Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterized primarily by "the co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity, with each behavior occurring infrequently alone".

In the October 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed research publication, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), comes a case study of a child with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), who was helped with chiropractic.

The case was of a 5 year old boy who had been diagnosed with ADHD at age 2. The child's pediatrician prescribed methylphenidate (Ritalin), Adderall, and Haldol for the next 3 years. The combination of drugs was unsuccessful in helping the child. At age 5 the child was brought to a chiropractor to see if chiropractic care would help. The history taken at that time noted that during the child's birth, there were complications during his delivery process. The results of this trauma and complications resulted in a 4-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. The child's mother reported no other incidence of trauma.

The chiropractic examination and x-rays showed noticeable spinal distortion including a reversal of the normal neck curve indicative of subluxations. Chiropractic care was begun and the child's progress was monitored.

According to his mother, positive changes in her son's general behavior were noticed around the twelfth visit. By the 27th visit the patient had experienced considerable improvement.

The child was brought by the mother to the medical doctor for a follow up visit and questioned the usage of the Ritalin. The medical doctor reviewed and examined the child and based on that assessment and his clinical experience, the MD felt that the young boy was no longer exhibiting symptoms associated with ADHD. He then took the boy off the medications that he had been taking for 3 years.

The conclusion of the author of the JMPT case study noted, "The patient experienced significant reduction in symptoms. Additionally, the medical doctor concluded that the reduction in symptoms was significant enough to discontinue the medication."

The above is a headline from a HealthDay article appearing on WebMD on April 1, 2013. What is interesting is the sub-headline for this story which reads, "But many children who get diagnosis may not really have the condition, experts say."

According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 11 percent of all children attending school, and a whopping 19 percent of high school males, are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A total of 6.4 million school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD which is a 16 percent rise since 2007 and a 53 percent increase since 2003 as reported by the New York Times.

Approximately two-thirds of the children are prescribed Adderall, Ritalin, or other psychotropic drugs which carry side effects such as  anxiety, psychosis, and addiction.  According to a New York Times article dated April 6, 2013, doctors are increasingly concerned about the overuse of the ADHD diagnosis and the overuse of the drug treatments for ADHD in US school children.

"Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy," said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven, Conn., and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

The over-diagnosis of ADHD is expected to get worse with the newest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s manual, the DSM5. According to the online Australian, article by Sue Dunlevy on March 31, 2013, Australian psychiatrists are calling for a boycott of DSM5 because of their concerns. Australian psychiatrist Professor Jon Jureidini believes the adoption of the DSM5 will bring about the over-diagnosis of mental conditions such as ADHD that will subsequently lead to over-medication.

US psychiatrist Professor Allen Frances supports the Australian psychiatrists’ fears stating that "…it will provoke a rash of new fad diagnoses that will see young children heavily medicated."

According to an April 9, 2013 article on the Huffington Post blog "The Psycho-Therapeutic School System: Pathologizing Childhood" by John W. Whitehead, children with symptoms such as distraction, fidgeting, daydreaming, nonstop talking, and trouble sitting still, are usual and normal behaviors for children. Because there is no clinical test for ADHD, normal childish behaviors in perfectly normal children are being diagnosed as ADHD.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Friedan characterized the nation's current fixation on ADHD as an over diagnosis and a "misuse [of ADHD medications that] appears to be growing at an alarming rate."

Much controversy surrounds using medications to control hyperactive children. Drugs designed to control these children are dangerous, unpredictable and are not getting to the cause of the child's problem. One question that should be asked is this. Why are so many more children today being diagnoses with ADHD over just a decade or two ago? Are their really that many more problem children today over a few years ago?

Many contemporary researchers and authors are suggesting that the rise in diagnosis of ADHD is due to several factors. These factors include dietary factors, long term adverse results of medications and immunizations, and neurological factors from interference to the nervous system. All of these suggestions negate the use of chemicals to correct the fundamental malfunction. In other words, many experts are suggesting other means of dealing with the problem rather than drugging the child.

Diet is an important component in children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Sugar seems to be identified by many as a main contributing factor. Many breakfast cereals contain high concentrations of sugar, as well as other preservatives.

Chiropractors have long maintained that neurology plays a strong part in hyperactive children. The medical approach often consists of drugs to affect the function of the nervous system. The chiropractic approach is removal of interference from the nervous system to allow proper function. Chiropractors recognize this interference comes from factors such as diet and subluxations. It is the subluxation aspect of interference to the nervous system that chiropractic is most concerned with in a hyperactive child. Chiropractors work to remove subluxations, thereby eliminating interference to the nervous system and allowing the hyperactive child to neurologically function normally. With this approach, as well as attention to diet and other toxins, chiropractic has offered many families and alternative to potent and dangerous drugs for the hyperactive child.