ADHD and Other Meaningless Diagnoses
By Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.
I would like to take a moment to orient you to one of The Center’s important perceptions. There is a big controversy in medical circles between standard medicine and alternative approaches.
Standard medicine works very well for acute medical or surgical problems. If one is suffering from trauma, such as a broken bone or bleeding wound, the diagnosis is the problem. If one is having a coronary or a stroke, the diagnosis is the presenting problem.
ADHD and its diagnostic cousins would be more accurately termed biochemical dysfunction of the brain.
Under those circumstances the doctor must act quickly, with great assurance to set the fracture, stop the bleeding, eliminate coronary artery blockage, etc. In this country, we have outstanding acute medical care when the diagnosis is the problem.
However, in non-acute medicine, the diagnosis, with which doctors and patients find satisfaction, all too often does not bear any relation to the causative problem. They somehow feel that putting a name to a group of symptoms is meaningful.
It is not. Much more thought is needed to solve non-acute problems. And, the acute care model of “here’s a prescription to suppress your symptoms and begone with you,” does not work over time.
Here at The Center, we strive mightily to look beyond meaningless diagnoses. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is one of those meaningless diagnoses. When the diagnosis is not the problem and is not related to outcome, it is meaningless. Children with symptoms of hyperactivity , inattention, inability to concentrate or to respond meaningfully to adult expectations receive a wide range of diagnoses more related to a specialist’s orientation than to the child’s symptom complex.
It is quite common for the same child, when seen by various specialists, to have different diagnoses, such as hyperactivity, dyslexia, autism, ADD (attention deficit disorder), or ADHD. None of those often-used diagnoses have any real meaning and have no prognostic value. The same is true with many adult on-set disorders, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
In general, children with ADHD are slightly brighter; however, 25% repeat their grades. On average, they attain the same level of schooling, but lower occupational success.
ADHD and its diagnostic cousins would be more accurately termed biochemical dysfunction of the brain. Instead of getting stuck with some descriptive diagnosis, it would be more helpful to discover underlying causations for unacceptable behavior.
Recently, I heard a presentation by a doctor who was introduced as the leading expert in ADHD in this country. His topic was, “The Functional Neuroanatomy of ADHD-Implications for Treatment. ”
His summary of treatment options included stimulants such as Ritalin and Dexedrine, tricyclic antidepressants, and more potent drugs, one of which was associated with the death of a few children. In discussing that, he said that the incidence of death was no higher than would be statistically expected while driving to and from a doctor’s office. However, in my opinion, if you are one of those who died, the incidence was 100%.
Although the brain is the biggest user of nutrients, and last summer the National Institute of Mental Health finally held a conference on the benefits of fatty acids in relation to brain and emotional and mental health, there was not a single mention that nutrients, nor their lack, may playa role in the development of ADHD. How can this be? Perhaps we can get a clue from the sponsorship. Twelve pharmaceutical companies sponsored the conference through educational grants.
The expert did provide a good bit of interesting information. ADHD is sweeping the country. At least 5% of children and 2% of adults in this country have ADHD.
The Center’s approach in relation to ADD/ADHD is first to look for possible underlying causes for the behavior that leads parents to bring a child for evaluation.
After returning from this presentation, I reviewed the charts of our last six patients who came to us with referring diagnoses of ADD, ADHD, pervasive development disorder, or autism.
I would like to briefly review what in-depth laboratory evaluations of these children revealed.
#1-Admit Diagnosis: non-verbal ADD, probable autism, male, age 4
High urinary pyrroles, candida problem, high indican, low GLA, low EPA, cytotoxic – + 3 to BHABHT
#2 – Admit Diagnosis: ADD, allergies, constipation, male, age 8
High urinary pyrroles, high indican, low zinc, low hemoglobin,
low GLA, low EPA, cytotoxic -+3 to BHA
#3 – Admit Diagnosis: ADHD, male age 11
Low Bl, low vitamin C, abnormal amino acid pattern
#4 – Admit Diagnosis: ADHD, allergies, dermatitis, male, age 10
Amino acid abnormalities, low zinc, cytotoxic – +3 to garlic & BHA, low vitamin C, positive indican, low white blood count
#5 -Admit Diagnosis: pervasive development disorder, male, age 9
Low vitamin C, low GLA, low EPA, amino acid abnormality, high candida, low chromium, parasite – Dientamoeba
#6 – Admit Diagnosis: autism, dermatitis, male, age 8
Low vitamin C, high indican, high candida, high TSH (meaning low thyroid), high EBV (viral problem), cytotoxic positive findings
What does the review of the findings just mentioned of these six children tell us?
First, we notice that boys outnumber girls. In this case, six to zero. Throughout the world far more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or autism.
These abnormal findings tell us that the following factors may be underlying causes of these behavior problems.
High urinary pyrroles – (2 of 6)
Candida (yeast fungal problems) – (3 of 6)
Putrefactive bowel bacteria – (4 of 6)
Low zinc – (2 of 6)
Fatty acid imbalance – (3 of 6)
Adverse food reactions – (4 of 6)
Adverse food reactions to BHA – (3 of 6)
Low vitamin C – (4 of 6)
Amino acid abnormalities – (3 of 6)
Anemia – (1 of 6)
Low vitamin B 1 – (1 of 6)
Intestinal parasites – (1 of 6)
Low thyroid – (1 of 6)
Based upon these findings, I would urge you to spread the word. “Don’t let a diagnosis, especially a meaningless diagnosis, prevent you from looking deeper and more thoroughly to discover underlying problems which might be causative.” In many cases, correcting biochemical problems will tremendously improve, and at times eliminate, behavior problems.