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The role of essential oils in the treatment and management of attention deficit hyperactive disorder

  • Self Employed Researcher, Therapist, and Author


This paper reflects the results of a qualitative study recently undertaken by the author, in which the consequences of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and the validity of employing essential oils as a complementary therapy to assist in its management were explored. The original study involved six semi-structured interviews with the parents of boys aged 11–14 years. The subjects attended Wennington Hall (EBD) School, having been Statemented as presenting with emotional and behavioural difficulties, in particular, ADHD: (section 168 of the Education Act 1993 and the Education (Special Educational Needs) Regulation 1994). A literature search was conducted and experts in the field of aromatherapy were questioned.Based on the results of this project, a synthesis of research, opinion and experience has been presented here: first exploring the aetiology and consequences of ADHD; then discussing the use of essential oils within this context. The author concluded that essential oils could have a valid role in the management of ADHD, and presented the results gleaned from her research study and personal experience with the intention of assisting fellow professional aromatherapists, parents, teachers, carers and potential researchers.
This paper reflects the results of a semi-qualitative study undertaken by the author, in which the nature of
ADHD and the validity of employing essential oils to support the management of this condition were
explored. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with the parents of students aged between 11-
14 years attending Wennington Hall EBD School who had been Statemented (section 168 of the Education
Act 1993 and the Education (Special Education Needs) Regulation 1994) as presenting emotional and
behavioural difficulties (EBD), in particular, ADHD. A literature review was carried out and experts in the
field of aromatherapy were questioned.
Based on the outcome of this study, a synthesis of resulting research, opinion and experience is
presented here; first exploring the aetiology and consequences of ADHD, then discussing the use of
essential oils within this context. The author concludes that essential oils have a valid role in the
management of ADHD, when used complementarily with other supporting strategies, such as relaxation
and mindfulness techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling; particularly where co-
morbidities are present e.g. anxiety, depression, low self esteem and restlessness.
The following information is intended to offer insight and support for fellow aromatherapists, parents,
teachers, carers, and other health care professionals and researchers.
This paper will present the results of a research project carried out by this author, which explored the potential use
of essential oils as a viable method of complementary support in managing the symptoms and co-morbidities of
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Six semi-structured interviews were carried out with parents of
adolescent sons, aged between 11-14 years, who had been Statemented (section 168 of the Education Act 1993
and the Education (Special Education Needs) Regulation 1994) as presenting emotional and behavioural
difficulties, in particular ADHD. A review of relevant literature, research findings and the experiences of
professional aromatherapists and essential experts were also sought. Synthesizing the resulting information
gleaned, this author aims to provide the unfamiliar reader with an insightful background in relation to the aetiology
and consequence of ADHD followed by discussion relating the use of essential oils in this context.
The remaining information will be presented under the following sub-headings:
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 1
Heather Godfrey
BSc (Joint Hons), PGCE, FIFA
Originally published in the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy (2009): vol 6 Issue 1: Editor Rhiannon
Harris: Essential Oil Resource Consultants
What is ADHD?
The Experience of ADHD
ADHD and Essential Oils
What is ADHD?
The term ADHD was coined by the American Psychiatric Association (1994) (DSMV-1V), and is the label most
commonly referred to. Hyperkinetic Disorder is the term, with similar implications, applied by British Psychiatrists
(ICD-10) (Munden & Arcelus 1999). ADHD is usually present with other similar learning disorders, especially
those that fall under the dyslexic ‘umbrella’ and other behavioural disorders such as Opposition Defiant Disorder,
Conduct Disorder and Autism (Cooper & Bilton 1999). Some traits may overlap with others, which can complicate
ADHD is reported to affect between 4 and 20% of school age children, with boys outnumbering girls 3:1, or
according to some studies, 10:1 (Munden & Arcelus 1999). Official figures vary, which may serve to accentuate
the complexities underpinning the disorder, variations in parameters of measurement and diversity of professional
A variety of labels have been applied to this ‘disorder’ or ‘condition’ since George Still wrote on the subject in the
Lancet during 1902. For example, labels have included terms like ‘minimal brain dysfunction’, ‘brain-injured child
syndrome’, ‘hyperkinetic reaction of childhood’, and ‘hyperactive child syndrome’ (Barkley 1998).
Possible causes
Several postulations relating to its cause have been forwarded and biomedical researchers, assuming that ADHD
is an abnormality or dysfunction, continue their exploration for possible causes in a bid to find a ‘cure’. Meanwhile,
there remains much speculation and debate in the absence of conclusive evidence (Nutt et al., 2006).
