Diet has not always been a factor in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. However, a new study suggests that implementing a specific diet may provide similar results achieved with behavioral therapy and sometimes medication. Although many doctors still believe that diet plays a relatively insignificant role in symptom manifestation, they are receptive to the idea.
“There’s no question that foods have effects on people’s mood, sleep and energy,” says Dr. David Schab, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York. But he cautions that there is not enough information available to be able to ascertain just what foods can increase symptoms of ADHD in children.
Children in the study ranged in age from 4 to 8 years old and all had been diagnosed with ADHD. Half of the children were put on a restrictive diet and the other half were advised on what to eat, but were allowed the freedom to choose their own foods. The results showed that nearly 65 percent of the children on the restricted diet reported dramatic improvement over a broad range of rating tools. Additionally, the same children re-classified their symptoms as mild, as opposed to moderate-to-severe prior to the study.
A recent article gave another perspective on this same information. Dutch researcher Lidy Pelsser, who recently conducted and published her own study on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, said that the disease most people refer to as ADHD does not even exist. She goes on to say that the majority of children who present with attention and hyperactivity symptoms only do so as a result of an over sensitive reaction to certain foods. She suggests that these symptoms can be remedied by limiting their diets.
In either case, diet may have an impact on the severity of a child’s symptoms and should always be explored in addition to other recommended treatment options.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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