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Anxiety, ADD or Intelligence?

by Michael Cheikin, MD


A son and daughter are both diagnosed with ADD before the age of 10. The son is more hyperkinetic, the daughter takes forever to complete any task and is distracted in school. The mother’s mother is chronically on anxiety medications. The father has mild anxiety but no family history. All family members are highly intelligent. Medications, therapy, exercise, and “going gluten free” has helped. What to conclude, where to go?

Symptoms and Intelligence
Current medical terminology has created a lexicon of mental descriptors, but they are just that, descriptions. Five children with anxiety or ADD can have ten or more behavioral patterns, each child’s pattern changing with circumstance. So, lumping them all into one ICD-10 code or using one class of medication to solve all their problems is inherently flawed.

A symptom is an unpleasant experience, while anxiety is an unpleasant emotion, featuring fear or worry without clear cause. ADD/ADHD is a complex with impulsivity, problems concentrating and excessive motion, often not directly bothersome to the patient. Other symptoms of anxiety can also be misinterpreted.

Intelligence is the ability to see patterns and to learn. Most of us cannot use intelligence (or will power) to control emotion or behavior. The emotional system, rooted in survival, takes over during times of anxiety; behavior becomes controlled by ancient programming and looks like impulsivity and aggression (fight), avoiding (flight); and/or procrastination (freezing), served with a side of rumination, guilt and stuckness.

Unfortunately, intelligence is a fuel added to the fire of anxiety and ADD. The internet and the news can be suffocating rather than empowering.

Neurochemistry
Anxiety is a mental phenomena which  cannot be directly measured. However, if mind is “software”, “hardware” is the brain wiring and chemistry, which can be measured and altered.

The neurochemistry of anxiety overlaps with that of attention and intelligence. If one is born intelligent, like being gifted a Corvette, one must maintain the hardware with higher quality materials or deal with a misfiring engine. With improper care, the assets of the machine are turned into deficits. Such misfiring often looks like anxiety or ADHD.

Neuro-transmitters, the molecules that nerve cells send and receive to transmit information, come in over 100 varieties. It is the balance of these chemicals that affect and reflect our mood, ability to concentrate, level of arousal and ability to learn. These chemicals affect every system of the body (immune, gut, etc.) and are in turn affected by every system of the body.

The “gut-brain connection” is quite intimate; for example, most serotonin for the body is manufactured by the gut, and then transported elsewhere for use. Mainstream research has proven that a dysfunctional gut can cause brain dysfunctions of many types. Our level of anxiety and arousal, like weight, have a setpoint that is in part nature but more so nurture, even prenatally.

Genetic Tendency
Families not only share genes, they also share foods, toxins, ecology and epigenes. It is common for parents and  children to share sinus, fungal and other infections. This can be explained by a shared strain of bacteria or yeast that alters neuro-chemistry. Families also share enzymes that transport essential nutrients. Shared zinc mal-absorption can contribute to common infections and be  corrected with monitored supplementation at levels unique to the family.

Conventional and Holistic Approaches
Medications can work in the short-term, but with long-term risks of addiction and recidivism. Stressors of many types can make any symptoms worse. Therapy can identify and manage such stressors to a certain degree.
Root causes of brain dysfunction include deficiencies of omega-3 oils, B-vitamins, iodine, lithium, sleep disorder; toxicities with mercury, lead, fluoride, bromide, certain vaccines and/or “organic” pollutants that come from petroleum, plastics, pesticides, preservatives and pharmaceuticals; brain infections with Lyme, other spirochetes, strep infections (PANDAS syndrome); and stressors such as head traumas (soccer), recreational substances, and emotional abuse. Looking for the root cause of these brain disorders requires a holistic approach.

Not only does the mind direct the body, the body directs the mind—a concept integral to alternative medicine. By changing the body physically through methods such as exercise and massage, chemically with foods, eliminations and individualized supplements, and energetically with methods such as yoga and acupuncture, the mind can be re-balanced and eventually re-set with many improvements.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
1. This educational material may not be used to influence medical care without supervision by a licensed practitioner.
2. These contents are ©2016 by Michael Cheikin MD and may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
3. Dr. Cheikin’s website has related articles and references such as “Neurotransmitters”, “Yoga and Kids’ Brains” and others.

Michael Cheikin MD is a holistic physician, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (“Physiatry”), Pain Management, Spinal Cord Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine and licensed in Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Cheikin has extensively studied yoga, diet and metabolism, Ayurvedic, Chinese and energy medicine and other alternative modalities for over 30 years. He specializes in obscure, chronic and severe problems that have not responded satisfactorily to other methods of healing.  www.cheikin.com           


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