A link between damage, or injury, to the frontal lobe of the brain, as well as damage caused by toxin exposure, and
ADHD-like behaviour or symptoms, has been postulated, for example. Other factors, such as maternal tobacco
and alcohol use and premature birth have been implicated. Research suggests that collectively, these factors may
be implicated in approximately 20% of reported incidences of ADHD (see for instance Barkley 1998). In spite of
this, neural-imaging studies provide evidence that brain damage, which would produce ADHD-like symptoms, is
not present in the actual disorder of ADHD. These studies, though, apparently indicate that some individuals with
ADHD may exhibit ‘abnormalities’ in the development of specific brain regions, particularly the striatal region, the
area of the brain which controls behaviour and movement (Paule et al 2000). Other researchers claim to have
found subtle structural ‘abnormalities’, suggesting that the brains of ADHD subjects were more symmetrical
compared to those of a matched control group (Castellano 1996). So far, however, this research has not proved
conclusively that there is a general direct correlation between such brain abnormalities and ADHD.
The strongest evidence produced so far appears in genetic research, which provides evidence of a potential link
between ADHD and ‘unusual’ brain development, evidenced in twin studies (Faraone & Biederman 1998). This
research has identified certain gene differences and a strong inheritable tendency in ADHD subjects, particularly
affecting the dopamine D4 receptor, dopamine D2 and the dopamine transporter gene (Mugalia et al 2000).
Noradrenalin (norepinephrine) and dopamine control attention and hyperactivity; low levels may be experienced as
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 2
restless boredom. Serotonin is implicated in depression, aggression, disturbed sleep patterns, impulsivity and
anxiety. Low levels may induce suicidal or violent thoughts (Gallahar 2001). Supporting this, Fisher and Beckley
(1999) suggest:
The neurotransmitters that operate in the frontal area of the brain are predominantly
dopamine and norepinephrine. It is the biochemical system that is affected; this [ADHD]
is not a disorder involving any damage to the brain. Rather the brain is intact, just not
able to work to its potential.
Research also suggests that this deficiency state or biochemical imbalance within the dopaminergic system,
especially a deficit of dopamine transporter, may also result in high levels of novelty seeking:
Novelty seeking is a personality dimension defined as a compulsive need for varied,
novel and complex sensations with the willingness to take physical and social risks for
the sake of such experience. (Gerra et al 2000)
Observing behavioural traits, cognitive researcher assume that there are four executive functions ‘down’ or
impaired in ADHD (Cooper & Bilton 1999). These are:
1. Impairment of working memory – this makes it difficult for individuals to retain and manipulate
information for purposes of appraisal and planning.
2. The function of internalized speech – here the consequences and implications of impulses are
weighed up and discussed internally in most people, which allows for self-control and discipline.
However, this process appears to be inhibited or lacking in ADHD individuals.
3. Motivational appraisal – this facet of internal deliberation enables decisions to be made by providing
information about emotional associations generated by an impulse and the extent to which the
impulse is likely to produce desirable outcomes.
4. Reconstitution or behavioural synthesis – this function enables the planning of new and appropriate
Others hypothesise that, while neural-imaging shows activity in unexpected areas of the brain and less in
expected areas, such as the prefrontal cortex and straitum, this may not necessarily be entirely due to deficit or
abnormal function (Gallahar 2001). They suggest that individuals with ADHD naturally ‘think’ differently, using
parts of the brain useful to eliciting spontaneous responses in the way that helped our ancestors remain alert to
their environment and survive the threat of physical danger and intrinsically assist in their search for food. The
frontal region of the brain is the most recent part to develop (relatively speaking) and accommodates the type of
abstract thought processes engaged by modern industrial/intellectual human beings. According to Gallahar
(2001), the areas of the brain that individuals with ADHD engage correspond with sensual, intuitive feelings and
responses. This is not to suggest that individuals with ADHD are less intelligent, however. In fact, many
individuals with ADHD have been found to score within the average to above average IQ scales when tested
(Gallahar 2001).
Parallel with this line of thinking, a correlation between ADHD and creativity and sensitivity is also postulated
(Crammond 1995). This hypothosis purports that those who exhibit mixed brain dominance, or anomalies, may
also display remarkable creative talents, suggesting that those with ADHD may have a greater abundance of
spontaneous, creative thought and, consequently, more internal distraction from fleeting sensory input. Equally,
they may have less command over their thought processes or distractions from ‘outside’ noises or images, which
may impinge upon their attention.
Dietary influences
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 3
Diet has also been implicated as a cause for hyperactivity and ADHD-like symptoms (Feingold 2001; Murray &
Pizzorno 1999). Feingold (2001) for example, found that hyperactivity was reduced in some 55% of cases when
certain foods containing artificial colours, flavouring, preservative and natural salicylates were excluded from the
diet; see table 1 for example (Renton, 2009). This exclusion was supported with inclusion/intake of specific
vitamins and minerals. For example, vitamins B (all), C, D, E, and magnesium, iron, essential fatty acids,
potassium and zinc; either balanced or increased (Feingold 2001; Sharon 1998). Such measures have been
shown to significantly reduce hyperactivity where ADHD-like symptoms were present, and improve concentration.
