Lowering the Bar: Adult ADHD, a Risky Diagnosis?

Do Adults Need ADHD Medication? What Are ADHD Medications Side Effects?

The above headline comes from a September 10, 2016, article on MedPage Today that calls into question the growing numbers of adults taking ADHD medications. The article begins by noting that opioid abuse has recently been the focus of much public attention, but less talked about is the growing problem of abuse and the growing numbers of people using ADHD drugs.

lowering-the-bar-adult-adhd-a-risky-diagnosis-austin-tx-chiropractor-health-wellness-chiropractor-car-truck-accidentThe article notes that since 2013, the FDA has received 19,000 reports of complications from ADHD drugs. The vast majority of these come from stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Adults seem to be far more likely to suffer adverse events involving hospitalization or death than are children.

According to the latest federal estimates, Adderall has led the way for increased usage going from 345,000 people in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2014. The number of emergency room visits due to Adderall and Ritalin have increased fivefold over the past 7 years. Between the years 2010 and 2015, sales of ADHD drugs increased from $7.9 billion to $11.2 billion.

One concern is that ADHD drug testing on adults lasts only several weeks or months and falls far short of the years that many other drugs are tested. This means that the long-term effects of these drugs are not known.

The article gives two basic reasons for the jump in usage. First is the aggressive marketing by the drug companies that produce these drugs. Second, they note that the diagnostic criteria for prescribing these drugs has been greatly relaxed allowing more people to fall within the diagnosis that is treated with these drugs. In other words, “The bar has been lowered.”

A panel from the American Psychiatric Association made the recommendations to lower the criteria in 2013. The article noted that 78% of the experts making the recommendations had financial ties to drug companies who benefited from the panel’s recommendations.

The article notes that some of the symptoms needed to reach an adult ADHD diagnosis include such vague items as an inability to focus on tasks, fidgeting, or interrupting others. Additionally the article reported that, “One study published in 2010 found that 22% of adults tested for ADHD had exaggerated their symptoms.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.

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Special Needs Children Helped with Chiropractic – A Case Series

Do Kids Go To The Chiropractor? Can Chiropractic Help Childhood Development?

On June 16, 2016, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case series documenting the positive effects of chiropractic care for eight special needs children. The study authors report that the number of special needs children is continuing to rise at an alarming rate. “More children each year are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental challenges ranging from Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.”

Special Needs Children Helped with Chiropractic - pediatric chiropractor austin tx help autism adhd addThe study reports that the rate of autism has risen from 1 in 5000 in 1975, to 1 in 88 as of 2008. The rate of ADHD has risen 16 percent since 2007 to the present where current estimates show that around 10 percent of children ages 4 to 17 are being diagnosed with the condition. The number of children enrolled in Special Ed programs has risen 30 percent in the last 10 years and currently is at 13 percent of all school age kids being in these programs.

In this study, eight children with a variety of special needs were studied to see the results of chiropractic care. Four of the children were seen at a chiropractic university clinic, and four were seen in one of the author’s private practices.

Each of the children received chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations that were determined to be present. Each of the eight children showed improvement for their respective neurological issues.

These issues included a 11-year-old girl who had difficulties with reading comprehension, handwriting, and mathematics. After chiropractic care, it was reported that she has now been selected to be tested for the honors program. Two sisters, ages two and four, were suffering from anxiety and speech delays. After chiropractic care, the study documents that the two-year-old girl had improved to the point where she can now be in daycare, and the four-year-old no longer needed speech therapy and was accepted into a prestigious preschool program.

In their summary the authors noted, “Seven out of eight showed improvement that drastically reduced or discontinued one or more other services that they had been a weekly part of their care.” One child with Cerebral Palsy showed good improvement but limitations prevented the marked improvements seen by the other children in this study.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.

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Antipsychotics Too Often Prescribed For Aggression In Children

Are There Alternatives for ADHD Besides Medications? Does Chiropractic Help ADHD? Are Antipsychotic Drugs Overprescribed?

The headline above comes from a July 1, 2015, news story on the National Public Radio website. The story is based on a study published in JAMA Psychiatry also on July 1st. The NPR article begins with the warning, “Powerful antipsychotic medications are being used to treat children and teenagers with ADHD, aggression and behavior problems, a study finds, even though safer treatments are available and should be used first.”

Antipsychotics Too Often Prescribed For Aggression In Children - Austin TX Pediatric ChiropractorThe rate of usage of these types of drugs has significantly increased over the years and there is a concern that many children are being needlessly medicated and subjected to serious side effects. Many antipsychotic drugs, which were created for use with serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, are being used for things not approved for such as ADHD and aggressive behavior.

Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who led the JAMA study, commented in the NPR article, “There’s been concern that these medications have been overused, particularly in young children. Guidelines and clinical wisdom suggest that you really should be using a high degree of caution and only using them when other treatments have failed, as a last resort.”

One of the issues pointed out by Olfson in the study was that many of the prescriptions for these powerful drugs were given by general practitioners with little testing, and without considering other alternatives first. “The results suggest that greater access is needed for child and adolescent psychiatric services as well as psychosocial services for young people who present with disruptive behaviors that appear to be common clinical targets,” he said. “A number of effective psychosocial treatments exist for impulsive aggression including interventions that emphasize anger control management and problem solving skills, but few children and their families are receiving them.”

Christof Correll, a professor of psychiatry at Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine, who wrote an editorial to accompany the JAMA article stated, “Behavior modification and family treatment is something that should always come first, but less than one quarter of children and teens are getting that.” He continued, “Physicians use these medications too fast.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.

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Cross-Eyes Helped with Chiropractic

What Is Strabismus? How Can Chiropractic Help Crossed Eyes?

A study published on March 12, 2015 in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documents a case of a Down’s Syndrome boy with crossed eyes being helped with chiropractic.

The authors of the study begin by explaining, “Chiropractic is often mistakenly regarded as having a very limited scope of practice in general, i.e. neck pain, back pain and headaches. Yet, chiropractors and their patients experience a multitude of positive results beyond these musculoskeletal complaints, especially in children.”

Cross-Eyes Helped with Chiropractic - Austin TX ChiropractorThe authors report that chiropractic care is the most common type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for children. Studies show that usage of chiropractic nearly doubled in a few short years, rising from 11% in the early nineties to 20% by the late nineties. They note that children represent between 8% and 11% of chiropractic care received.

The authors further explain, “Some of the common pediatric conditions addressed by chiropractors include scoliosis, infantile colic, nocturnal enuresis, constipation, otitis media, seizures, autism, ADHD, asthma, cerebral palsy and strabismus. However, one study revealed that wellness care was the highest ranking reasoning for pediatric chiropractic care.”

In this case, a 4-year-old Down’s Syndrome boy was brought into the chiropractor’s office along with his family for correction of any subluxations. The boy’s right eye was crossed inward. The mother  reported that both the boy’s eyes were originally crossed and that surgery had been performed on the left eye in an attempt to return it to a more normal position.

After a chiropractic analysis, adjustments were initiated to correct the boy’s subluxations. After 12 visits, the boy’s parents reported to the chiropractor that their son’s right eye had completely returned to center. Additionally, his left eye, which had been surgically corrected, started to also correct and was therefore slightly  divergent from center. This indicated that the surgery may not have been needed, as the eye may have attempted to correct itself with chiropractic.

In their conclusion the authors wrote. “The results of the reduction of vertebral subluxation in this case suggest that chiropractic care may be beneficial in the correction of strabismus. Had the patient not undergone the operation to repair the left eye, we propose that both eyes would have been centered in the neutral position.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.

ADHD and Migraines Helped with Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Care Help Improve Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on December 5, 2014, discussing chiropractic care helping a patient with both ADHD and migraines. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was first described by Sir George Still in 1902.

According to the CDC, the rate of ADHD has increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006, and increased to 5% from the years 2007 to 2011. The rate of ADHD diagnosis varies greatly per state with it estimated that currently 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed nationally. As of 2011, 6.1% of all children between the ages of 4 and 17 were taking ADHD medications. This is up from 4.8% on these meds in 2008.

ADHD and Migraines Helped with ChiropracticIn this case study, a 21-year-old man went to the chiropractor suffering from symptoms of ADHD, migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, neck pain, and back stiffness.  He was taking a number of medications for his problems including  paracetamol, codeine, ibuprofen, and valium.  The history noted that the man had been suffering from migraine headaches since age 4 that were accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision.


A standardized test known as the ADHD Symptom Regularity and Severity Questionnaire was given to the man before the onset of care, and later during care, to monitor the changes to his ADHD condition from the chiropractic care. In addition, the man was also given a standardized headache questionnaire to measure the changes he may experience with his headaches.

After a chiropractic examination, care was initiated to correct subluxations. Each of the questionnaires was then repeated and documented improvements in both his ADHD scores and his migraine headache rating.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case study illustrates the positive outcomes of a twenty one year old male with signs and symptoms of ADHD and migraine headaches….” The authors continued by explaining, “Subjective decreases in the regularity and severity of symptoms of ADHD and migraine headaches were reached. Objective results in functional improvement were seen with tonal indicators of subluxation, heart rate variability, posture and ranges of motion.”

