Traditionally, children who were considered to be hyperactive and inattentive according to Ayurvedic texts (Ayurveda is an Indian holistic medicine) were diagnosed with vata-type ADHD. This type of ADHD was treated using lifestyle modifications and behavioral therapy that focused on the strengthening of the digestive system. The physiology behind this treatment approach is quite sound: indigestion can lead to hyperactivity, because essentially you have excess pitta in your stomach that needs to be eliminated; thus it naturally leads one towards a state of agitation, frustration, etc. Vata types are often underweight as well… they need big meals at every mealtime!
One study from 2007 found that a group of Ayurvedic physicians were able to accurately diagnose ADHD in children at a rate greater than chance. The researchers concluded "Ayurvedic physicians correctly identified 88% (33/38) of the cases and only 25% (9/36) of the controls, giving them an odds ratio of 28 (95% CI: 10-70).
Both Ayurveda and Neurofeedback, a part of EEG Biofeedback treatment which employs computers to help patients self-regulate their brains' electrical activity through visual feedback in order to change their brainwave patterns (improving symptoms such as attention, mood issues like depression or anxiety, etc.), recognize that some children have underlying vata imbalances (Vata is a biomagnetic energy responsible for "motor" movements including speech). Vata children are described as being restless, often unable to sit still.
In addition to the above study on the diagnostic accuracy of traditional Ayurvedic physicians for ADHD, there have been several other studies suggesting a link between Eastern Medicine diagnosis for ADHD and alternative treatments.
The next time you see a child who seems to be constantly fidgeting, is in constant motion (but not necessarily hyperactive), and they have an underweight build with long limbs, this may lend towards a Ayurvedic type of ADHD diagnosis (Vata). These children often do better with frequent small meals rather than large ones. The diet should include more oily food (ghee) which will help balance the Dosha. Vata can be aggravated by cold, dry weather such as winter.
The main thing to remember about Ayurveda is that it's an over-all way of assessing the body and mind. It addresses the whole person – physical, emotional and spiritual health - rather than just a disorder or set of symptoms. Therefore, balancing Vata is only one aspect of treating ADHD using Ayurveda; practitioners will look to treat other elements using diet (herbs), exercise, meditation techniques (pranayama) and yoga postures which correct imbalances in all three doshas.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based medical condition that impacts children, teens and adults. ADHD people have trouble paying attention, concentrating on tasks, organizing things like schedules and completing errands or chores. They are forever running late, leaving projects unfinished, losing their keys and setting off to do something but forgetting what it was once they arrive at their destination! Those who have ADHD can't seem to mindfully focus on the task in front of them without being distracted by thoughts about past events or worries about future ones. It affects how they feel and function in daily life—and how others see them.
While some with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are hyperactive or impulsive, aren't all people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder impulsive and inattentive?
No. People affected by ADHD can have a number of different symptoms that create unique challenges for them, but it's important to know that there are multiple types of the disorder. For example, some might be hyperactive or restless while others are not. Other individuals may be highly distractible (easily pulled from one activity to another), whereas other people with ADHD are quite focused on specific tasks and activities they enjoy doing. There is no single way for those living with attention deficit disorder to behave—and this diversity among their symptoms should never be used as an excuse for poor behavior! Instead, it demonstrates how complex the condition really is and why addressing its causes isn't easy.
Scientists believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors, like diet, pollution or substance use, play a role in the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. One thing is certain: DNA doesn't tell the whole story about those with ADD/ADHD! And it's important to note that while there are some genetic links to attention deficit disorder, having a close family member who has been diagnosed with ADHD does not necessarily mean you will have this condition too. This is why getting tested by a professional can be so critical if your child continues to struggle at school or at home. If you think your young one may have ADD/ADHD or another learning disability for that matter, it's a good idea to have an assessment completed by a medical professional.
There are three types of ADHD: the inattentive type, which often shows up as
or a combination that features all of these characteristics. Any person with ADD/ADHD may not exhibit symptoms exactly like those above—or even share some of them at all!
Not at all! So many people are living with early symptoms of ADHD without even knowing it or suspecting anything might be wrong, but here is where a learning disability assessment can come in handy. An evaluation may reveal that your young one's impulsivity and hyperactivity are not due to an underlying attention deficit disorder after all. For example, he or she may have a reading challenge that needs to be addressed right away through effective treatment programs for dyslexia, troubles paying attention because they have been diagnosed and treated for anxiety disorders or depression, or simply need more time to finish tasks because they struggle so much with organizational skills. But too often, children (and adults!) with attention deficit disorder aren't given the time they need to improve—for them, it's often a matter of survival!