However, this type of exclusion regime has not shown to ‘cure’ the underlying symptoms of those with ‘true’ ADHD
(Baggs and Kracitz, 2001; Feingold 2001).
Table 1: Synthetic colorants which cause or exacerbate hyperactivity, attention disorder,
allergies, eczema and asthma in children (Renton, 2009)
The parents I interviewed confirmed that an exclusion diet quelled their son’s hyperactivity to a certain degree only.
These results, though, indicate that sensitivities and allergies to foods and non-food substances and an
unbalanced diet might present contributory factors and/or a co-related feature of ADHD, which may aggravate or
exasperate the underlying symptoms.
But what does all this mean for the individual with ADHD?
The Experience of ADHD
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 4
Examples of synthetic colourants which cause or exacerbate hyperactivity,
attention disorder, allergies, eczema and asthma in children
Colours (generally reds and yellows) mainly derived from coal tar, also known as the
‘dirty six’, found in sweets, jellies, ice lollies, fizzy drinks and icing on cakes:
Sunset yellow (E 110)
Carmoisine (E 122) (also found in Calpol)
Tartrazine (E 102)
Ponceau 4R (E 124)
Quinoline yellow (E 104)
Allura Red (E 129)
Commonly used benzoate preservatives:
E 210 to E 219
(Renton 2009)
The individual with ADHD appears to be spontaneous and reactive to their environment and to sensory stimuli.
They appear to be constantly physically active and restless, unable to remain seated or in one position for any
length of time, often fidgeting or ‘playing’ with objects when forced to sit still – tapping feet or fingers, playing with
pens, doodling when listening. Some individuals with ADHD argue that this behaviour actually helps them to
concentrate because it channels their restless energy while they focus attention (Hallowell 1992). Unfortunately,
this fidgety behaviour may be irritating to others and may be a source of disturbance, or may even be interpreted
simply as inattention. Individuals with ADHD act as they think, often interrupting others, butting into conversations
or blurting out answers or statements. This behaviour is also explained as a response to short-term memory
inadequacy, where information or questions are quickly forgotten if they are not responded to immediately (Cooper
& Bilton 1999). Unfortunately, these behavioural traits may be regarded as rude and/or anti-social.
The individual with ADHD often shifts from one task or object to the next before one is completed. This gives the
outward impression that they are chaotic, disorganized and messy, but often, left to their own devices, some
manage to multi-task well and will complete tasks or assignments in their own time and order (Hallowell 1992).
Others find that staying ‘on task’ or completing projects is overruled by their inner lack of sustainable attention or in
some cases, boredom. Some individuals with ADHD engage in daring or risky activities because they have not
deliberated about the consequences, they ‘just do it. Individuals with ADHD do not seem to have a sense of time,
which further impinges on their apparent inability to be organized, often forgetting deadlines and important dates
and arriving late for appointments. This inability to fit in with an ordered, ‘clockwork’ environment causes obvious
problems. Unfortunately, to the observer these behavioural traits appear undisciplined and chaotic, and are not
always conducive to discipline in circumstances where control and uniformity are necessary; one instance being in
school, for example.
For those who do not relate to the traits of ADHD, or understand that such traits are often not deliberate, these
behaviours can become annoying and frustrating. These traits may also be interpreted as defiance or as
oppositional, particularly as ADHD individuals have difficulty sticking to the usual ‘rules’, driven by their spontaneity
and apparent inability to think things through before acting. Consequently, individuals with ADHD may feel
misunderstood and alienated, having difficulty maintaining friendships, and upsetting people with outspoken,
thoughtless comments (Cooper & Bilton 1999). A sense of isolation, of not fitting in, of being different, leads to
obvious psychological challenges. Depending on the maturity or character or familial stability of the individual with
ADHD, this will have an impact on their self-esteem and confidence, and may lead to feelings of depression and
anxiety (Cooper & Bilton 1999). Individuals with ADHD appear easily frustrated and are often argumentative
and/or volatile, especially when they are denied immediate access to something they want, which, unfortunately,
tends to alienate them even further from those around them.
To summarise thus far, the individual with ADHD may have a poor sense of time, with short-term memory
deficiency that renders them forgetful, and an inability to ‘stop and think’ which makes them appear reckless. They
may be sensitive, even over-sensitive, to their environment. They may be potentially unable to control or switch off
from the stimulation of sensory input; images, colours, sounds and movement. They may be easily distracted (or
over-focused) by their internal thought process, yet conversely they may act and speak spontaneously without the
internal deliberation that enables a person to stop or withdraw. A ‘multi-coloured bouquet’ with blooms of creativity,
ideas, fast thinking, fast talking, energetic enthusiasm – interspersed with sprays of depression, anxiety,
frustration, even anger – held together with the delicate thread of their individual uniqueness.
