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ADD, ADHD and Autism

The simple truth and growing concerns about these developmental and social disorders.

ADD, ADHD and Autism are social and developmental disorders once thought to be mostly diagnosed and suffered by individuals from an early age; that is, children. More recent studies are finding that more adults may be suffering from Autism or have ADD, ADHD signs and symptoms but have never been diagnosed in childhood. Only as adults, in the behaviors of their own children or in other children they’ve encountered, have they realized that they indeed may be dealing with these social disorders.

ADD and ADHD Similarities and Differences

ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are made up of three distinct subtypes. Inattentive (ADD), hyperactive-impulse (ADHD) and combined. Traditionally, inattentiveness and trouble listening or managing time has been considered ADD. ADHD is the preferred term when the symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsiveness or the combination. (Dodson, 2019)
Symptoms of ADD can be failing to give attention to and making careless mistakes, difficulty sustaining attention, does not seem to hear when spoken to, does not follow through with instructions or projects, difficulty organizing tasks or activities, avoids tasks that require mental effort, loses things required for tasks, easily distracted by outside stimuli and often forgetful in daily activities. ADHD on the other hand, has symptoms such as fidgeting, a hard time remaining seated, runs or climbs excessively (restless), difficulty playing or engaging in leisurely activities, appears “driven”, talks excessively, blurts out questions or comments, has difficulty waiting their turn or interrupts conversations. (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.)

Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and its relation to ADD and ADHD

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.(Autism Speaks, 2020)

Several factors may influence the development of Autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.
Signs of Autism usually appear by age 2 or 3 however, some adults may have never been diagnosed as children and are classified as “high functioning”, therefore possibly missing a diagnosis at an earlier age or when testing was not as prevalent.

* In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. (Autism speaks, 2020)

This being said; Asperger’s Syndrome today is part of the broader category of ASD; a sort of “high functioning” Autism. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome are as smart as others but have trouble with social skills. They tend to focus obsessively on one topic or perform behaviors repeatedly. They seem to miss social cues and are particular about the order of things or schedules. One can suffer from the traits of both Autism and Asperger’s. (Brennan, 2020)

Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD sometimes overlap. More than half those with Autism have ADD including difficulty settling down, social awkwardness, impulsivity and inability to focus although ADHD is not considered to be on the Autism spectrum. (Costello, 2020)

Adults and ADD, ADHD

Adults with inattentive ADHD may make careless mistakes, lose interest quickly, and struggle to follow verbal instructions. They can come off as lazy, disinterested, or forgetful, and they may live with these false, hurtful labels well into their adult life before seeking a diagnosis. We hear many stories of adults who grew up feeling defective or unworthy, never suspecting they had ADHD until their child was diagnosed and they recognized the symptoms in themselves. (Dodson, 2019)
Although it is called adult ADHD, symptoms may not be as clear as they are in children. Many adults aren’t even aware they have it-they just know each day seems to present a challenge; difficulty in prioritizing or focusing, missing deadlines, forgetting or avoiding social situations, impatience, mood swings, low frustration tolerance or trouble coping with stress and these named are just a few. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020)

Causes of ASD, ADHD

In a 2014 review of studies looking for co-occurrence of ADHD and ASD, researchers found between 30-50 percent of people with ASD also have symptoms of ADHD. Researchers don’t fully understand the cause for either condition or why they may occur together although many varying theories have been presented though none clearly defined and many extreme degrees of findings.

Functional Medicine and Naturopathic Therapies may offer some relief for ASD and ADHD sufferers and their families


Functional Medicine

The science of developing a partnership between a patient, their families and the doctor, is to identify the root causes of many of the physical and psychological effects of these disorders and is a positive first step to better health. In addition to the psychological affects, there are often physical issues that contribute to these psychological issues. Sleep disorders, digestive disorders and leaky gut syndrome, allergies, metal toxicity, sensitivities to light, dairy, yeast, soy, wheat and other foods. Fabrics and chemicals including mold. Respiratory issues. Functional Medicine doctors look to invest in the patient and their complete health reviewing diet, exercise, lifestyle and environment. This is performed though testing such as blood work, food sensitivity testing, metal toxicity testing, adrenal stress profiles, advanced cardiometabolic testing, comprehensive stool analysis, genetic testing and in-depth discussion and observation by a trained and certified Functional Medicine physician. Upon completed testing, changes in diet and lifestyle, supplementation and therapies can be initiated to combat the negative effects of these disorders. All therapies and treatments are non-invasive and drug free.

