Dr. Richard Saul, a behavioral neurologist based in Chicago, has made an interesting observation about the squirming, unfocused children brought to his office by desperate parents who beg him to ease their child’s ADHD behavior. After 50 years of practicing medicine and seeing thousands of patients demonstrating symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dr Saul’s observation is that: ADHD doesn’t exist.
More than ten percent of American children have been diagnosed with the disorder, and it is now considered the most common mental health disorder in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the drug that has been most often prescribed for the condition, Ritalin, which was designed to stimulate the brain and reduce fidgeting, proves to sometimes exacerbate the condition and creates its own matrix of side effects, including dangerous behavior. According to Dr. Saul, treating so called ADHD behavior with stimulants is neglectful and wrong.
In the 70s, Saul believed in ADHD; however, he has come to the conclusion that an array of childhood attention disorders may be rooted in nutritional deficiencies. In many situations, iron deficiency (otherwise known as anemia) can produce fatigue, poor attention and concentration, and memory problems. Once iron was added to the diet with iron pills and more fish, fruit, vegetables, and nuts, performance and behavior improved. Significantly, a 2004 French study discovered that 84% of children diagnosed with ADHD were iron deficient, compared to only 18% of children that were not diagnosed with the alleged disease.
Dr. Saul has identified up to twenty diseases that have been misdiagnosed as ADHD, including Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. He believes that people who think they have ADHD or some other condition are dealing with a normal level of stress in a faster-paced world. The doctor recommends that changing your lifestyle, eating better, getting exercise, and sleeping more will mitigate the symptoms normally associated with ADHD.