Conventional management of ADHD
ADHD is a vivid, obvious and challenging condition for the affected individual and for those in their orbit. This
‘disorder’ appears to present enormous social difficulty in a society apparently driven (almost obsessively) by a
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 5
need for control and order; so much so that medication such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextramphetamine
(Dexedrine) is increasingly the treatment of choice (Perry & Kuperman 2000). There is concern that medication is
becoming oversubscribed and inappropriately used by some physicians (Miller 1999). Others suggest that
pharmacological interventions, with or without psychosocial interventions, is a superior course of treatment to
psychosocial interventions or standard community care alone (Paule et al 2000). Medication is apparently aimed
at reducing hyperactivity and increasing concentration; however, the side effects experienced by some of the
recipients, such as bedwetting, loss of weight, slowed growth and sleep disturbances, can be unpleasant
(Zimmerman 1998).
Among those parents I surveyed whose sons took mythylphenidate (Ritalin) 75% expressed concern about the
long-term consequences and side effect of taking medication. One parent said that she recognized that her son’s
medication was not a ‘cure’, and questioned the ethics of her own dependency on being able to administer his
medication when she could no longer cope with his hyperactivity. Another parent said that her son seemed to
benefit from taking medication because it improved his concentration. There appears, however, some concern
that medication could become a convenient ‘chemical cosh’ (Stohschein, 2007; Charach et al., 2006; Sawyer et
al., 2002; Safer, 2000; Miller, 1999; Wilson 1999;).
ADHD and Essential Oils
Are essential oils effective for ADHD?
I have found very little existing information or research evidence in relation to the use of essential oils and ADHD,
in spite of the link between apparent symptoms (discussed previously) of the condition and the influence of
essential oils on cerebral activity, especially with in the limbic region (for example, the pituitary gland, the
hypothalamus, amygdale and hippocampus, which influence mood, emotion, behaviour, memory and hormonal
activity (table 2) (Sorensen 2001, 2000; Robin 2000; Damian & Damian 1995; Herz 1999; Degel 1999).
Table 2. Essential oils which potentially influence structures associated with the limbic system (Sorensen,
2001; Tisserand, 2001; Damian and Damian 1995)
Gland/ structure Latin name Common name
Pituitary Salvia sclarea
Jasminum officinale
Pogostemon patchouli
Cananga odorata
Clary sage
Hypothalamus Citrus bergamia
Boswellia carterii
Pelargonium asperum
Aniba rosaeodora
Thalamus Salvia sclarea
Jasminum officinale
Citrus paradisii
Rosa damascena
Clary sage
Amygdala/ hippocampus Piper nigrum
Mentha x piperita
Rosmarinus officinalis
Citrus limon
Black pepper
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 6
In the absence of greater researched evidence in relation to essential oils and ADHD, these references remain
anecdotal, the therapeutic properties merely suggestive according to the chemical composition of the essential oil,
i.e. Franchomme/Pénoël ‘functional group theory’ and application of essential oils in other psycho-emotional
contexts, such as depression and anxiety (Buckle 2003; Sorensen 2001; Grace 1999; Tisserand 1997; Damian &
Damian 1995; Schnaubelt 1995; Franchomme & Pénoël 1990).
Synthesising available literature and research evidence with the survey results reported here, however, suggests
that essential oils could be employed to support the symptoms (rather than the cause) of ADHD, especially the co-
morbidities of anxiety, depression, low self esteem and to a certain extent, hyperactivity.
Essential oils may have a direct chemical influence on cephalic function, especially with in the frontal lobe and
limbic area of the brain (table 2), stimulating or balancing hormonal/dopaminerigic activity, positively influencing
memory, mental alertness, clarity and attention, co-ordination, response time, mood, emotion and behaviour
(Sorensen 2001; Degel et al 1999; Herz & Cupchick 1995; Imberger et al 1993; Knasko 1992; Buchbauer et al
1992; Jager et al 1991). For example, Miyazaki et al (1991) found ‘the inhalation of orange oil increased activity of
the parasympathetic nervous system’ and Miyake et al (1991) found ‘the odour of bitter orange affected the cortex
and inhibited the excitement of the central nervous system’ inducing sedative affects. Imberger and colleagues
(1993) found in a vigilance task that jasmine produced excitatory effects and lavender sedative effects on subjects.
Sorensen (2001) investigated the hormonal activity of Vitex agnus castus (Chaste tree), finding that identified (and
unidentified) diterpenes with pharmacological dopaminergic activity act as dopaminergic agonists, especially
affecting the D2 receptors. As already discussed here, genetic research has established a link between ADHD and
inheritable dopaminergic deficiencies, particularly dopamine D2 and D4, and dopamine receptors. Sorensen
(2001) found that ‘hormonal, thereby emotional disorder’s, are treated very successfully with Vitex agnus castus
(both extract and oil)’ especially depression and anxiety, although, she acknowledges this depends on the nature
of the underlying disorder.
