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Question on Quora:

Do you believe ADHD, anxiety & severe depression are genetic or an environmental problem? Is there a cure? My son was diagnosed with all 3.

My answer:

I’m going to address the topic of ADHD first, then the anxiety and depression.

Your son does not have a disorder. People labeled as having autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are labeled because their brains are wired differently from the other 80% of society. And because society doesn’t like people who don’t conform to the norms of behavior and thought processes, it feels obligated to label them.

Go ask your son right now if he thinks in words or in pictures. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

If he’s like my son, and you’re like me, he told you that he thinks in pictures, and you just about fell on the floor because you never heard of anybody who thought in pictures.

This is critical to understand for a few of reasons. First, your son has awesome artistic/mechanical potential in his head. Do some digging, and you’ll find that the geniuses of the world tend to be those whose characteristics match those of autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.

Second, your son is going to be able to concentrate on things that interest him for long periods of time, and remember facts that interest him forever. But learning by rote (such as the math facts) and focusing on things he couldn’t care less about will be (already have been, I’m guessing) a major struggle.

Because, third, your son needs a lot of mental stimulation. Let’s face it: memorizing the multiplication facts by rote isn’t very stimulating. The reason for the “hyperactivity” in the diagnosis is that the children who receive it can’t conform to the extremely unnatural and unhealthy expectation of the school society (and, often, family society) to sit still for long periods of time.

What do I mean by mental stimulation?

  • Reading, or having read to him, books that interest him.
  • Engaging in fun games with other children.
  • Working on a project that interests him (sketching animals, or building a jet with blocks).
  • Watching movies or T.V. (or YouTube).
  • Playing video games.

Schools don’t allow children to involve themselves in this level of mental stimulation all day long. Indeed, they can’t. The classroom setting just isn’t set up that way.

ADHD is a misnomer. Your son does not have a deficit, nor does he have a disorder. He simply doesn’t fit in with the mainstream. This is genetic, not environmental.

One of the frustrating things about this for parents is that many (most?) children diagnosed with ADHD are developmentally delayed. They are two to four years behind their average peers in cognitive and emotional development, especially when it comes to speech, reading, and understanding social cues. You need to forget “average” and focus on loving your son for who is right now, knowing that he will eventually “catch up” to “everybody else.”

Another issue you need to understand is that your son is also a Highly Sensitive Person (if you’ve never heard of that, google it). His temper is explosive and he can be downright destructive when he gets angry. Am I right? He is also likely a picky eater, and certain smells, tastes, and textures bother him. He may be sensitive to loud noises.

The good thing is, he’s going to grow up to be one of those sensitive men that every woman wishes their husband was.

The better thing is, some of these sensitivities can be ameliorated by diet and nutrition. Hang onto that thought for a moment.

Now I’m going to address the anxiety and depression. While people diagnoses with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia tend to develop anxiety and depression – creativity slamming into perfectionism slamming into trouble conforming to society, I think – when they reach the point of causing a problem in someone’s life, they are most probably caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is caused by nutritional deficiencies and improper diet.

Correct those, and you will also see your son’s sensitivities diminish to a much more tolerable level. I speak from personal experience with my own son.

As far as diet and nutrition healing depression and anxiety, also from personal experience. With myself. I go into great detail about it on a blog post I recently wrote. Click here to read it. It’s long and I don’t want to reiterate it here.

In closing, if your son is also dyslexic (which many children diagnosed with ADHD are), I highly recommend you read the book The Gift Of Dyslexia by Ron Davis. There is also a book The Gift of ADHD by a different author, Lara Honos-Webb. I haven’t read it, but it looks promising.

All the best to you and your family. 🙂

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