A Case of ADD and Dysgraphia Linked to a Head Injury
I first met Leo, a thoughtful looking 9-year-old boy, in June of 2012. Presenting concerns included problems with focus and attention, dysgraphia and slowness in reading and writing.
A psychological assessment on Leo showed very superior intelligence. He has several siblings without any learning disabilities. To me Leo was obviously very bright but somehow spacy, as if he was not really present, almost as if he was behind a wall.
The mother confirmed my impression. So what might have happened to block Leo's wonderful little brain from functioning fully?
History revealed that the pregnancy was healthy and uneventful, but the labour was long - over 30 hours. He was blue when he was born, but pinked up quickly. When he was eight or nine months old he fell off a change table by accident and had a big bump on his head. He was rushed to the ER and assessed to be fine.
By the time he was four or five years old the parents noticed that he had trouble with multi-step directions and difficulty with staying focused. Sometimes he was 'hard to reach' and would have to be called repeatedly to come to dinner for example.
His teachers also noted that he was spacy. When he answered my questions in the office he sometimes trailed off.
He reported feeling very sleepy on waking and used to be hard to get up, as if in a fog, even though he had lots of sleep. He was slow to learn how to speak.
Assessment: A very bright boy with ADD and a learning disability. He is spacy and history revealed that he suffered a head injury as an infant. I had seen similar cases of spacyness after head injuries and knew about a homeopathic remedy for precisely for such scenarios.
The mother was also concerned about his nutrition so we ordered a hair analysis to assess mineral levels as well.
The hair analysis showed a number of mineral deficiencies, including low calcium and magnesium levels, low zinc levels and elevated potassium and sodium levels. Leo received a special trace mineral complex, tissue salts, vitamin B12 and ascorbyl palmitate.
Hellebory Niger for Head Injuries
Then I gave a homeopathic remedy called Helleborus niger, 30CH, twice a week, for the history of head injury and his overall state of being so slow and spacy.
Helleborus is a remedy made from the Christmas rose, also known as hellebore. It is a somewhat poisonous plant, which blooms in the winter and is a common perennial seen in many gardens here in Victoria.
It has a colourful history in medicine and was used as a tonic for philosophers to be consumed as a tea before engaging in intense and prolonged meditation and debate among other things.
Sluggish Mental Processes
Chronic poisoning with hellebore causes fluid retention in the brain and spinal cord, with feelings of stupefaction, sluggishness and imbecility. In homeopathy, it is used when someone has these kinds of symptoms, possibly as a result of a brain injury, including trauma, meningitis or similar.
Here is a quote from Gibson's 'Studies of Homeopathic Remedies: "Mental processes are so sluggish that the subject feels utterly stupid, unable to memorize anything, whether what has just been read or what he was intending to say."
Now there are several other remedies for problems after head injuries, so please don't run out and pick the hellebores in the neighbour's yard just yet.
More Awake and Brimming Over with Love
Follow-up October 2012: "There is such a difference, he is more awake, more with it! Even his writing has improved. The teachers have noticed the change and now he can do his homework on his own. And he is brimming over with love for me, he is much more expressive emotionally!"
"Even his soccer playing is different. He has the same coach as last year and he commented to me how much better his playing is. He is so much more engaged."
His mother had noticed a difference almost immediately after starting the treatment. It is hard to say how much of the effect was due to the remedy alone or the combination of the remedy and the nutritional support. In my opinion it was probably 75% due to the remedy.
Plan: Continue treatment as before.
Enjoying Reading Now
Follow-up, November 2012: "He is doing so much better. Now he enjoys reading, before it was just painful. He is so connected in soccer. He is thinking for himself now, gathers up his belongings, he never did that before. And he is so much happier and more loving. Before he was a bit catatonic, as if in a fog."
Plan: Helleborus 200CH, 2 pellets every two weeks for two months.
Excelling in Everything
Follow-up February 2013: "Leo is a totally different child! Now he loves to spell words. His handwriting is easy and legible now, before he had lots of trouble. He has become a superstar in sports."
"He is devouring books and is way less spacy. He is taking piano lessons and the teacher is saying that he is just absorbing the music. He loves to practice every day. He is all organized now and he dresses himself in the morning, before we had to nag him 5-6 times to get dressed. He is still much more connected to me and much more affectionate with beautiful eye contact."
Lost Diagnosis of ADD and Dysgraphia
On August 1, 2013, almost a year after beginning treatment, I received a note from Leo's mother: "Leo has lost his diagnosis! He was just reassessed and no longer has any ADD. We are thrilled."
Essentially, this was a case of ADD and dysgraphia related to a head injury when the child was an infant. Homeopathy can be wonderful for the treatment of such injuries, even years after the accident. A truly amazing result in this young man's case.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, 2013, Victoria, BC
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH is a naturopathic doctor with a special interest in developmental and behavioural disorders. Cases are all from her practice, names have been changed, they were published with permission and are intended for education only.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Physician
West Sooke, BC, Canada
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