Synthesizing these findings, though, suggests that Vitex agnus castus essential oil may potentially benefit the
symptoms of ADHD, justifying further investigation and research. However, Sorenson’s vitex research was taken
further by Chopin Lucks and colleagues in relation to menopausal hormonal balance (2003; 2002), concluding that
vitex does appear to affect hormone balance, (affecting LH decreasing estrogen, promoting progesterone), which
may indicate there might be some risk in using vitex in prepubertal or pubertal children. Chopin Lucks (2003) also
found severe emotional reactivity in some women using this oil and now recommend it is used only after a
thorough medical workup and under supervision. Although promising, these observations indicate further research
is required in terms of the safe use of Vitex agnus castus with adolescents.
Tisserand (personal correspondence 2001) recommends that essential oils of nutmeg, rosemary, peppermint and
eucalyptus may also benefit due to their cephalic stimulating activity. However, Tisserand also points out, because
of potential sensitivity traits amongst individuals with ADHD, that rosemary and peppermint oils be regarded with
caution and administered in low dosages. Significantly, however, the parent of an autistic child (personal
correspondence 2001) reported that massaging essential oils of eucalyptus, geranium, lavender and peppermint
into the soles of his son’s feet gave great benefit, stating that treatments ‘helped reduce the hyperactivity and
increase his attention span’. There were a combination of separate factors present, though, which may also have
contributed to this outcome that cannot be overlooked; for example, massage (touch), reflex zone/point stimulation
(reflexology) and the parent/child relationship, as well as the synergistic potential of the essential oils.
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 7
The importance of self selection
Fitzgeral et al. (2007) observed from their study of the effect of gender and ethnicity of children’s attitude and
preference for essential oils that:
….children do have scent preferences for essential oils and that these preferences may vary both by
gender and ethnicity…response to essential oils is a complex process affected by multiple variables
including gender, cultural exposure to specific odours, and/or individual experiences that create either
pleasant or unpleasant associations.
I have observed in my practice that personal selection (and rejection) of essential oils forms an important aspect of
creating a potent blend for therapeutic (and aesthetic) use; what one person finds pleasant another may dislike.
The client’s participation in the selection of appropriate oils is, therefore, vital. Our sense of smell, taste and touch
has been vital to our survival since prehistoric time; we seem to intrinsically, instinctively know what is good for us,
and what is not (Alexander 2001). Using this innate sense, clients are very good at choosing specific oils from a
range presented by the therapist. This aspect, inevitably, complicates quantitative scientific research which might
explore a single or a specific blend of essential oils against one condition. Exploration of essential oils in a
therapeutic context appears best suited, therefore, to qualitative or semi qualitative research (Bell 1999; Jenkins et
al 1998).
Odour cues and conditioning
According to Alexander (2001), there is an intrinsic neural connection between olfaction, cognition and reflexive
behaviour and conditioning (Alexander 2001). Herz and colleagues (2000) used odour in connection with
pleasant/unpleasant circumstances to examine the effect of odour on memory, finding that memories elicited by
odours are:
More emotionally potent than memories evoked by other sensory stimuli and when
salient emotion is experienced during odour exposure, the effectiveness of an odour
memory cue is enhanced.
The odour cue works equally for positive and negative experiences and memories. Similarly and significantly,
Ptiman (2000), in a study involving a group of 11-12 year-old children with ADHD and other behavioural problems,
invited them to select three essential oils each. These oils were blended in vegetable oil for self-administration
during class. The oils were initially used in conjunction with relaxation techniques. One drop was rubbed into the
wrist when the student felt the need or the blend was sometimes used at home in a bath. This method appeared
to use the odour as a positive memory cue, while at the same time exploiting the cephalic psycho-emotional
qualities of the particular essential oils selected (Alexander 2001; Tisserand 2001, 1997; Damian & Damian 1995;
Shepperd-Hanger 1995). Pitman found that:
It was very noticeable that both the oils and the relaxation improved concentration.
Students definitely stayed calmer, longer, and recovered quickly from upsets. There
were fewer disruptions to lessons.
Table 3. Modes of application and effectiveness of essential oils used by the parents surveyed.
Methods of essential oil use by parents of sons with ADHD
Environmental oil burner/diffuser 75%
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 8
Bath 50%
Massage 50%
Those who found the essential oils effective 75%
Those who found the essential oils calming 50%
67% of parents I interviewed said that they used essential oils at home with some success to help calm their son’s
behaviour and improve their ability to relax, but they also agreed that the essential oils did not diminish the
underlying symptoms. Table 3 outlines the ways by which essential oils were employed and the level of
effectiveness. One parent stated that her son actually became more hyperactive when she vaporized ‘…the fruity
ones, no matter which one it is can set him off high if I had it on for too long’. Significantly at least half the group
surveyed reported incidences of underlying allergies, skin conditions, sleep disturbances or sensitivities to food
(see Table 4 & 5).
