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What Is The Difference Between ADD and ADHD? [E045]

Ever wonder the difference between ADD and ADHD – especially when it comes to children vs. Adults? Why do some people get ‘it’ and some people don’t? In this episode, we will dive deep into the difference between these two ‘labels’ and what it looks like from a holistic and natural perspective.

Table Of Contents

The Difference Between ADD And ADHD

The Difference Between ADD And ADHD
Photographer: Ben White | Source: Unsplash

Brian Joseph: There are a lot of questions that come up around what is difference between ADD and ADHD? Is this just something kids get? Do adults get it? What’s the difference between the two? Why do some get it and some don’t? At some point, I think every one of us think our… Everybody thinks that their kid is the one that has some issues with concentration. There are some normal things that show up. There are some things that you could buy recognize as abnormal. So we’re just going to have an open discussion about what that looks like from our perspective and hopefully shed some light on this subject for you.

Whitney Hamad: So absolutely. So yeah, I think as we get into… So if you’re looking at, aside from the acronyms, what are you really looking at? You’re looking at either attention issues, meaning the ability to focus and stay focused, and/or attention with hyperactivity. And those could be two drastically different things, or there could be two different drivers behind each of those two different children with those labels. So we can get into that today about what we might be looking for, what you could look for as a parent.

Acronyms For ADD & ADHD

Brian Joseph: So first, an acronym that most people are familiar with would be ADD. So you just talked about the two different types, but ADD would be what compared to ADHD?

Whitney Hamad: So ADD is the attention issue. So again, that inability to stay focused.

Brian Joseph: All right, so ADD is an acronym for attention deficit disorder. Right? What about ADHD?

Whitney Hamad: So now you ADD in, you layer with that the hyperactivity, the ability for your child’s wiggling in their seat, you get note after note, they cannot sit still.

Brian Joseph: I feel like myself sometimes.

Brian Joseph: So the acronym for it, ADHD, actually stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. So two different labels, but ultimately both of them come back to something similar, which is basically how well we can concentrate or hold our attention. Right?

Whitney Hamad: Right.

We All Have Some ADD & ADHD In Us

We All Have Some ADD & ADHD In Us
Photographer: Hugh Han | Source: Unsplash

Brian Joseph: So guys, in your opinion, from what you know, is this simply a condition that shows up in children or does it show up in older children or adolescents, adults, or all the above? Or I don’t know?

Jason Hamad: Or I don’t agree. Let’s just put it that way. I think that we all have some ADD, ADHD in us, to be very upfront. I think that if we looked across the our history that we’d see some of the greatest minds, some of the greatest leaders of our times. If you look back in their childhood and you have accounts of how they grew up, they were difference between ADD and ADHD. Some of the best artists, some of the best composers all had these… not all, but many of them had these challenges.

I think that we’ve created, again, because we want simplicity. We want people to be perfect. We created school systems that now force kids into a little box, or we’ve got adults in a corporate setting, and you’re sitting in a cubicle now. If you don’t fit into that mold of learning or fit into that mold of being in a corporate environment, that now is a bad thing. Now it’s ADD ADHD. So do I believe that there’s a diagnosis for it? Yeah, I do believe that our culture has created it.

Do I think it’s a bad thing? I personally don’t. I still recognize as a genius within that human body in that mind that maybe, just maybe, that environment just won’t allow that genius to come out. It doesn’t mean that kid is wrong or that adult is wrong. It just means that that’s not the right environment. That’s my take on it.

A culture of overstimulation

Brian Joseph: Now there are different levels of severity where some people have it really, really extreme and then we need to talk about some of the ways that we can taper that down.

Jason Hamad: No, I don’t think that’s fair. It’s like it’s not even fair to the adult or the kid. I mean, let’s just think about for a second that what we have done collectively as a culture. Okay? We have foods that are high in sugar, we have foods that are using stuff like high fructose corn syrup, which is exponentially more sweetness and sugar than the human body was meant to actually process.

We know that from research. Then what we do is we now have the advent of video games and the blue lights in the iPhones. Which again we know from research the lighting systems that hypersensitize or hyper-excites the brain and the neurons in the brain.

More and more kids are not getting a chance to even do gym classes. Some schools are taking out official education because of budgetary restraints, et cetera. And so kids are sitting, they’re eating more sugar. And then on top of that we’ve got mom and dad both working, so not having as much connection time at home. This is like we’re creating an environment that is fostering the inability to focus.

It’s like we are overstimulating our brains with our food choices, our lack of movement and our technology uses in such a high way, that when you remove any of those, the brain can’t help… It’s addicted. It needs something. So it fidgets, it can’t focus on a teacher because she’s not Facebook, she’s not Snapchat, she’s not blue lights.

