ADHD or maybe…parasites?

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I have a Master’s Degree in child psychology and though I’ve worked with a lot of kids, I’ve never been sold on the idea of ADHD. I believe that there are probably some children who are actually hyperactive and unfocused, but the number of children who are diagnosed with ADHD each year is hard for me to believe. So if ADHD is not an emotional problem, what is it?


Well the truth is, I can’t tell you for sure, but I’ve noticed a few popular items that keep emerging in the research about this “disorder”. One is nutrition and the other is sleep deprivation. For most parents who have been sent home with ADHD as the final diagnosis, this is no revelation, but I want to connect the dots from nutrition and sleep deprivation to a problem that’s so simple, it’s elegant.



Believe it or not, most school-aged kids and many adults are infected with pinworms and probably other common intestinal parasites as well such as roundworms or hookworms. In this article, I’m going to stick to pinworms as a possible explanation for ADHD, just to make things less muddled, but if your child has some strange symptoms (like daily headaches, nausea, frequent vomiting, arthritic symptoms, eye twitching, depression or…other weird or inexplicable stuff like that) he/she may have other types of parasites too.


Before I go on, let me just say that parasites can be treated easily through a parasite cleanse using ingredients like wormwood, black cohosh, and cloves. I describe the parasite treatment protocol that I used for my family here.


Pinworms can spread through touch or through the air which is why it would make sense that so many children in institutional setting would have them. Here are some of the symptoms associated with a pinworm infection in adults according to the MayoClinic:


Pinworms often cause no symptoms








Intermittent abdominal pain or nausea


Itching of the anal or vaginal area


Now, let’s translate these symptoms into how children might express them:


-Inability to pay attention because of a lack of sleep at night when the pinworms crawl out of the anus to lay their eggs


-Restlessness caused by general irritability in the intestines, anus, or vagina


-Difficulty staying focused due to daily/weekly/monthly die-off reactions that cause achiness and pain or stiffness in the joints


-Does not listen when spoken to, has difficulty remembering simple things, and often loses stuff perhaps because of the iron-deficiency anemia that often occurs with a corresponding infestation of hookworms (just wanted to add that piece in about hookworms, just this once).


A typical child who has been diagnosed with ADHD is often described as “constantly fidgeting or squirming”. ADHD kids get up out of their seat more often than other kids and they feel the need to move around constantly. These poor kids have trouble relaxing. Their behavior is described as impulsive, but let me describe how it feels as an adult to have a serious parasitic infection in the intestines from my own experience (excerpt from my personal journal):


Before I knew what was wrong with me, I couldn’t sit still even though I was exhausted all the time. Whenever I would sit, my insides would “quiver”. I thought perhaps it was stress and moving around made my symptoms more tolerable, but by the end of the day, after moving around so much and all the time, I was so sore and achy that I still couldn’t relax. But I wasn’t sick and so I couldn’t do anything but just…keep going. Sometimes, my left eye would start twitching uncontrollably. And whenever I would walk from one room to the next, I’d forget why. Sometimes, I would say the wrong thing when I spoke. Like when I kept saying, “Your way,” to my husband when what I really meant to say was “Your turn” (which would’ve made a lot more sense in context). I couldn’t stop myself sometimes from screwing up my words and my sentences (a symptom of B12 deficiency that often occurs as a result of intestinal parasites). I was irritable and sometimes I got angry with my family for no reason. Each night, I’d try to sleep but would wake up 14 to 15 times to go pee because the parasites had found their way into my bladder.”


Can you translate this experience into one your child may be having? Human parasites can, without a doubt, cause ADHD symptoms. But why wouldn’t your doctor tell you about pinworms (or hookworms, or roundworms), if they’re so common? Read this article to learn more about that.


