Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity that occurs in academic, occupational, or social settings.
Symptoms of ADHD sound a lot like typical kid-behavior—and that can make a diagnosis challenging. Most kids are fidgety, easily distracted and don’t want to listen. These behaviors become problematic and may be diagnosed as ADHD when they become severe and interfere with daily functioning and social and academic development.
ADHD is especially hard on parents, who often blame themselves for their child’s problems. ADHD has been labeled everything from a disorder to a disease, to merely bad behavior and lack of willpower.
ADHD is not simply a childhood disorder—data indicate that 3 to 4 percent of adults in the US have ADHD. Symptoms in adults include poor concentration, lack of focus, forgetfulness and procrastination. Adult ADHD can have negative effects on relationships and job performance and has been linked to addiction, anxiety and depression.
Experts agree that the causes of ADHD are variable and individual-specific. Current research indicates the following potential causes for ADHD:
1. Heredity: ADHD runs in families and there may be genes specific to occurrence of the disorder. At least 25% of adults with a history of hyper-activity are the biologic parent of a child with hyperactive symptoms. What genes are involved? Current research suggests that genes related to faulty inflammation modulation could be directly linked to development of ADHD.
2. Exposure to toxic substances during brain development: cigarette smoke and alcohol exposure during pregnancy have been implicated as possible triggers for ADHD. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals which can cause systemic and neuro-inflammation; inflammation related to alcohol has been shown to inhibit neuronal development and neuroprotective factors and to increase pro-inflammatory bio-chemicals in the brain—all of which have been shown to exist in ADHD patients.
3. Brain injury due to trauma: ADHD patients have higher than normal levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. During brain injury, the balance of neurochemicals in the brain switch from anti-inflammatory to pro- inflammatory cytokine generation. (4).
4. Brain structure differences: ADHD patients showed 3-4% smaller volume in all brain regions (brain size is NOT related to intelligence). Research indicates that the presence of inflammatory cytokines is directly related to brain volume loss. (3) Neuro-inflammation is known to be tissue destructive and abnormally high levels of inflammatory cytokines have been found in patients with ADHD.
5. Neurotransmitter imbalances—deficiency in dopamine and norepinephrine production.
6. Inflammation— The development of ADHD is often accompanied by high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (6). Data suggests that this chronic inflammation contributes directly to increased neuron destruction, a feature found in ADHD brains. (5)
Food sensitivities, flora-imbalances and other gastrointestinal issues are often found concurrent with ADHD diagnosis—these issues are related to chronic inflammation of the GI tract. Coexisting conditions are an indicator of systemic chronic inflammation which may be have predictive value and contribute to ADHD symptoms.
7. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Imbalance. (3) Patients with ADHD have been shown to have low DHA (Omega-3) and high Omega 6 levels (15). This non-optimal ratio, which is probably due to current dietary preferences, has been shown to increase inflammation, especially in the brain. Low DHA is also associated with impairments in cognitive and behavioral performance (2).
8. Oxidative stress—reflects an inability to detoxify free radicals or to repair their damage. Oxidative metabolism (detoxification) was found to be impaired in children and adolescents with ADHD (1) indicating a potential role for anti-oxidant therapy in the management of symptoms.
How does cryotherapy help children and adults with ADHD? Extensive research has shown that brain inflammation is connected to virtually all types of mental illness. Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as more serious conditions like autism, dementia, and even schizophrenia, have all been linked to inflammation of the brain.
Whole body cryotherapy is fundamentally anti-inflammatory. Exposure to cold, as found in cryotherapy:
1. stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory bio-chemicals throughout the body, including in the brain;
2. releases endorphins which improve mood, focus, memory, concentration and sleep;
3. causes a vasoconstriction/vasodilation sequence which improves blood circulation and stimulates healing in damaged tissue;
4. increases levels of anti-oxidants, reducing oxidative stress and damage throughout the body, including in the brain;
5. increases levels of both dopamine and norepinephrine, which have been suggested to be low in ADHD patients.
For more information on how to treat ADHD naturally without medications, please click on this link:
Sources: Cryotherapy used to reduce symptoms of ADHD. (2018, April 30). Retrieved January 16, 2019, from http://chillcryotherapy.net/blog/cryotherapy-can-reduce-symptoms-of-adhd/
(1) Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;229(1-2):310-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 8.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Guney, Cetin, Alisik M, Tunca H, Tas Torun Y, Iseri E, Isik Taner Y, Cayci B, Erel O.
(2)Fenton W, Dickerson F, Boronow J, Hibbeln J, Knable M (2001) A placebo-controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acid (ethyl eicosapen- taenoic acid) supplementation for residual symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry 158: 2071–2074
(3) Raz R, Gabis L (2009) Essential fatty acids and attention-deficit- hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. Dev Med Child Neurol 51:580–592
(4) DaiS,ZhouY,LiW,AnJ,LiP,YangN,ChenX,XiongR,LiuP, Zhao Y, Shen H, Zhu P, Chen J (2010) Local glutamate level dictates adenosine A2A receptor regulation of neuroinflamma- tion and traumatic brain injury. J Neurosci 30:5802–5810
(5) Fredriksson A, Archer T (2004) Neurobehavioural deficits associated with apoptotic neurodegeneration and vulnerability for ADHD. Neurotox Res 6:435–456
(6) J. G. Millichap, “Etiologic classification of attention-deficit/hyper- activity disorder,” Pediatrics, 121, No. 2, e358–e365 (2008).