In the article, Managing ADHD with Diet, Jane Collingwood outlines the research conducted to determine if specific diet deficiencies or unhealthy diets contribute to the symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She highlights the belief that one’s diet can have adverse effects on their behavior, however currently there is little support for this claim. Jane acknowledges different vitamins and minerals can be beneficial to take and can improve body and brain functioning especially if there is a deficiency present. There have been studies that have concluded that there are small effects of certain minerals on hyperactivity, but with the effects being so small and it not consistent across all studies, there is not enough information to support the idea that by changing your diet or increasing your vitamin or supplement intake that you can reduce ADHD symptoms or that by having these deficiencies or consuming foods known to increase hyperactivity causes ADHD. Since the evidence seems to be inconclusive, Collingwood urges those properly diagnosed with ADHD to discuss all treatment options with a medical professional. If someone is willing to explore a non-traditional route to overcoming specific ADHD symptoms, it is imperative that they do so with proper nutritional supervision to ensure that they have the highest ability to achieve the best results.
As I assess the information Jane Collingwood presented in this article, I believe there is some validity to one’s diet affecting ADHD symptoms, however, I do not believe there is a causal relationship between the two. Being that I have been formally diagnosed with ADHD and have dealt with it using specific coping strategies and medication, I am basing this belief on my own experiences. Currently, I am medicated for ADHD, but this has not always been the case. My prescription requires me to take Adderall XR daily. For the most part, taking this medication ensures that I can focus, see minute details, sit for long periods and increases my short-term memory. However, if my iron is low (which happens periodically) the effects of my medicine are non-existent; my ability to focus and multitask is worse than when I don’t take any medicine, however, I also get lethargic so my ability to sit for long periods increases. When your body doesn’t have the necessary vitamins and minerals to function adequately, it shuts down and prevalent issues can be exacerbated. One doesn’t necessarily cause the other but it can complicate things.
For example, if you gave an individual without ADHD a bunch of sugar you will witness a peak in their hyperactivity levels followed by an energy crash. If you gave an individual with ADHD you would see a similar result however, their baseline levels of hyperactivity would probably be higher, which would make their “crash” less noticeable. One’s diet affects their body’s ability to function at its peak, when you are working with individuals who have a mental illness, it will always be beneficial for them to do all they can to ensure they are mentally operating at optimal levels, so treatments, whether they are traditional, non-traditional, medication or therapy, can have an optimal effect. When we are not operating optimally, then the symptoms that present themselves cannot be adequately assessed.