You can talk with your doctor about diagnosing your child with parasites, but diagnostic tests in the U.S. are primitive and unreliable. They don’t test for a wide range of parasites that are common and the results from these tests aren’t always accurate. Treating your child with prescription medication is similarly tricky. Many of the medications available to treat common intestinal parasites are toxic substances that can cause more problems than they solve. A simple solution of wormwood, black walnut, and clove tinctures (or capsules) can cure your child’s parasite problems, but be aware that symptoms may get worse before they get better. This is because of the die-off reaction that takes place as parasites die inside the colon. As the parasites take their last breath, they release toxic farts and poop inside the body that causes headaches, achiness, and a general feeling of malaise. This die-off reaction may continue for a number of weeks if your child has a bad infestation of worms.


The good news is that herbal remedies work. Wormwood is the real deal. It’s a potent herb that can be used to prevent and treat malarial infections too. But make sure you get the dose right for your child. Read the label on the back of the bottle to get the appropriate dose for a child and then make sure that your child takes the medication religiously three to five times each day for no less than 8 weeks, but if symptoms persist, continue for up to 3 months.


Wormwood and black walnut will kill the adult parasites while clove kills the eggs. It’s important to kill adults and eggs because obviously, if you kill off just the adults, the eggs will eventually mature into adults and then your child will continue to have issues. The lifecycle of a pinworm is from 4 to 8 weeks which means that if you stop the parasite treatment too soon, before the eggs have hatched, your child may seem to get better and then suddenly take a turn for the worse. What kills the adults doesn’t necessarily work on the eggs. This is something that’s confounded parasitologists for years, but the trick is to continue treatment for at least 8 weeks to be certain that you’ve eradicated the eggs and the adult worms. Longer treatment may be necessary. In fact, when our family was afflicted with parasites, it took about a year of treatment to really start feeling “normal” again. But with each month of treatment, we felt better and better.


A tincture made of wormwood, clove, and black walnut is extremely bitter and so your child may refuse to drink it. Offer your child capsules filled with the herbs instead. It can take up to three months for an herbal regime to work but you can help your child feel better while he/she goes through the process. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water. PLENTY!!! Limit sugars (parasites LOVE sugar) and offer snacks like applesauce or pumpkins seed butter to hasten the process of cleansing. Epsom salts baths are important and it’s also important to make sure that your child wears warm clothes during the detox process. If your child complains of being cold, it might be because certain parasites suck large quantities of blood out of circulation through the intestines. Blood is diverted to the core and thus, the extremities can feel especially cold. And finally, be sure to give your child B12 supplements as well as a multi-vitamin that contains iron. If your child is anemic, you should notice a radical change in his behavior with 2 to 4 days after beginning supplementation. If your child has shown signs of anemia, note that these symptoms will likely recur during the treatment process. Keep supplementing your child with B12 and a multivitamin and continue providing the herbal treatment.



8 Responses to “ADHD or maybe…parasites?”

  1. sharon says:

    Your artical has amazed me, my son is 28 now,but been diagnosed with adhd since he was very young. He has all the symptoms you have described, and I’ve been saying for ages that I think he has parasites but no onecwill listen, he is a big strong guy,but over the psst year has had constant dioreah and is asleep most of the day.what do you suggest that we do,regards Sharon

    • Jennifer Shipp says:

      Hi Sharon,

      Have you tried any anti-parasitic treatments for your son yet? I’m not a doctor, of course, but based on my personal experiences de-worming, I would suggest that your son start with Humaworm ( and follow their treatment protocol for at least a month or two. The reason why I suggest doing Humaworm is because if he has roundworms, you don’t want him to get an impaction from a high worm load. Starting out with herbs (or Diatomaceous Earth is another option) is a good way to start clearing the body without having a massive exodus of parasites all at once.

