ADHD Medications: The Body Bone’s Connected to the Brain Bone!
On the ADD Crusher™ Facebook page, we often see flurries of questions and qualms about medical treatment for ADD. I’ve always shied away from commenting too much on such posts, because, as I say right up front in the Crusher videos, I ain’t no doctor or expert on anything other than the alternative/natural strategies that have taken me and my clients from mess to success. (Although I learn and develop more good/useful stuff, including more alternative ADHD strategies, every day.)
On meds, I prefer to defer to folks like ADHD Coach Laurie Dupar who, as a former psychiatric nurse, can school you real good on meds – and does so in some of her presentations. Another reliable source is Dr. Charles Parker. I saw part of Parker’s presentation at the ADHD Coaches Organization conference last March (where Laurie also made a great presentation), and you only have to see this guy talking for a few minutes to know he’s a guy to listen to and learn from.
So when I found an archived interview with him on Attention Talk Radio, I had to listen, in hopes I might at least get a few pointers I could pass along to the Crusher Facebook fans. He certainly delivered.
In an interview themed, “Pay attention to meds for paying attention”, first thing he points out is that ADHD medications have to go through the body to get to the mind. Hmmm. Hadn’t really thought about that. Anyway, as a result, what’s going on with the body impacts how well your meds are gonna work. Here are a few interesting topic areas that will help you steer a smarter course with your (or your loved one’s) meds regimen…
- Immune System & Food Allergies: If you’re allergic to milk, eggs or gluten, your bowel can become inflamed. By far the most common allergen is milk – but it’s not always an acute thing. It’s often chronic and asymptomatic, so you don’t know it’s going on. But that inflammation can interfere with the delivery of your meds to your brain.
- Your Liver: you can have an otherwise healthy liver in terms of acute pathology – but a “constipated” one that has a chronic foul-up, thus affecting the absorption of med chemicals. Any treatment for ADD will be impeded when the liver doesn’t function properly.
- Your Diet: Neurotransmitters, which are what we’re fixing when we take meds, are products of amino acids and proteins – and have a short half-life. So if your digestive process isn’t right, you’re not making the micro-nutrients that produce the neurotransmitters. And just as I teach in Video I, Way 1: Feed Your Brain, Parker says you gotta get the protein – especially in the morning.
- Exercise and Metabolism: These two are related, because an increase in activity can affect metabolic rate – and you can burn through your meds’ effective window more quickly as a result of a significant increase in activity. So a kid (or adult) who takes up a new sport that increases physical activity, may find that meds become less effective – and have no idea why!
- Side Effects: These are the window into whether you’re using the med correctly. If you’re getting side effects – these are markers that are telling you that you need to change what you’re doing!!!
Also know that different meds have different windows of effectiveness. Vyvanse is a different kind of med than Ritalin, for instance, so it has a different onset and ‘shut-off’. Even a kid, Parker says, should be a “partner” in this arrangment, and parents can help kids to keep aware of the effective windows throughout the day.
And lastly – and this I tell EVERYONE, cuz I know it from personal experience — each person is different and metabolizes stimulants differently. All too often, ADDers get the diagnosis, try the medication, have a bad experience, then give up. Whichever treatment your doctor recommended initially, there’s most likely another that could work better for your body.
You need to pay attention to how your meds are working. If something feels out of whack, go back to your doc and tell him/her in as much detail as possible what you’re experiencing, because you (or your child) deserve to get correct results from meds. So if you go get a prescription and it doesn’t work as you’d hoped or there’s some problem – TELL YOUR DOCTOR and DON’T WRITE OFF MEDS. It’s trial and error. Keep trying!!
Next I’ll talk about powerful stuff that doesn’t come in a bottle.
PS — if you’d like to check out the Attention Talk Radio interview with Dr. Parker, it’s here.