Table 4. Conditions and sensitivities found in the survey group
Family history of ADHD/dyslexia 50%
Allergies 50%
Eczema 67%
Asthma 33%
Epilepsy 50%
Sleep disturbances 50%
Foods/food additives caused behaviour to worsen 50%
Table 5. Foods identified within the survey group that aggravated behavioural symptoms
Anything processed
Coca cola
Coloured drinks
Fish fingers
Fizzy pop
Flavoured crisps
Shop bought cakes
Tinned peas
Heightened sensitivity
Feingold (2001) found a relationship between allergies, hyperactivity and chemicals in food (55%). Johnson
(2000) found in an unofficial survey involving 65 ADHD adults that between 30% and 70% were hypersensitive,
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 9
displaying symptoms such as skin conditions like eczema, rashes, or allergies to foods or environmental allergies
such as hay fever; claustrophobia in crowds and sensitivity to noise etc. Of further significance, Aron (1999)
suggests that hypersensitive people (HSPs) are easily aroused and highly sensitive to their environments:
High levels of stimulation (e.g. a noisy classroom) will distress and exhaust HSPs
sooner than others. While some will withdraw, a significant number of boys especially
will become hyperactive.
Relating this potential of sensitivity in individuals with ADHD to the use of essential oils indicates there is need for
caution when applying treatment. For example, there is a risk that the recipient may develop an allergic reaction
to certain essential oils or may become sensitized to others very quickly. Paradoxically, however, essential oils
can also be of value for some of the sensitivity conditions, such as eczema, sleep disturbance and emotional
vulnerability. I have found in my experience, for example, that a blend of boswellia carterii (frankincense),
anthemis nobilis (chamomile Roman) or lavendula angustifolia (lavender) and citrus bergamia (bergamot) or citrus
reticulate (mandarin), using one drop of the blend on a tissue and inhaling, helped quell panic attacks and feelings
of anxiety in an ADHD client.
The key appears to be moderation and responding to observation when working with potential sensitivity; for
example, the above-mentioned parent used other essential oils, avoiding the ‘fruity ones’, having regarded her
son’s response to them. I have found that, when using essential oils for psycho-emotional conditions, small
amounts are still very effective. Direct inhalation of essential oils requires limited amounts (½ to one drop) to
procure a significant response. The essential oils both recommended and used by those surveyed and this author
are listed in Table 6
Table 6. Recommended and used essential oils
Essential oils recommended by therapists
Citrus bergamia (bergamot)
Cedrus Atlantica (cedarwood Atlas)
Lavendula angustifolia (lavender)
Vetiveria zizanoids (vetiver)
Essential oils recommended by Robert Tisserand
Eucalyptus globulus / radiata (eucalyptus)
Lavendula angustifolia (lavender)
Myristica fragrans (nutmeg)
VItex agnus castus (Chaste tree)
Mentha piperita (peppermint)
Rosemarinus officinalis (rosemary)
Essential oils used by parents and therapists
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 10
Anthemis nobilis (chamomile Roman)
Boswellia carteri (frankincense)
Cananga odorata (ylang ylang)
Cedrus atlantica (cedarwood)
Citrus bergamia (bergamot)
Citrus reticulate (mandarine)
Citrus sinensis (orange, sweet)
Citrus aurantium v amara (neroli)
Eucalyptus globulus / radiata (eucalyptus)
Lavendula angustifolia (lavender)
Mentha piperita (peppermint)
Pelargonium graveolens (geranium)
Rosa demascena (rose)
Salvia sclaria (clary sage)
Essential oils used by the author
Anthemis nobilis (chamomile Roman)
Boswellia carteri (frankincense)
Cedrus atlantica (Cedarwood)
Citrus aurantium var. amara (orange bitter)
Citrus bergamia (bergamot)
Citrus reticulate (mandarine)
Cupressus sempervirens (cypress)
Ferula galbaniflua (galbanum)
Lavendula angustifolia English (lavender)
Nardostachys grandiflora (spikenard)
Pogostemon cablin (patchouli)
Santalum album (sandalwood)
Valeriana fauriei (valerian)
VItex agnus castus (Chaste tree)
Essential oils and other modalities
Essential oils may be applied in conjunction with relaxation and mindfulness techniques (Duerden 2009) or
behavioural therapy. They may be employed for their chemical influence on the above processes, or used to
reinforce positive memory cues (Pitman 2000; Herz 1999). They may be applied in conjunction with massage
techniques, where self esteem may be improved and hyperactivity temporarily quelled. This author has found that
encouraging self-massage, or peer massage (particularly when working with children and adolescents), of the
hands and shoulders, encourages ‘ownership’, self support, personal control and when shared with peers,
supports relationships. Equally, this author finds that self administration to the wrists of an appropriate prescribed
blend of essential oils and vegetable oil, using a small ‘roller bottle’, supportive in cases of anxiety, depression or
grief; clients are able to use this method when ever they feel the need, therefore, taking personal control. Other
methods of self-application include*:
Adding up to 6 – 8 drops of an essential oil blend to full fat milk (to avoid slippery baths – especially
poignant when used for children, the elderly, disabled or frail) or vegetable oil, to a bath before bedtime.