      After he’s done a few months of an herbal or Diatomaceous Earth cleanse, you’ll have some new information to work with. Has he seen some worms in his stools? This is an obvious confirmation that parasites are a problem if he has. Has he experience some improvements in his health? This is another good sign that he should continue with the cleanse. It’s important to note that it isn’t always best to COMPLETELY obliterate parasites from the intestines. The idea here is to “rebalance” the intestinal flora. People who get rid of ALL the parasites run the risk of developing severe allergies that are almost as bad as the parasite infection itself. As your son is trying to rid himself of parasites, there are other Americans booking flights to Cameroon in the hopes of INFECTING themselves with parasites…a gut that’s devoid of parasites completely can actually become hypersensitive to the environment.

      So that being said, do a mild cleanse at first and then, if desired, your son could speed the process a little by taking Pyrantel Pamoate ( or Albendazole (search for “Valbazen” at Amazon: Both of these medications can be found on Amazon, though they’re marketed for animals. This is off-putting to some people. You’ll have to decide what your comfort level is as far as vet medications are concerned. My family and I have had good results from using both of these medications.

      The Pyrantel that I’ve linked to gives dosage instructions for humans on the bottle. We took the appropriate dosage for 3 days and then waited for a month before taking it again. The die-off reaction is fairly severe and lasts for up to a week, but after that, the positive changes are notable. Albendazole works differently than the Pyrantel. The bad news with Albendazole is that you have to eat something fattening when you do the treatments to help them work their magic. And if you take Albendazole for an extended period of time, it can make the hair fall out. The good news is that it isn’t really necessary to take Albendazole for an extended period most of the time. For a 150 pound human, take about 3.75 mL once a day for three days. Then, wait for a month. It’s important to wait for a month between treatments because most of the gut parasites that you’d be treating have a lifecycle of about 1 month. There’s no sense inundating your body with a bunch of harsh medications over the course of the whole month. Take the dose, then endure the die-off reaction for a few days to a week. Then, feel better for a couple of weeks.

      Your son may notice that he starts to feel low again once every month to every six weeks. This could happen for a while (maybe up to a year). He’ll have to do another cleanse each month when he starts to feel low again. Eventually though (within 6 months to a year), he should wean himself off the Pyrantel or Albendazole and wait for two or three months to see what happens. The liver needs time to heal after a parasite cleanse. It’s not good to keep taking anti-parasitics chronically if you don’t have to.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Megan Richter says:

    Thanks for another great article.

  3. Paula Wiseman says:

    I found this article while researching after a relative suggested that my daughter’s ADHD might be linked to parasites. She actually expresses a lack of focus and impulsivity more than anything else and is not showing the symptoms mentioned here but I seem to have a few of these symptoms. The brain fog is very apparent and the joint pain. I will invest in the herbal remedy to try for all of my family as well as be consuming high alkaline rated foods as I’ve read that they help to minimize parasite activity. Thanks for your information.

    • Jennifer Smith says:

      Hi Paula!

      It sounds like you’re doing all the right things to get rid of parasites! Keep in mind that symptoms will often get worse instead of better for 5 to 7 days after you do a cleanse. That’s because the worms die-off and their rotting little corpses release toxins into the body before they’re released. If your daughter is in a state of perpetual die-off from the wormwood remedy, you could try taking pyrantel pamoate once a month, 3 doses (according to weight) for 3 days. Our family would alternate between pyrantel pamoate and albendazole from one month to the next to avoid any possibility of developing drug resistance. You don’t have to worry about drug resistance with herbal remedies because herbs are much more complex than synthetically produced medicines by the way, so both methods of doing a parasite cleanse are excellent in different ways!

