plenty of others who do as well. Every single person in my immediate family has been diagnosed with ADHD. I've often felt depressed because nobody holds a normal job, but then I realize that you can be quite successful with a strange career and I've shifted my own track towards that. However, I realize that's quite a luxury.
I've come up with things to manage it, but they are a struggle for someone to ADHD to follow because they require a level of strictness that doesn't exactly come naturally to me. Forbidding myself from any electronic device from 9 PM onward works really well for example, but I can count on two hands the number of days I've been able to do that. Heavy morning exercise definitely helps as well, but I also struggle to maintain that routine.
We are the remnants of a hunting mind in an age of farming. I find that hunting also helps me control my ADHD and my family is full of great hunters. Being in the woods, being alert for deer but not overstimulated...that's medicine right there.
ADHD is complex but one major common tie in those patients is they have high cortisol levels, bad sleep and a permeable gut. I generally go after that leaky gut hard with diet.....especially raising coconut oils and colostrum and smart exercise protocols. We also advocate using light modulation in tougher cases.
In a somewhat ironic twist, when I go off all stimulants (especially caffeine) I find my ADD symptom are significantly alleviated. That said, Adderall is a pretty fantastic drug that literally saves lives. In particular, my brother was so unable to control his life due to severe ADHD: could hold a job, couldn't finish any tasks, could hardly drive. He was suicidal until he got on Adderall and turned everything around.
I'm 30 with ADD and take Adderall. After almost a year on paleo I haven't noticed any ADD-related changes. In fact, paleo became my primary hyper focus topic, and my work has suffered because of it.
I thought Melissa's answer above was really sharp. Unfortunately, though, we ADD folks still have to function and compete in a world dominated by Normals.
One problem I've run into with natural supplements is that a lot of them interact with Adderall in a way that reverses their effects. ZMA, for example, enhances and extends the effects of Adderall. Rhodiola interacts in the same way because it inhibits the re-uptake of the neurotransmitters that Adderall overproduces. When I combine them it makes my head feel like its going to explode.
I've read on ADD forums that Adderall mixes nicely with GABA and Kava Kava. I'm going to experiment with these combinations next, beginning with Kava*Adderall.
Taking 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds (mixed into yogurt a la Seth Roberts) seems to help decrease the desire to smoke while on Adderall. That's a welcome effect. There are other people on Roberts' website that report similar results, so the effect seems to generalize to some extent.
I'm going to start playing around with colostrum now that Dr K has mentioned it.
The blog ADHD Interactions is an interesting and deep resource for dietary, supplementary, and prescription treatments of ADD. It also provides theoretical considerations about what ADD is and how it operates. The psychiatrist behind it is anonymous, but he seems pretty smart and intellectually curious. You can find it here:
Off the top of my head, that's all of the ADD stuff that I've collected along the way so far. Hope it helps. Critical comments and elaborations from everyone would be much appreciated - ADD is such a complicated puzzle for us to grapple with!
Just going Paleo should help. Cutting out the gluten and cassien in ones diet has been shown to help with autism spectrum disorders, which ADD is.
Another helpful, although semi-controversial option, is following the guidelines of the Feingold Diet, which eleminates certain artifical additives. Obviously paleo does this, but Feingold goes one step further eliminating certain foods high in salicites, such as berries and tomatoes.
My son, who although never was "officially" diagnosed, has issues with ADD/ADHD as well as some OCD and some other issues. We started him on Feingold about 3 years ago and have noticed a huge difference. We can tell almost instantly when he goes off diet. Originally he was super sensitive to salicites getting crazy hyper and restless after eating any. This has improved a lot, but he still reacts some if he has a large quantity of say berries.
We were very anti-drug also and were relieved that we found success with dietary changes.
I say give it a shot for a few weeks, 30 days or so, and see if it works for you... It can't hurt, right?
This was an encouraging, somewhat mainstream article supporting the idea that diet might have more to do with treating ADD/ADHD than previously suspected. The study's conclusions do not lead to a paleo diet per se, but they do point to greater care in figuring out what foods trigger ADD/ADHD in children.
ADHD and bipolar disorder are the two most commonly over diagnosed disorders. I'm not saying you don't have the disorder but sometimes therapists just diagnose someone that is a bit more energetic or distracted than the 'norm' as having them. (Source: Abnormal Psychology course/professor)
But, as mentioned above, going paleo would probably help alleviate your symptoms.
If there is a naturopath in your area you might try seeking their expertise for a natural means of minimizing your symptoms, or just browsing the internet for 'adhd and natuaral cures/treatments'.
http://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/teen-adult-adhd-symptoms-info.html Not sure if this site is useful, but I found it on a quick google search.
My ADD-PI hasn't been improved by a healthy lifestyle including paleo/primal diet. I've tried VLC and that made it worse (my biggest problem is hyperfocus) . Now I eat starch.
I don't want to take drugs, but am considering Adderall ATM because I'm struggling with so many basic things.
What's causing my brain fog right now? 8 Answers