TCM and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Last Updated Jul 15, 2020

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient healing tradition that is increasingly utilised for its ability to treat a wide range of conditions, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Many people have become disillusioned with conventional medicine and its reliance on prescription drugs and their associated side effects, and have turned to alternative therapies.

What is ADD?

ADD is a behavioural disorder that typically affects children, though it can persist into adulthood.  It is characterised by symptoms that include irritability, restlessness and an inability to concentrate and sleep – and can be difficult to diagnose in active young children. New research has identified people who suffer only one aspect of the condition, i.e. only attention deficit or only hyperactivity, though some sufferers are affected by both aspects of the disorder. The services of a professional health worker - typically a paediatrician or child psychologist, is needed to make a definitive diagnosis.  ADD and similar behavioural disorders have traditionally been treated with prescription medication, including the controversial drug Ritalin.

What is TCM?

TCM is still an integral part of that countries approach to healing, and includes a range of treatments including acupuncture, herbal medicine, meditation/breathing therapy and massage.  It is based on the concept of yin and yang, the theory of opposites which considers the vitality of the human body to be a consequence of the balance between yin and yang.  It also identifies energy meridians, or chi, running throughout the body, which connect and sustain the major organs.  Any illness or disease is seen as an impediment to the free flow of energy, and an imbalance in yin and yang. These are typically relieved or treated by one or more of the TCM therapies.

How Can TCM Help ADD?

TCM approaches health and healing from a holistic perspective.  It identifies the kidneys as the organ responsible for all development in the body, and views ADD as an indication of a deficiency in this area.  Patients will be assessed on an individual basis and a treatment plan devised which may include dietary alterations, acupuncture, acupressure and herbal remedies.

In TCM, the main causes for ADD are a congenital liver or kidney deficiency or trauma during birth or childhood.  The main TCM mechanism for ADD is the disharmony between yin and yang in the dysfunctional heart, liver, spleen or kidney.  This is the cause of lack of concentration.  If there is a heart and kidney deficiency, the person will have slow mental reactions, poor memory, lack of concentration, enuresis, many dreams, and a dark complexion.  The remedy for this is Kong Sheng Zhen Zhong Dan.  If there is a kidney deficiency with a hyperactive liver yang, the person is easily upset, loud, easily excited, and finds it difficult to sit down for long periods of time.  The remedy for this is Qi Ju Di Huang Wan and Long Gu, Mu Li.  In a heart and spleen qi deficiency, the person is in their own world, has a lack of concentration, is a dream, has quiet, subtle movement, is a light sleeper, sweats spontaneously, sweats at night, and is a picky eater.  The remedy for this is Gui Pi Tang and Gan Mai Da Zao Tang.

Find out about other effecitve natural ADD treatments.

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Originally published on Jul 02, 2010

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