      Our family moved to Mexico in January of 2017 and since that time, our health has improved quite a bit. In fact, a friend of mine is sending her 14 year old son, Jason, to live with us for 12 weeks to see if we can resolve his ADHD, anxiety, depression, and bedwetting issues. We’re going to start by getting him off his meds (Ritalin and Prozac) and then do modified version of the Gerson Diet which will basically include several weeks of juicing and a diet free of refined sugars, oils, and refined salts. His mom did a parasite cleanse on Jason several months ago, and she noticed a change in his behavior right away. His bedwetting also stopped. I told her that she needed to repeat the parasite cleanse once a month for up to 6 months (sometimes a year, depending), but she’s an RN and the other nurses and doctors around her pressured her into thinking that once was enough. The thing is though, the intestinal parasites that are most common in humans tend to reproduce on a monthly cycle. They don’t reproduce inside the body, but rather, the eggs end up in the environment (the air, the floor, the sheets, the laundry, etc.). Re-infection is PERPETUAL. This freaks people out because, as Americans, we’ve been taught that we need to be WORM-FREE. But you don’t want to be worm-free! If you get rid of ALL the parasites, your intestinal flora will be lacking in diversity and you could end up with horrible allergies instead! Some people who are completely without parasites in their intestines will travel all the way to Cameroon to eat hookworm eggs because hookworms in moderation are actually part of a healthy gut. When talking about parasites “infection” means that you have too many. To get rid of the infection, you aim for “balance” not obliteration! 🙂

      It makes sense that your daughter may not experience the same symptoms your experiencing because kids often don’t experience their physical bodies/symptoms in the same way as adults.

      I’d be very interested in hearing about your daughter’s progress with anti-parasitics! If she doesn’t respond to the parasite-cleanse with greater focus and reduced impulsivity, there are a variety of other things that could be causing her issues. Often, what causes these problems is elegantly simple and once you discover it, it can have a profound effect on OVERALL health! So don’t give up! And thank you so much for your post! 🙂

  4. Emilie B Winters says:

    Any updates on using anti-parasitics to treat ADHD? Have you seen this used effectively in other families as well? I’m trying to find more research on parasites and ADHD and I’m coming up with very little but I think I noticed an improvement in our son when we gave him parental pamoate a month ago. Then everything declined again after about 3 weeks, so I gave him another dose, and I think I notice an improvement again. So hard to tell since we’re trying so many different things. Thanks for any further information you may have!

    • Jennifer Smith says:

      Hi Emilie!

      We’re actually working with a 14 year old ADHD kid right now giving him anti-parasitics once a month and so far, the results have been really good! He’s off his medications (Ritalin and Prozac) and he’s stopped wetting the bed too.

      When you’re doing a parasite cleanse on your child, be sure that everyone in household takes the medication and does the cleanse at the same time.

      If you feel like parasites are causing your child’s ADHD, then do a parasite cleanse once a month for at least 6 months. To hasten the process of lessening your child’s worm load, buy a household steamer and after you start the cleanse each month, steam the floors and wash all linens and underwear. Use an actual dryer to dry the clothes (the heat kills the eggs). Steaming the floors will kill parasite eggs on the floor, the mattresses and the pillows. You can’t eliminate ALL parasite eggs from the environment and it isn’t necessary to eliminate them all. You’re not trying to get rid of ALL your child’s parasites either…you’re just trying to decrease the “worm load”. A small number of parasites are actually helpful to your child’s immunity and can help them combat things like allergies. When you steam your home environment and wash all the linens at the start of a parasite cleanse each month, you’ll diminish the number of parasite eggs your child takes into their body, which should help get the infection/over-population of parasite under control faster. Even when you steam things and wash the sheets, linens, and underwear, it can take up to a year to get the over-population under control especially since your child may still be exposed to parasite eggs in other environments like school or daycare!

      Of course, diet can play a huge role in ADHD too, but it sounds like you’re trying a lot of different things and you’ve probably read about the role of diet in ADHD. I appreciate your input about your own experiences with your child. A 3-week cycle is the right amount of time for a new batch of parasite eggs to hatch and start causing problems again so, that’s interesting and dare I say HOPEFUL! Please keep me (and everyone else who reads the blog) posted on your progress and experiences! 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Emilie B Winters says:

    Thank you for your reply! I will try to keep everyone updated! Are you using herbal remedies for parasites or prescription anti-parasitics? Thanks again, really appreciate the info.

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