ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly begins in childhood and persists into adulthood. It is characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can significantly impact an individual's daily functioning and quality of life.

There is ongoing research exploring various factors that may contribute to the development or exacerbation of ADHD symptoms. However, it is important to note that the causes of ADHD are complex and multifactorial, and there is no definitive evidence linking ADHD directly to parasites, mold, or environmental toxins.

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Dr. Melanie Garrett, ND . Naturopathic Doctor, Fort McMurray Alberta.


Diagnosing ADHD

Diagnosing ADHD involves a comprehensive assessment process that typically involves gathering information from multiple sources. Here's an overview of how ADHD is diagnosed:

  1. Clinical Assessment: A healthcare professional, often a psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician, or a specialist in ADHD, conducts a thorough evaluation. This involves discussing the individual's symptoms, behaviors, medical history, and any relevant family history.

  2. Diagnostic Criteria: The healthcare professional refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. ADHD diagnosis is based on specific criteria outlined in this manual, including symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

  3. Observations and Rating Scales: Observations from parents, teachers, or other caregivers play a crucial role. They may be asked to fill out questionnaires or rating scales to provide information about the individual's behavior in various settings.

  4. Medical Examination: A physical exam may be conducted to rule out any other medical conditions that could be causing symptoms similar to ADHD.

  5. Rule-Out Process: It's important to rule out other possible causes or conditions that might mimic ADHD symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, or behavioral disorders.

  6. Duration and Severity: The symptoms must have been present for at least six months and be severe enough to interfere with daily functioning in multiple settings, like school, work, or social situations.

  7. Developmental History: Understanding the individual's developmental history is essential. Assessing childhood behaviors, academic performance, and social interactions provides valuable context.

  8. Collaborative Approach: Diagnosis often involves input from multiple sources, such as parents, teachers, and mental health professionals, to gather a comprehensive view of the individual's behavior and functioning.

Remember, ADHD diagnosis is not a quick process. It requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure an accurate evaluation. If you suspect ADHD in yourself or someone else, seeking guidance from a qualified healthcare professional is crucial for proper assessment and support.

How ADHD effects the brain

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Dr. Melanie Garrett, ND . Naturopathic Doctor, Fort McMurray Alberta.

Signs and symptoms of POTS

Here are the signs and symptoms associated with ADHD:


  1. Difficulty Sustaining Attention: Easily distracted, has trouble staying focused on tasks or activities.
  2. Poor Organization: Often loses things, has messy workspaces, and struggles with time management.
  3. Forgetfulness: Forgetful in daily activities, easily overlooks details, or misses deadlines.
  4. Difficulty Following Instructions: Trouble following through on instructions, making careless mistakes, or completing tasks.
  5. Easily Distracted: Frequently shifts attention from one unfinished activity to another.


  1. Excessive Movement: Constantly fidgeting, tapping, or squirming when seated.
  2. Inability to Stay Still: Often runs or climbs in inappropriate situations, can't stay seated when required.
  3. Restlessness: Appears to be always on the go or driven by a motor, finds it hard to relax.


  1. Impatient: Difficulty waiting for their turn, interrupting conversations or activities.
  2. Blurting Out: Often speaks without thinking, interrupts others frequently.
  3. Risk-Taking Behavior: Engages in risky or impulsive behaviors without considering consequences.

Other Common Indications:

  1. Difficulty with Tasks Requiring Mental Effort: Struggles with activities that require sustained mental effort, especially if they are not interesting or stimulating.
  2. Mood Swings: Experiences mood swings or emotional sensitivity, can be easily frustrated or overwhelmed.
  3. Struggles in Relationships: Difficulty maintaining relationships due to impulsive behaviors or inattention.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms is the first step in understanding ADHD. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis. Early identification and appropriate support can significantly improve the individual's quality of life.

ADHD and the gut connection

Research has increasingly highlighted a potential link between ADHD and gut health, suggesting that the microbiome—the diverse community of bacteria residing in the gastrointestinal tract—might influence neurological and behavioral functions. While the exact nature of this connection is still being explored, several studies have shed light on this intriguing relationship:

Gut Microbiota Composition:

  1. Microbial Diversity: Some studies suggest that individuals with ADHD might have alterations in their gut microbiota composition compared to those without the disorder. Differences in the diversity and abundance of certain bacterial species have been observed.

  2. Impact of Diet: Diet can significantly affect gut health and, subsequently, ADHD symptoms. Research indicates that diets rich in processed foods, artificial additives, and high sugar content may contribute to dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut bacteria), potentially exacerbating ADHD symptoms.

Inflammation and Immune Response:

  1. Role of Inflammation: Imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to increased intestinal permeability, allowing toxins and inflammatory molecules to enter the bloodstream. This process could trigger systemic inflammation, which some studies link to ADHD symptoms.

  2. Immune System Interaction: The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in modulating the immune system. Dysregulation in the immune response due to alterations in gut bacteria might contribute to neuroinflammation, impacting brain function and behavior in individuals with ADHD.

Neurotransmitter and Metabolic Pathways:

  1. Serotonin and Dopamine Production: Gut bacteria are involved in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play key roles in mood regulation and cognitive function. Disruptions in these pathways due to gut dysbiosis might influence ADHD symptoms.

  2. Metabolic Influence: Metabolites produced by gut bacteria can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect brain function. Studies suggest that these metabolites might have a role in regulating behavior and cognitive processes, potentially impacting ADHD symptomatology.

Treatment Implications:

While research into the gut-brain connection in ADHD is ongoing, there's growing interest in exploring interventions that target gut health to potentially alleviate symptoms. These include:

  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Supplements aimed at restoring a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
  • Dietary Changes: Emphasizing a diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole foods while reducing processed foods and sugars.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Exercise, stress reduction, and adequate sleep can positively impact gut health and potentially mitigate ADHD symptoms.

While the link between ADHD and the gut requires further investigation, understanding the potential influence of gut microbiota on neurological function offers promising avenues for future research and novel approaches to managing ADHD symptoms. Integrating strategies that promote gut health alongside traditional treatments may offer a holistic approach to supporting individuals with ADHD.

Book A Consultation

Naturopathic Initial Consultation

260 CAD

90 min consultation

Book Now

Adolescent Initial Consultation

210 CAD

90 min consultation

Book Now