Vapourising up to 6 – 8 drops of compatible essential oils in a candle lit ‘oil burner’ or electrical diffuser
(the later being the safest, especially when used for children) in a room (when doing this in a shared
environment, permission or approval needs to be sought from other occupants).
Adding up to 6 – 8 drops of an essential oil blend to vegetable oil or lotion to apply during self massage;
shoulders, arms, legs, face, abdomen.
Applying up to 3 – 4 drops of an essential oil blend to a tissue, or material wrist band, and inhaling when
required (applying essential oils to a wrist band allows the odour to linger until evaporated during daily
Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 11
* When applying essential oils for use with children, the elderly, frail or those with sensitivities or allergies, half
or less of the above amounts will be administered. Essential oils should be prepared and administered by a
responsible adult.
Promoting safe use
Essential oils are available to purchase over the counter or through mail order. However, clearly, caution should
be applied when using essential oils for personal use. Before they are applied, for example, due to their chemical
nature, the user needs to be sure of their quality in terms of authenticity and purity (cheap essential oils are often
adulterated or bulked out with inferior, less expensive chemicals or oils) and be aware of the chemical constituents
present with in individual essential oils, which may influence their therapeutic value or may interfere with
prescribed medication (it is advisable to check with the GP or Consultant, where medication is being taken). This
is especially poignant where children, the elderly or frail are concerned or where there is potential sensitivity; in
such circumstances, essential oils need to be applied in moderation (see above). For consistent use with long
term or chronic conditions or for constant use for relaxation, minimal amounts might be applied, and the oils used
varied, with periods of regular abstinence (2 – 3 weeks of use followed by a week break, for example). In acute
conditions, where specific oils are applied for brief periods only, the dose might be temporarily higher, once tested
for sensitivity or allergy.
The chemical qualities and therapeutic versatility of essential oils appear ideal when managing the complexity of
symptoms presented by ADHD. The evidence presented here suggests that essential oils may inspire significant
benefit in terms of exerting a positive psycho-emotional and physiological influence with in the recipient, especially
in terms of supporting the co-morbidities of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and sensitivity. Essential oils can
be used complementarily alongside other supporting strategies such as relaxation and mindfulness techniques,
cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.
By increasing awareness of ADHD, especially amongst other therapists, discussing its consequence and the
results of other pertinent research, this paper aims to assist those wishing to use essential oils as a
complementary method of treatment and/or management. The evidence presented here in relation to the use of
essential oils in the treatment of ADHD is anecdotal and suggestive, due to the limited research evidence so far
available. Therefore, generalization of the findings cannot be assumed. In sharing this information and her own
experience and observations, however, this author hopes to inspire others; anecdotal evidence provided by
therapists, parents, carers, support staff and teachers could begin to build a significant picture, which may assist
others wishing to use essential oils in this capacity and may encourage and serve to justify funding for further
investigation and research.
Alexander, M (2001) How theories of motivation apply to Olfactory Aromatherapy: The International Journal of
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Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 12
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Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 13
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Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 14
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Publications (8) The Role of Essential oils in the Management of ADHD: Heather Godfrey©/2001 – revised 2009 / 2011 Essential Oils: Complementary Treatment for
Attention Defitcit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) / One Clinic© 15
... Eisenberg et al (1993) conducted a national survey in the US, finding that one in three respondents had used at least one alternative therapy in the last year (9). There is a lot of researches on effect of herb on psychological and physical disorder for example: Peppermint was found to enhance memory, increased alertness, but Yalang-Yalang decreased it (10), the beneficial effect of FEWP(Free and Easy Wander Plus) for mood disorder (11), the role of essential oils in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ( 12), the use of hypericum perforatum (St Johnson's wort) to treat depression, Ginkgo biloba to delay cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's disease (13), the effect of the herb on insomnia (14), the effect of odor compounds of Mint, Ostokhodoos and Rosemary on the stress of nursing students, indicated that depression and stress of the students have been reduced (15), effect of peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome (16), the other plants with CNS-effect used (17) and etc. All of the researches were mixed of some plants and M. Pipperita is one of them. ...
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Depressive disorders are among the most important disabling diseases that have affected a large population throughout the world. This study has been carried out with the aim to determine the effect of Mentha pipperita on improving the symptoms in persons with depression as a co treatment. Methods: The effect of Mentha pipperita on depression was studied in a triple-blind random clinical trial. The applied tool was Beck questionnaire and the number of samples was 55. Collected data were analyzed using SPSS software taking the help of descriptive statistics, one-way Variance analysis and Variance analysis with repeated measurements. Results: The results of the research showed that, there was a statistical significant difference at the level of p=0.01 among under studied groups in such a way that's, Mentha pipperita reduced the symptoms of disease and improved the under research samples. Conclusion: Some plants could be used as treatment complementary in psychical disorders therefore; the necessity of more researches is felt in this regard.
