Attention Deficit and Hypeactivity Disorders (AD-HD)— an epidemic affecting children.

Data from CDC National Center for Health Statistics Report, 2008. Diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disability: United States, 2004–2006.

Steady increase in prevalence from 1997-2006
Questions: Are we seeing the effects of “increased awareness” in the clinical community over the last  two decades?  Has increased classroom size and demand on teachers affected the frequency these diagnoses?

National averages: Boys: 11.8 (0.4)* Girls: 4.8 (0.2)*
Comment & Questions: Boys appear to be affected much more than girls.  Does this pattern reflect our expectations regarding the “acceptable” classroom behaviors of boys and girls?  Should young boys behave the same as young girls?

Ethnicity: White: 9.8 (0.3)*, Black: 8.6(0.6)*, Hispanic:5.3 (0.4)*
Comment: Hispanics appear to be affected to a lesser degree.

Family Structure: Mother only: 11.2 (0.6)*, Mother-Father:7.1 (0.3)*
Comment: Family structure apparently is an important factor in the prevalence of this condition.

* mean (std error of the mean)

Prevalence of AD-HD in Oregon: 7.1%



In the winter of 2010, I taught a class through the Wilsonville Community Center education programs about Pediatric Hyperactivity Syndromes, as AD-HD is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

My review of the literature suggests that approximately 30-70% of childhood onset ADHD cases persist into adulthood, with only conventional Western treatments.   In addition there appears to be some overlap between the ADHD and Learning Disorders (LD) categories.

The research also suggests that the conventional treatments used for ADHD may not protect children from long lasting deficits in up to two 2 out of 3 cases. One of my patients, now in his 40s and who was diagnosed with this condition as a child, believes that this assessment is correct.

In TCM, we see this syndrome as being caused primarily by two deficiencies.
1. A deficiency of yin, leading to hyperactive patterns, and
2. A deficiency of Qi, leading to a deficit in attention.

Both patterns are considered to be reflective of constitutional deficiencies— derived from a developmental weakness in Taiyin organs during childhood and from a tendency towards an excess of Yang in children.  This is a seminal contribution of TCM theory to the understanding of pediatric diseases and reflects how observations by Chinese physicians over two millenia can inform us about contemporary health concerns.

Both patterns can be addressed through acupuncture and internal medicine (i.e.,appropriate food choices, Chinese herbs).

Chinese herbal formulas are gentler and safe, and made to the same standards as Western pharmaceuticals— i.e., current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).