Lies, Distortions and Half-truths About ADD ADHD – Is This Harmful? — ADD Tip O the Day 644

“Best treatment for ADHD: Healthy diet”

This is the headline from John Rosemond’s syndicated column in the Santa Fe New Mexican, 9/13/2015.

He states that he and Dr. Ravenel  found that there is no good evidence that ADHD is a disease, probably inherited, that affects brain chemistry and function.

He states that “on numerous occasions” they have seen ADHD symptoms disappear completely without medication.  As opposed to the headline, they attribute these results to “a combination of strategic discipline, restricting electronic media and diet.” This is called anecdotal evidence, as opposed to scientific research. At first, I assumed that Mr. Rosemond would not lie about this and I wondered if those patients had been incorrectly diagnosed. Now, I question my assumption. Also, Mr. Rosemond didn’t mention that they do not believe that ADHD exists.

Mr. Rosemund states that two pediatricians, Millichap and Yee, “emphasize adding Omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing or completely eliminating processed foods, artificial colorings, and preservatives.”  He quotes them, “Supplemental diet therapy is simple, relatively inexpensive and is more acceptable to patient and parent.”

The abstract of the Millichap Yee paper actually states “In practice, additive-free and oligoantigenic/elimination diets are time-consuming and disruptive to the household; they are indicated only in selected patients. Iron and zinc are supplemented in patients with known deficiencies; they may also enhance the effectiveness of stimulant therapy. In patients failing to respond or with parents opposed to medication, omega-3 supplements may warrant a trial.”

Yee, by the way, is not a pediatrician, but a nurse practitioner.

The scientific research shows that some children benefit somewhat from diet modification and many benefit a little from omega – 3 supplements.  Also that the medications, which Rosemond and Ravenel oppose, are not helpful to some, are significantly helpful to many, and are a miracle for some.  This fits with my  experience (anecdotal).

The scientific evidence is quite strong for the existence of ADHD, its partially genetic basis and the demonstrable abnormalities in brain structure, chemistry and function.

from Wikipedia:

Rosemond is known for his old-fashioned parenting philosophy and approach. That, in combination with his outspoken political conservatism, has earned him a number of critics, especially within the mental health professions. Rosemond, a psychologist, generally begins his presentations by telling his audiences that “psychology is a secular religion that one believes in by faith” and that psychology has done more harm than good to the American family.

Rosemond advocates what he calls a traditional disciplinary approach to parenting, a view that makes him controversial. Some don’t like his views on toilet training[3] and spanking [4] as they run counter to other parenting experts’ recommendations.

John Rosemond has a master’s degree (MS), and is licensed as a “psychological associate” in the State of North Carolina. Over the years, Rosemond has received disciplinary sanctions from the North Carolina Licensing Board for misrepresenting his professional credentials and assuming provider-client relationship in inappropriate circumstances.

There is nothing wrong with trying diet modification, electronic media restriction and appropriate discipline. Unfortunately, discipline is not very effective with ADHD children. The damage would come from waiting too long if this is not working. I believe that everyone with ADHD deserves a trial of medication.

PS I am adding the excellent point from Mindbody (see comments) that even if there is some improvement from these approaches and without medication, it is unlikely to be sustained when the situation changes – the parents get tired of maintaining such discipline or the kid goes to college and loses his important structure, for examples.


ADD,ADHD,attention deficit,adult ADD,adult ADHD, adult ADD,adult ADHD,relationships,understanding,What ADD is like,what ADHD is like,living with ADD,living with ADHD,#ADD,#adhd,#@addstrategies

Distortions, half truths, and lies about ADD ADHD.

John Rosemond’s column

Paper from Millichap MD and Yee CNP

ADHD does not exist -Ravenel and Rosemund


About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
This entry was posted in add. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Lies, Distortions and Half-truths About ADD ADHD – Is This Harmful? — ADD Tip O the Day 644

  1. Pingback: ADD-relatie: de uitgedaagde liefde - Aye 2 Detail Design

  2. betsydavenport says:

    The implication here is that no one who lived prior to the digital age and ate food untainted by modern agricultural practices could have had ADHD. Which, of course, is a crock. My mother was born in 1916 and she grew up on a farm pre-television where they grew their own food. She had ADD. Her father, born in 1889, had, by all accounts, enough symptoms of ADD to sink a ship.

    No one would ever think it appropriate to voice an opinion about most other diagnoses that afflict children and adults. Imagine this kind of unremitting, ignorant commentary about, say, scoliosis? Leukemia?


    • Betsy – excellent point. I don’t know where this guy is coming from , but apparently he sells a lot of books. He makes a lot of claims about the success of his approaches, but from this column I’ve don’t think we can trust anything he says.
      Thank you for your comment.


  3. It’s kind of like high blood pressure. When you do certain things, your blood pressure goes down. But you’re still considered to have high blood pressure. And when the circumstances change, as you said with ADHD, the blood pressure can go right back up.

    It’s obvious that none of those people have ADHD or they would not be saying that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. MindBody says:

    Mind you I do certainly disagree with the proposition that ADHD is a discrete, genetically encoded disease.

    Attention is a tertiary neural process- and it can be impacted upon by a multitude of causal factors, all of which will produce a phenomenologically similar phenotype.

    The fact of response to stimulants does not prove that it is a genetic disorder, and the absence of a discrete genetic cause does not invalidate the use of stimulants.

    The material in the Ravenel and Rosemund link is so riven with thinking errors that I suspect we are dealing with two cases of logic deficit disorder.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MindBody says:

    The real problem with these sort of opinions is that – yes symptoms may improve with dietary modifications, and may improve with tighter parenting– but how well sustained are these improvements?
    Someone goes to see a person with a specific view, improves somewhat with the initial change ( and part of the temporary improvement may be placebo- which rarely produces long lasting improvements) but then the patient is lost to follow up.

    So individuals like Rosemond may see short term improvements but not have enough follow up to see the long term outcome. They may not see what happens when the parents become too tired to maitain the intensive supervision, or what happens when the child becomes a teenager and in asserting his own independence starts resisting his parents direction.

    They will certainly not see a presentation I see very commonly: an ADHD child who is well supported by the structure and peer support provided by his well organised professional parents who send him to a private school where the close supervision and consequences of late homework lead to a good academic performance, which collapses into disarray in the unstructured environment of University or the high demands for self motivated and self directed behaviours in a professional workplace.

    They will not see the undesirable personality changes that occur as the ADHD individual slowly learns from bitter experience that reaching out and engaging in proactive social behaviours is a waste of time, because all his relationships fall apart and nobody cares enough to maintain a friendship with him.

    These presentations will occur years or decades after the initially promising contact with the ADHD non believer therapist- but they will still bite, they will still cause harms.

    However, by then the unfortunate ADHD individual has accepted his conditioning that this is all happening because he is such a flawed and unworthy individual.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.