Pharmaceuticals are not the answer

Whitney Hamad: Right. Well, and then, in this case, the neuro-transmitters have gotten out of balance. So now you are looking at a brain issue. You’re looking at maybe a driven issue from our culture, what we’re doing or how we’re doing the school system or not having enough activity or sugar, and you’ve messed up now the bang brain chemistry. So maybe that kid does need help getting that back in balance or that adult or whoever that may be.

Now, in my opinion, pharmaceuticals are not the answer, and I’m stating that pretty clearly and loudly because just do your research. I mean, we’re looking at cocaine derivatives, and they work differently. If you’re prescribing the same medication you are in a five-year-old child or eight-year-old child to a teen and to an adult, you’re talking about a whole different ballgame about how that’s affecting that adult or teen. So it just do your research on that. But the reality is there may need some balancing plus lifestyle strategies because the person has gotten so out of balance.

Brian Joseph: So I think you bring up a great point that’s worth expanding on is just, the brain is similar to training your body, its muscles. And if we overtrain one area of our body, one of our muscles sets, then another way, we’re going to see some imbalances begin to be developed. Now, I think that now as Dr. J mentioned, some of the social activities that we find our children being involved in right now, whether it be technology or non-technology, happen to be training one section of the brain pretty aggressively.

Foods To Avoid For Kids With ADD & ADHD

We All Have Some ADD & ADHD In Us
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

Brian Joseph: So what would be, Dr. Whitney, some of the don’ts in terms of food choices for if that you have a child that’s got some difference between ADD and ADHD issues, what would be some of the foods you would try to avoid?

Whitney Hamad: Yeah. I think Dr. J said it clearly. He hit the nail on the head, is the sugar. I mean, the sugar, again, like cocaine, activates the brain. There are great MRI studies where you can see the activation of the brain after sugar. And it is, it’s highly addictive and it facilitates the brain. And we’ve done some great podcasts on food additives and food dyes and food coloring. Absolutely, those are all big ones, and most of those wrap in sugar anyway, so minimize that sugar. Gluten, for some kiddos, that gluten, like sugar, it’s a facilitator for the brain, especially for kids who have leaky gut or gut issues. Again, you can go back and listen to a lot of Dr. Olivia’s podcasts on this, but that gluten can also really excite the child.

And we’ve seen patients, we’ve known friends who they’ve gone gluten-free with their child for one reason or the other or specifically difference between ADD and ADHD, and they’ve seen changes. Now, not all, but some have. So then finally glycemic balance. So a do would be add-in that protein. We’ve talked about healthy proteins, healthy fats. Get that in any possible chance you can, because again, it’s going to curb the sugar addictions and it’s going to minimize the sugar, the food additives, and the coloring. And then yeah, look and do more research. Look into gluten-free and gut health.

Avoid food coloring

Brian Joseph: Anything else that you would ADD to that list? Dr. J?

Jason Hamad: I know you touched on it, but I would just tell you really to avoid the food coloring. And I’m only speaking from a parent of one of our kids is extremely sensitive to it. And we may have alluded to it in past shows, but our son, Boston, when he has food coloring, it literally transforms his brain, like it literally. And so we recognize it. And now, all the other kids don’t have that issue. So if a kid already has attention deficit or hyperactivity, then I would absolutely avoid anything that has a neurotoxic or any type of negative neuro effects. And as we have outlined in the past, food colorings 100% do. So that’s a big one in our house is staying away from food coloring.

Get The Kids To Rebound

Get The Kids To Rebound
Photographer: Brandon Morgan | Source: Unsplash

Brian Joseph: So awesome. So then now let’s look at the other component, that of movement. So we know movement stimulates a lot of activity in the brain and helps to balance neuro activities in the brain. And as we talk about motion being life and a lot of these technology devices are limiting our children’s movements. If you were to say, okay, here is something that every kid must do every day to give themselves a chance to limit the likelihood of difference between ADD and ADHD and brain development, what comes to mind?

Jason Hamad: First thing in the morning, rebound. So I would have a child-

Brian Joseph: A lot of people might not know what that is.

Jason Hamad: So rebounding, so think of it, it’s a miniature trampoline that you can have in your home. You can go online and go on Amazon and get them right now. That is one of the best things the beginning of the day to help recalibrate or reset the human neurology. You were speaking about an area of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum controls a great deal of activity in the brain itself. So what we’re trying to do is very first thing in the morning is stimulate the brain with what we call hyperactivity, but it’s controlled.

So we’re having them rebound or use a miniature trampoline. And in doing so, we are stimulating the parts of their brain. So the brain is like, oh yes, thank you. I was starving for activity. So now I don’t feel the need to X, Y, Z because you just gave me that food, and that food in the brain sense is movement.

Full body activation is the key

Brian Joseph: So can we dumb that down a little bit? Would jumping jacks or just jumping up and down at home without the trampoline work?

