There’s a big spectrum of behavioral issues in kids, and I’m not just talking about “The Spectrum” (autism, Asberger’s, etc). Some of the common symptoms I see in children and pre-teens include: 

  • Tantrums: lashing out, throwing, kicking, hitting, biting
  • OCD, or obsessive behaviors that do not fit the diagnosis of OCD
  • Hyperactivity, with or without a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD
  • Motor or vocal tics
  • Anxiety. Kids shouldn’t be developing this as young as they are.

The treatments that work for adults with behavioral problems don’t tend to work as well with kids, though, because the cause is different. Hormone balancing, neurotransmitter balancing, adrenal support and stress management techniques work great for adults, but not nearly as well for most kids. 

  • Neurotransmitter balancing may help with the symptom in kids, but doesn’t ultimately fix the problem.
  • Before puberty, sex hormone balancing doesn’t really apply, as levels should be negligible.
  • Although some kids do have a predisposition towards symptoms from “stress,” before puberty children are usually a lot more more resilient and optimistic than adults are.

So what’s the real problem? 

It’s All About the Gut

Adults who have dysbiosis, food allergies, or overgrowth of intestinal candida tend to present with IBS symptoms, brain fog, constipation, eczema, and/or psoriasis in most cases.

Kids are different. Some of them may show up with dermatological symptoms as a result of food allergies and dysbiosis, but a lot of them develop behavioral issues instead. 

It’s critical to test for candida overgrowth and dysbiosis (overgrowth of “bad” gut flora), as this is very common in these kids, and they don’t present with the symptoms that would normally make it an obvious clinical diagnosis in adults. The test is called the Organic Acid Test (OAT) test, which (bonus!) will also test for metabolites of those neurotransmitters which may be high or low as well. This is because some neurotransmitters are made in the gut, and levels are thus affected by any sort of gut inflammation. 

It’s also important to test or otherwise assess for food sensitivities. The slam-dunks are usually gluten and dairy, but if there are others, you’ll want to find those as well. 

Other Obstacles to Cure: Toxins

Toxic buildup (usually either mold, or those appearing on this list) may also contribute; if the liver is backed up or isn’t working properly, metabolites of these toxins may cause inflammation that can lead to behavioral problems as well. While there is a test to assess for this, it’s expensive and not covered by insurance. So I generally make a clinical diagnosis for this instead, based on exposure history and current symptoms and sensitivities. Sometimes healing the gut alone is enough for the liver to wake up and do its job, though. 

Homeopathy for Behavioral Issues

One of the most effective tools I have for behavioral issues in kids is homeopathy. Homeopathy is energetic medicine (for more on how it works, read here), and when prescribed properly, is extremely specific to a particular patient’s pattern of dysfunction. It’s also non-addictive and non-toxic, stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself. While many people respond well to a correctly chosen remedy, kids seem to respond the best. I almost always add this in to a protocol for kids with behavioral issues. 

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