To see if chiropractic can help your ADHD or to be checked for the presence of nervous system interference, call (512) 452-2525 to schedule today with Dr. Swanson.

ADHD, Learning Disability, and Social Behavior Disturbance Helped with Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Help ADHD? Is Medicating Children For ADHD The Best Approach?

Research published in the September 15, 2014, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented a case study of chiropractic helping a patient with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and social behavior disturbances. The authors begin by noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 12% of children are affected by ADHD.

ADHD, Learning Disability, and Social Behavior Disturbance Helped with Chiropractic | Austin TX Kid and Adolescent ChiropractorSince there is no physical test for diagnosing ADHD, the authors note that according to the National Institutes of Health, “No single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD. Instead, a licensed health professional needs to gather information about the child, and his or her behavior and environment.”

The general medical care for this difficult to diagnose condition is drug intervention. This type of approach is both controversial and uncertain due to the negative long term effects.

In this case, an eight-year-old boy was brought by his mother to the chiropractor. The boy had been diagnosed seven months earlier using psycho-educational testing with ADHD (inattentive type) and learning disability regarding working memory and processing speed. His mother brought him to the chiropractor looking for an alternative method of care for her son.

The boy’s condition was causing him problems in school as his frustrations would lead to outbursts in class. His mother did not believe the medications her son was given represented a long term solution. She also  reported that his medications appeared to be ineffective, causing nausea, heart palpitations, and low appetite.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural analysis, spinal palpation, thermographic (heat) study, and spinal x-rays. From the findings, it was determined that subluxations were present and a specific course of chiropractic care was started.

The study records that, according to the boy’s mother, her son started to show improvement after the second chiropractic visit. Several months into care, the boy’s parents reported that he was improving considerably with his mood swings, social interaction, temper, energy, memory, and immune function.

The boy’s mother commented that her son showed “…a complete turnaround in mood. [He] has made lots of friends and is not having any social difficulty. He is smiling and laughing and appears normal now. We have yet to see how well his grades are affected, but he is staying in class and keeping up with work and expectations!”

To see if chiropractic care can help with your child’s ADHD, learning disability, or social behavior or if you or someone you know suffers with these, call (512) 452-2525 to schedule today.

Improvement in ADHD Following Chiropractic: A Case Study

How Can Chiropractic Help ADHD? Is Medicating Children For ADHD The Best Approach?

From the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research comes a case study published on July 10, 2014, documenting the subjective and objective improvement of a young boy with ADHD after receiving chiropractic care. The author begins his study by explaining that “Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a condition known to cause bouts of inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, poor academic performance and disruptive social behavior.” He notes that ADHD has been shown to affect 5% of children and 4% of adults.

The common medical practice in cases of ADHD is the use of medication. The author warns of the dangers of this approach. “Although medication has been shown to help in the management of symptoms in children with ADHD, research shows that academic performance is not improved in the medium and long term and may have harmful effects given the typical way the medications are used in the community and the adverse side effects caused by the medications.”

Improvement in ADHD Following Chiropractic | Chiropractor for Kids in AustinIn this case, an 11-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor having been diagnosed with ADHD two years earlier by his psychologist. He was originally given Concerta but was later taken off that drug by his guardians due to the boy experiencing the side effects of appetite loss and reportedly turning him into a “social zombie.” He was also suffering from neck pain for the past three years.

One of the examination procedures performed was a “TOVA” examination. This procedure objectively tests and rates some of the issues with ADHD such as an individual’s sustained attention, speed and consistency of responding, and behavioral self-regulation. With this test, it was possible to rate changes to the boy’s ADHD before and after his chiropractic care.

A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed which determined that vertebral subluxation was present at the top of the boy’s neck. Based on this finding, specific chiropractic adjustments were started to correct the subluxations. The boy was also given exercises and his diet was more closely watched and regulated.

After the first adjustment, the boy’s neck pain was gone and did not return. After three months of care, the boy was re-evaluated using the same processes performed at the beginning of his care which included the TOVA examination. The test showed improvement in the boy’s spinal structure, and improvement in his neurological imbalances back to normal levels. The TOVA test showed the most objective improvement. A normal TOVA score is “0” or above. The boy’s original score was (minus) -3.94, and had dramatically improved after three months of chiropractic to a (minus) -0.46.

In his discussion of this case the author notes, “Although the purpose of chiropractic care was not to diagnose or treat the patient’s ADHD, his condition improved both subjectively and objectively and that likely translated into academic improvement.” He continued in his conclusion, “Although it is impossible to make sweeping conclusions about the link between the Atlas Subluxation Complex being a causative factor of ADHD, we can conclude that this patient has achieved quality of life improvement that has been subjectively reported and objectively measured by the TOVA software, neurological exams and behavioral evaluation.”

