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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 walnut, 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).
Some of the symptoms of ADHD might be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency caused by the parasite infection. Treating the B12 deficiency can help hasten a child’s recovery from a parasite infection.
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 pumpkin 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 vitamin B12 and a multivitamin and continue providing the herbal treatment.
An alternative to herbal treatment is pyrantel pamoate, a pharmaceutical anti-parasitic that parents can administer to children once a month for 3 days (1 dose per day). There’s a weight chart for dosing on the back of the bottle. Pyrantel pamoate works well and it has a great flavor for kids. I’ve had great success using this medication for my family.