Jason Hamad: It would. Full body activation is the key. The key with rebounding is, as the name implies, there’s something with the stopping, the pulling and then the reversing of the direction that activates different parts of the brain better than just static movements, jumping jacks, etc. However, Doc, if that’s not available, jumping jacks are great or even active crawling.

So crawling, that’s a big deal because we want to activate as many parts of the body simultaneously as we possibly can because when we do that, we’re activating different parts of the brain. So just getting on the ground and crawling for five minutes, going back and forth and rolling around and something of that nature will absolutely stimulate the brain, and it’s a great way to start the day. And I would make the argument that even later on in the day, getting him outside running, screaming, yelling. Yelling, you’re activating your cardiovascular activity. So you’re using your brain using your cardiovascular activity, you’re laughing, engaging musculature in the core. So playing, just playing. And then as they come home from school, if they’re on the video game machines and technology, there’s got to be a break.

Jason Hamad: You got to get them a break in, you’ve got to get them outside. You’ve got to do the rebounding, the jumping jacks, the crawling, you’ve got to activate it again because you’re sitting and you’re just absorbing all that video games and those lights. They’re just hyper-stimulating the brain and it’s like crack cocaine.

Why Movement Is So Important

Why Movement Is So Important
Photographer: Ahmad Odeh | Source: Unsplash

Brian Joseph: So let’s give a little bit of the science why all these movements are being suggested to you here. And some of these words made me nothing to you, and some of them might mean something to you, but physical activity in general basically immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine levels, norepinephrine and then serotonin levels. What are those do? Those are hormones in your body that help you basically focus and be able to have stronger attention.

So if you have internal fidgetiness, then just to go out and actually exercise and move your body is going to start to release some better hormones. Coming back to Dr. Whitney’s statement of balancing out the brain, just like we’re talking about balancing out the muscles, if you’re allowing your child or yourself to get outside, breathe fresh air, move around, run, laugh, cry, all the things that they need to do, as we’re meant to do, then you’re taking a brain that was heavily one-sided because it got basically put it in a situation where it didn’t have the other side of the brain get stimulated properly, and you’re giving it a chance to balance, which is cool.

Whitney Hamad: It really is. It really is.

Jason Hamad: And we’ve talked a lot about kids in this one, but from an adult standpoint, right now, there are a plethora of opportunities for adults to get some of that same type of really big gross, awesome… gross meaningful body, movement. So we’ve got functional fitness is on a huge craze. So I don’t care what city you’re in these days, you can find a gym that’s doing Bootcamp training, CrossFit style, FX45, you name it.

Seek help if you don’t know what to do

Whitney Hamad: And then for kids, if I would have to say like my top four or five resources, if you’re a parent and you are at that point where you’re like, okay, I feel like I need help though. What can I do? What professionals can I seek? You’ve got a combination of chiropractic, which is fantastic. We have worked with patients now for over a decade, hundreds of patients with the difference between ADD and ADHD.

You’ve got sensory, so you’ve got your occupational therapists locally, we have Leaps and Bounds. So take that concept that Dr. J was just talking about and put that in a box for kids. It’s fantastic. Sensory integration work is amazing. And then you’ve got again, what we do in functional medicine and nutrition. You’ve got gut health, you’ve got food allergies and food sensitivities, and you’ve got neurotransmitter testing and you’ve got just the basics of supplements. Fish oils and minerals have been proven in research to improve test scores better than Ritalin. So there are so many great resources out there.

Brian Joseph: And proper sleep.

Do the exact opposite

Brian Joseph: So here’s what I thought was really cool as we wrap this episode up, is you would think if a kid… Let’s just go back to kids. You would think if a kid had trouble with their attention and they’re hyperactive, a lot of times you’re trying to do the opposite as a cure. You’re saying, son or daughter, you need to sit here. You need to breathe, you need to meditate, you need a timeout.

What we’re advocating is the exact opposite. We’re actually saying your kid needs to move, they need more. The reason that they cannot still themselves because they have yet to go have enough movement in their day or their week, and they’ve got a lot of pent up energy that needs to get released. So a lot of times, we think that man, the thing we need our child to do, or ourselves, is to still themselves and sit in a corner and not move. We’re saying the exact opposite, which is kind of cool.

Jason Hamad: Yeah.

Closing Thoughts: Keep It Simple

Brian Joseph: So any final thoughts as we wrap up on either you guys as ends?

Jason Hamad: No, keep it simple. Move the body, eat cleaner food for the little ones, and as parents just create the space to allow, as Dr. Brian said, our kids be who they need to be. And that’s something that obviously as a parent myself, I work on is making sure I give my kids a space to be who they could be, versus trying to force them into this one way.

Brian Joseph: If someone that’s dealing with difference between ADD and ADHD, or even believes that their children have it or they made themselves might have it, then maybe share this with them because this could be something that they find some value in and trying to identify some solutions to improve what’s going on in their own world. So, hey, until next time, continue to do the right things to keep yourself well and to stay well as long as you can.

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