A child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder experiences more than just uncontrollable behavior and inattention. Many children with ADHD also suffer from a constellation of other health problems like anxiety, motor coordination difficulties, allergies, and learning disorders. Unfortunately, these underlying health issues never get treated, because most children take ADHD medications to manage the disorder. Although stimulant medication can temporarily correct the neurotransmitter imbalance that causes the symptoms, this approach only corrects one piece of the ADHD puzzle. For many children, taking medication just leads to more puzzling questions and riddles rather than answers and results.
There are many medical treatment options for ADHD that do not involve the use of stimulant drugs. One such treatment was developed by psychiatrist Harold Levinson MD to address the symptoms of ADHD and its underlying disorders. The treatment is called cerebellar therapies, and is based on the fact that 95% of children and adults with ADHD experience inner-ear/cerebellar-vestibular (CV) dysfunctions. After working with over 35,000 patients, Dr. Levinson discovered that problems with the CV often account for disorders like dyslexia, mood disorders, and ADHD.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Levinson believes that the CV theory is the only one that can explain all the behavioral symptoms of ADHD and its co-morbid conditions.
How exactly can dysfunctions in the inner ear/CV explain the diagnostic criteria and other symptoms of ADHD? Dr. Levinson lists the mechanisms of the inner ear/CV to show us how they relate to our physical and mental well-being.
• Think of the inner ear as a computer system with a three-dimensional compass. Our inner ear guides our eyes, feet, hands, and movements as we move in the physical world. The inner ear also helps us navigate, by telling us about spatial relationships like up and down, left and right. Poor balance and coordination due to inner-ear dysfunction can explain vertigo, fear of falling, or fear of riding in elevators and escalators.
• The inner ear works as a filter that blocks out irrelevant sensory-motor background and stimuli. It tfine-tunes our motor responses based on this information. Problems in the inner ear can explain why children with ADHD are easily distractible and cannot focus.
• The inner ear is closely connected to the centers of the nervous system that modulate mood and motor energy, which can account for mood swings and hyperactivity.
By examining how problems in specific CV-related components trigger the symptoms of ADHD, it is possible to use cerebellar therapies to achieve a 75-80% success rate in overcoming the symptoms for good.
The first step of the treatment is a thorough medical exam that checks for problems in the inner ear/CV. After examining the test results together with the child’s set of symptoms and problems, the practitioner will design a treatment plan to correct any dysfunction. Although Dr. Levinson did use some medication to treat his patients, these inner-ear/CV dysfunctions can also be treated using non-medical procedures like neurofeedback.
If you’d like to find out how treating inner ear/CV dysfunctions can help your child, consult a chiropractor trained in functional neurology. You can find a list of certified chiropractors at http://www.acnb.org.