Question: My son has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) w/ Cyclothymia. He has problems with anger outbursts. His meds are trileptal, seroquel, lithium. We were advised to put him on Cod Liver Oil Capsules, Reishi Mushroom, Magnesium Malate, Holy Basil, trace minerals, and ashwaganda. This has been for about 4 weeks. No change, although he is having trouble sleeping. Help!
Answer: I would never recommend a child take such a potion of dangerous drugs to treat the symptoms you describe. He should use light therapy for about a half hour every morning. Light therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating ADHD, ADD, Bipolar depression and insomnia. Once he is doing this for a few months, see if his physician is willing to start gradually reducing his medication. You might need to switch to a different doctor with a more conservative outlook; one who disagrees with using major tranquilizers on children and is willing to use milder, less risky medication.
The nutritional component part of my program is also critical. I have successfully treated children with ADHD with the same natural-food, high-nutrient, vegetable-nut-fruit-based plan that I recommend to all my patients. See my book "Disease Proof Your Child" for more specific dietary recommendations. Your son's brain health is dependent on the nutritional quality of his diet!
Finally, Cod Liver Oil contains high amounts of Vitamin A, which I do not recommend. A high quality, algae derived DHA product would be more suitable. DHA, which is an essential nutrient for brain function, is typically found to be low in the blood of ADHD sufferers compared to other children and has also been found to improve the behavior and symptoms of ADHD. Since rancidity affects the quality and taste of many fish oil and DHA products on the market, I make sure my DHA Purity is stored under controlled refrigeration until it is shipped out to you.
Keep in mind, these natural approaches to ADHD/ODD do not magically make the problem disappear overnight. It could take 3-6 months to observe a significant change in behavior. It is in your child's best interests however, to give my methods a chance before exposing him to the long term dangers of these prescription drugs.
NOTE: Visit the Vitamin Advisor for detailed recommendations on supplements for children with ADHD.