3 steps to solving your child’s ADHD

3 steps to solving your child’s ADHD

Update: Dr. Erika now has an ebook outlining her 3-step approach to ADHD.  Check it out here!

Last Saturday, June 1st, I gave a talk at Meadowsweet Herbs here in Missoula about ADHD and the steps I take to heal it naturally. I am happy to share a shortened version of the talk with you if you happened to miss it!

I have found this 3-step approach to ADHD to be very effective. I always tell my patients that my long-term goal is to permanently restore health. When we use this 3-step approach we systematically rule out other conditions that may either mimic ADHD or aggravate it. Once we have done our detective work the real healing can begin.

I love to see families whose lives are completely changed by this approach!

Here is a summary of my 3-step approach (watch the video for more information):

    1. Is it really ADHD? It is truly astonishing how many cases of ADHD in children are actually misdiagnoses.  Things like iron-deficiency anemia, thyroid disease, or heavy metal toxicity (especially lead or mercury) often look just like ADHD.  Children in my practice are screened for these conditions first because let me tell you, at least 50% of the time I see kids have something other than ADHD.  Another of Dr. Erika’s observations: I have a hunch that a subset of kids with “ADHD” are actually in pain.  Sound strange?  I think it actually makes a lot of sense. People who are uncomfortable are often restless to get their mind off of the pain.  In kids I think it is even worse because they don’t have a good understanding of what different sensations mean.  It can be scary for a child to be in pain, and they may not even recognize it as such, especially if they have never experienced “normal” (pain-free) health.

  1. WHY is it ADHD? Once we have exhausted step 1 we move on to step 2.  If we know for sure it really is ADHD Dr. Erika wants to know why.  I believe that ADHD symptoms are caused by something irritating the nervous system.  So what is it?  Leaky gut syndrome, vitamin D deficiency, sensitivity to food colorings and additives, genetic defects, oxidative damage, or social stress can all cause irritation to the nervous system.  In addition to removing these factors we need to add nourishing nutrients to help calm and soothe the nervous system and protect against future damage.
  2. When all else fails – check the biochemistry.  Lots of naturopathic doctors I know start at this step because it is so effective.  Basically we can do a blood or urine test to check the levels of neurotransmitters and supplement the ones that are low or give cofactors to stimulate production. I use this as the last resort because changing the biochemistry in the brain doesn’t address the underlying cause.  It is always my goal for my patients to heal naturally and not be dependent upon supplements for the rest of their lives – when we follow steps 1 and 2 we are usually able to avoid that dependency.  When we skip straight to step 3 it usually means that patients are dependent upon taking those supplements in the long term.  Also, many of these biochemical imbalances resolve themselves just by following steps 1 and 2 – sometimes we can go crazy chasing lab results around because we forget that people are not lab results.

Do you have questions about this approach? Please feel free to comment/ask below!

Erika Krumbeck, ND, FABNP
Erika Krumbeck

Dr. Erika Krumbeck is the proud founder and editor of, the leading internet source for trustworthy natural health information for children and naturopathic pediatric providers. She is also the owner of Montana Whole Health, a primary care naturopathic practice in Missoula, MT. She is one of few doctors with the FABNP designation, meaning she is a board-certified pediatric naturopathic physician. Dr. Krumbeck has specialized training in treating chronic conditions in children using safe, gentle and effective natural remedies. She helps bridge the gap between conventional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine by using both new research and traditional naturopathic therapies to guide treatment.


  • Avatar
    Kjerstin Mix
    December 18, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    My daughter had birth trama, she was born blue and apgar was low for days. She has severe intellectual delays and is in the body of a 12 year old. She misunderstands peoples body language and has to be talked town constantly due to feelings of rejection. She needs me or an aid by her side almost every minute of the day. She is outgoing but stubborn and bossy. She has been physically hard on her classmates a number of times, and even with children 1/2 her age. If she is ever going to be independent, she needs something to help her smooth her reactions. I hate the idea of all the ADHD drugs. No homeopathics or severe diet changes have worked. Her OT and ABA helps but not enough. I was considering Lithium Orotate. At this point if she needs it the rest of her life I am at peace with that. She is not happy and is constantly argumentative with everyone. She is not happy. I don’t feel our Naturopath is doing enough, and I am about to ask her about Lithium Orotate to see what she says. Thoughts?

  • Avatar
    maillot chelsea 2013 etoile
    July 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Hey, thanks for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  • Avatar
    Heidi Gerdts-Lohner
    July 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    FANTASTIC approach to ADHD!

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