Alternative Medical Therapies from Michigan Health and Wellness

AO Digital Body Scan

Find out what’s going on in your body. The AO Scan detects energetic disturbances in the body exactly where they are. It can identify existing conditions but also find potential problem areas. Scans take as little as 15 minutes and results can be viewed in a 24-page report addressing areas that need attention with the help of the doctor. After the imbalances have been identified, the AO Scan works to correct the frequencies in the problem areas. In time the body begins to correct itself and many people see dramatic results after only a few sessions.


The BrainMaster therapy is a neurofeedback system. It begins with a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) evaluation. The procedure consists of placing a snug cap with 19 sensors on the head that records brain activity in real time. The sensors DO NOT put any electrical current into the brain. The data received is a Brain Map allowing the doctor to determine whether a client’s brainwaves are different from normal. Neurofeedback is guided exercise for the brain. It is a learning modality designed to retrain dysregulated brainwave patterns. The goal is to transform an unhealthy, dysregulated brain into a normal healthy, organized pattern of brainwaves. Individuals watch movies or play games during the treatment. Once the patient’s brain learns how to produce a certain brainwave, it becomes permanently embedded within the circuit of the brain improving concentration thinking, sleep, memory and more.

Theta Chamber

Theta brainwaves help us heal at the subconscious level of the brain which is the theta state. The Theta Chamber helps lower stress, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce insomnia and PTSD. This promotes growth and healing regulating autonomic body functions. The rotating gives the body a sense of floating which relaxes the body. Cranial electrotherapy provides deep relaxation increasing suggestibility and allows subconscious thoughts to surface. Binaural beats played in the background create new neural pathways. Visual light patterns induce the theta state opening the brain to suggestions of specific healing rhythms.

Hyperbaric Chamber

Low-pressure hyperbaric therapy increases blood oxygen promoting healing. In the chamber the pressure is 3x the normal air pressure. Oxygen is dissolved into all the body’s fluids and carried to areas where circulation is diminished and blocked. In this way, extra oxygen can reach all damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process allowing new blood vessels to grow.

Hyperthermic Ozone and Carbonic Acid Treatment Therapy

Detox at the cellular level. Improves oxygen and excretes toxins stimulating the immune system and promoting healing. Reduces stress and eliminates lactic acid. Reduces inflammation and pain. Ozone is known to inactivate viruses, yeast, fungi, parasites, bacteria and protozoa. Stimulates the immune system. Oxidizes toxins to facilitate their excretion. Calms nerves. Scavenges free radicals and improves brain function and memory.

To learn more call Michigan Health and Wellness for a FREE consultation. Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology, and their relation to the treatment of symptoms of ADHD, ADD, Autism and ASD are managed by our clinical director, Dr. Tony Aboudib, DC. Dr. Aboudib attended post-graduate studies at Carrick Institute for graduate studies in clinical neuroscience, American Functional Neurology Institute, Functional Medicine University, Institute of Functional Medicine and Kharrazian Institute for graduate studies.

For more information call 231-421-5213 or learn more about the therapies listed above on our Service We Offer page here.


Dodson, William. (2019). ADD vs. ADHD: What’s the Difference? ADDitude Magazine. Retrieved from additudemag.com/slideshows/add-vs-adhd/

American Psychiatric Association. (n.d.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders. 5th Edition: DSM-5 5th Edition. Retrieved from psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

Brennan, Dan. (2020). Asperger’s Syndrome. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome

Costello, Eileen. (2020). Is my child with ADD on the Autism Spectrum? ADDitudeMagazine. Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/autism-aspergers-adhd-symptoms-in-children/#:~:text=Characteristics%20of%20autism%20spectrum%20disorders,that%20interest%20them%2C%20and%20impulsivity.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Mayo Clinic. Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350878

Disclaimer: The information provided in our blog posts is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. While we strive to share knowledge and insights on health-related topics, this content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns or decisions related to your health and well-being.