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Autonomic Dysfunction Series: ADD

Autonomic Dysfunction, it’s Influence on ADD – And Why Justin Timberlake is no Longer N’Sync

For the last 10 years, Michael Rothman MD has been treating patients for conditions related to autonomic dysfunction. Dysautonomia is a term used to describe a condition where your autonomic nervous system is dysfunctioning. Dysautonomia literally means dysfunctional autonomic nervous system. Every human being on Earth, at some point in time, will suffer from varying degrees of dysautonomia, yet this disorder is virtually unknown and unrecognized. We have an unseen or hidden epidemic of autonomic dysfunction and one way to combat this common, health-sapping condition is to bring awareness to this ubiquitous problem. For this reason, Michael Rothman MD will be releasing a series of blogs related to various manifestations of dysautonomia in hopes that patients suffering from these disorders will be armed with more information and follow a healthy path to get to the root cause of their chronic symptoms.

Your Autonomic Nervous System and ADD

Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for maintaining your body’s overall metabolic balance. Think of the ANS like the command center in your body, which attempts to keep you within your optimal range of physiologic functioning by a series of actions. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is made up of two parts, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Your SNS also referred to as your “fight or flight” response, stimulates in times of stress and during an emergency. Conversely, your PNS is responsible for initiating your rest, repair, and maintenance response. These two corresponding divisions of your autonomic nervous system are neither active, nor disabled at the same time. In fact, they are always at opposite stimuli.

I constantly see and hear information being espoused in the mainstream media that peaks my interest. Often this information is actually misinformation, designed to promote specific behavior and responses in the reader. Recently, as I was sitting down to eat my typical wholesome breakfast of poached organic eggs, organic whole grain toast with organic free range butter, I came across the headline “Justin Timberlake Has Attention Deficit Disorder”. In this article, it urged anyone who shares in suffering with Justin from this “disease” to go seek treatment for this debilitating disorder. I apologize for my skepticism; however, in my not so humble opinion, attention deficit disorder is not a disease, rather, it is a dysfunctional state. To further illustrate this notion, you must understand that there is no test that can be done to prove you have this disorder. ADD will not show up on a CAT scan, or an MRI, or a blood test or any diagnostic test available. In reality, attention deficit disorder is merely a name for a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with ADD, suspect you have ADD or are currently being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder, you may have exhibited symptoms such as inattention and/or hyperactivity, inability to focus, or maybe even anxiety. You may have all or some of these symptoms of ADD, but this does not mean you have this “disease”. Your symptoms are being caused by a dysfunction in your body, very likely related to a dysfunction in your autonomic nervous system (ANS) known as dysautonomia.

The Magic Pill?

As I scrolled through this article written about ADD, I soon found the obligatory advertisement for the drug to treat this alleged disease. Will taking the recommended drug treat the symptoms of ADD? Possibly. Will ingesting this powerful, stimulant drug actually fix your underlying problem? Absolutely not. Moreover, here in lies the major problem with the majority of symptoms focused solutions to dysfunctional problems. Symptom focused treatments, whether they are pharmaceutical, herbal, or “all natural” rarely get to the root cause of your problems and therefore oftentimes create new metabolic imbalances in your body chemistry.

In fact, the stimulant medication used to “treat” ADD work by increasing your sympathetic tone, sort of like hitting “the gas pedal” in your physiology. This stimulatory effect may increase your blood sugar, raise your heart rate and your blood pressure, and contribute to anxiety, dry mouth, sweating, constipation, insomnia, and myriad of additional dysfunctional symptoms.

Let us address the Real Issue…

You see, Mr. Timberlake’s ADD symptoms are most likely the consequence of dietary indiscretions (eating the mainstream promoted low fat, high carbohydrate diet) resulting in fluctuating blood sugars. You must understand that if your blood sugar is too high or too low, this imbalanced state can easily manifest as all sorts of symptoms. If you have high blood sugar, your parasympathetic nervous system will become activated and lead to sleepiness, inattention, and lethargy (as well as many other symptoms). Conversely, if your blood sugars are too low, your sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” response) is activated resulting in the release of adrenaline into your blood stream. Adrenaline release can cause anxiety and hyperactivity.

I imagine that Justin’s life on a tour bus (or private jet) isn’t favorable to eating healthy foods that tend to keep his blood sugar stable.  In addition, if Mr. Timberlake decides to treat his ADD with the prescription drug (conveniently linked to the online article that I read), he may feel better temporarily. The drug treatment may actually help stabilize Justin’s blood sugars, and therefore ease some of his symptoms. However, if he ignores the dietary indiscretions that caused his attention deficit disorder in the first place, he will eventually develop a whole host of other diseases resulting from his poor diet.

The very fact that Mr. Timberlake experiences symptoms of attention deficit disorder, and therefore is most likely suffering from blood sugar dysregulation, means that he is a great risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and a long list of other nutritionally derived diseases. Unfortunately, instead of trying to fix what is wrong, drug solutions merely cover-up symptoms and allow whatever process is occurring to go unchecked and unremedied.

While I speak to Mr. Timberlake directly, I urge anyone who may have been diagnosed with ADD, but is looking for a holistic, non-medicated treatment plan to call for a consultation in my Spring Lake, NJ office. Justin, please don’t continue to injure yourself further with these stimulant drugs. Instead, I will guide you on how to eat properly and minimize your environmental stressors. Addressing the root cause of your attention deficit disorder will, in turn, have a wonderful effect on you in both immediately, and in the future.

Are you suffering from ADD symptoms? Come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman by calling, 732-268-7663 and discover a natural approach to combating ADD symptoms and improve your overall health.

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