To see if chiropractic care can help with your child’s ADHD, or if you or someone you know suffers with ADHD, call (512) 452-2525 to schedule today.

Acetaminophen Use In Pregnancy Linked to ADHD: Chiropractic is a Better Alternative

Can Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Help Prevent ADHD in Kids?

A NewsUSA article titled “Can Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Help Prevent ADHD in Kids?” appeared in the April 24, 2014, issue of the Seaside Courier from California. The article began with a warning, “Pregnant women might want to think twice before reaching for that pain pill.”  The article was in response to a recent study showing that acetaminophen, the generic name for Tylenol, may be linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. They also note that acetaminophen is the most common drug taken by pregnant women.

Can Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Help Prevent ADHD in Kids? | Austin Pregnancy ChiropractorThe original study published in the February 2014 issue of JAMA Pediatrics showed that ADHD was more likely to develop in children whose mothers took acetaminophen during their pregnancy. A USA Today article that ran shortly after the release of the original study listed some of the results showing that children whose mothers used the drug during pregnancy were:

  • 3% more likely to show ADHD-like behaviors, such as hyperactivity and conduct problems.
  • 37% more likely to be diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, which is the equivalent of “high end” ADHD.
  • 29% more likely to get ADHD medications.

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a response to this study noting that, “One drug-free alternative that continues to gain popularity is chiropractic care. The American Pregnancy Association notes it can help ‘maintain a healthier pregnancy’ overall while also potentially “controlling symptoms of nausea, reducing the time of labor and delivery, relieving back, neck or joint pain, and preventing potential cesarean delivery.”

In the F4CP release, Gerard Clum, DC, former president of Life Chiropractic College West and spokesperson for the F4CP noted, “Doctors of Chiropractic complete a typical undergraduate education along with a four-year postgraduate curriculum to earn their D.C. degree, and are trained to work with pregnant women. Establishing pelvic balance and spinal alignment are focal points of chiropractic care, helping reduce pain symptoms of postural changes and increased lower back curvature.”

To see if chiropractic care can help with your pregnancy or any pregnancy related pains, call (512) 452-2525 to schedule today.

Improvement in Symptoms of ADHD and Functional Outcomes with Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Care Help Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

A study published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on April 27, 2014, documented chiropractic care helping four children with ADHD. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medline Plus website, “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a problem of not being able to focus, being overactive, not being able control behavior, or a combination of these. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for a person’s age and development.”

Improvement in Symptoms of ADHD and Functional Outcomes with ChiropracticThe rate of ADHD in the population continues to rise at an alarming rate with the NIH noting that the diagnosis of ADHD has increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006. The increase has continued with the NIH reporting, “The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.”

The study authors state that medical treatment for children with ADHD commonly consists of stimulant medication in addition to psychotherapy.  The medications, however, carry some serious side effects according to the study. “Common adverse effects of stimulants include nausea, upset stomach, decreased appetite, insomnia, and headache. More rare adverse effects include motor tics, irritability, mood lability, hallucinations, growth defects1 (decreased height), epilepsy, seizures, psychotic symptoms, sudden death, liver failure, suicide-related events.”

In this case series, four children between the ages 8 to 12 years of age were brought to a chiropractic clinic for help with their symptoms of ADHD. All four children had been previously diagnosed with ADHD by a medical doctor and were suffering from either inattention or impulsivity, or both. Three of the children were on prescription medication for ADHD, and the fourth was previously on medication.

The children received chiropractic examinations which included digital postural assessment, surface paraspinal electromyography, infrared paraspinal thermography, heart rate variability and spinal range of motion analysis.  A standardized ADHD symptom questionnaire, completed by the child’s primary caregiver, was used to measure the symptoms of their ADHD. Each child received specific chiropractic care based upon their individual examinations and analysis.

The study showed that each of the children improved under chiropractic care. The authors then combined the data into the following results:

  • Impulsivity/Hyperactivity decreased in regularity by 23.8%
  • Impulsivity/Hyperactivity decreased in severity by 24.1%
  • Inattention decreased in severity by 15.8%
  • Combined regularity and severity of symptoms decreased by 21.0%
  • Total Dysfunction rating decreased by 17.3%

In their discussion, the study authors commented, “The results of this case series seem to indicate that Chiropractic care improves patient outcomes and prognosis in the management of ADHD in both medicated and unmedicated children.”

To see if chiropractic can help your ADHD or to be checked for the presence of nervous system interference, call (512) 452-2525 to schedule today with Dr. Swanson.