... Several dementia care units have reported regular use of various aromatherapy measures (Henry 1993, Mitchell 1993, Moate 1995, Kobbe 1996, Brooker et al. 1997. Reductions in agitation have also been noted in children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects between 4 and 20% of school age children in the Western world (Godfrey 2001). It has also been found to be calming in patients with serious learning and sensory disorders (Callis 1993, Sanderson 1993. ...
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The use of aromatherapy in nursing care continues to be popular in many settings. Most of the nursing literature relates to the use of essential oils in low doses for massage or use of the oils as environmental fragrances. Information from the wider literature may add to the evidence base for use of this therapy in nursing. This paper reports a literature relating to the use of aromatherapy by nurses and critically evaluates the evidence to support this practice. Medline, CINAHL, MANTIS and EBSCO Host databases were searched for papers related to use of essential oils and/or aromatherapy. Papers were also obtained through cross-checking of reference lists. A total of 165 articles have been included in this review. Nursing papers were published since 1990 were included, but some references from 1971 onwards relating to scientific research conducted on essential oils were also included. These remain valuable as they are probably the only reference available for a specific oil or property, or show the development of knowledge in this area. Papers were excluded if they consisted only of brief case studies presented in abstract form. The review covers key professional issues and the principal areas of clinical practice where aromatherapy is used. Despite calls for more research in the 1980s and 1990s, there is still little empirical evidence to support the use of aromatherapy in nursing practice beyond enhancing relaxation. Its popularity needs to be balanced against the potential risks related to allergies, safety and inappropriate use by inexperienced users. There is great potential for more collaborative research by nurses to explore the clinical applications in greater detail and to move beyond the low dose paradigm of application of essential oils.
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Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Every parent thinks the world of their children and they anticipate the best for them. In today’s fast paced world, the ability to learn and then to use your abilities can determine one’s success in life. This is why the intake into private/international schools for locals in Malaysia is at an all-time high as parents, if they can afford it, would want their children to receive a quality education. In the competitive world that we are living in, the survival of the fittest is all too real for every one of us. The battle for students, are also to be socially popular as this can boost one’s self-esteem, with the ability of speaking well also a major boon. As a long time Toastmaster member, I can testify that oratory skills can open a lot of doors professionally and personally. I truly believe that every child on the earth has a special calling and judging someone on how well they do in their exams alone narrows the band on whether one is deemed successful or a failure. For those with Autism, they seem to have been dealt a short hand by God as they have a huge disadvantage in terms of mental ability and motor skills. Their inability to socialise, speak with good oratorically skills and communicate have put them at a losing end. However, God has a greater plan for these special children and I believe that my study (hereinafter known as my “project”) can open a door for them to fully realise their own potentials and abilities. Recently the number of children with unique/special needs have transformed into a worry/concern in several nations in the world including Malaysia which has a long history of giving special care to children with various disabilities, especially variety of treatments, singled out care-givers, massage centres now even open to the idea of holistic wellness such as Aromatherapy or even pure Essential Oils. For this project, I had the privilege and honour of studying a 7 year old boy in an ordinary pre-school. The boy, the school and the guardians wish to remain stay anonymous. I went to meet up and speak to his parents to understand the cause of his Autism and even spoke to the teachers in the pre-school who don’t teach him but “know” him and of course the care-giver. I spent several weeks on and off (for a duration of 6-8months) observing this boy and administered the Essential Oils to see the amazing development and changes in the boy. This project concentrates on the usage of 12 basic Essential Oils (blends and singles) to help in the boy’s development especially focusing on areas of his academic and social skills. At the end of my observation, I can happily say that the intervention of the Essential Oils showed very positive and heartfelt signs of improvement particularly where there were signs of strain, misery, low self-respect and fear of contact with a little more openness for conversation and people. Little by little, step upon step we could see the changes in him. The result was to some degree promising and it amazed and excited us all to see some little strides of change. I wanted to pursue this project and follow-up with the boy seeing that a little can do so much, nonetheless the parents are expatriates and are going home. They also feel that now they can work with him at a better level. I feel and now believe that the olfactory part of the body is capable, can recuperate and control what was lost. With this project, I believe that there is an alternative method to support those with special needs specifically using more of the olfactory method as a complimentary method to the already established limbic area concentration. Why Young Living (YL) Essential oils (hereinafter known as YL) amongst the other Essential oils available in the market – is due to the fragile circumstances of my understudy, I trust that the Essential Oils that I am/will be using are of the highest quality and therapeutic grade, so what else can be better than administering, YL Essential Oils that I truly 3 believe in and I can vouch for its usage in my own family, also taking in account that YL Essential Oils have a unique seed to seal process that includes 5 painstaking steps, which include setting the standard for its purity by means of meticulous and rigorous up-keeping of quality, process and hygiene.
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Introduction: Depressive disorders are among the most important disabling diseases that have affected a large population throughout the world. This study has been carried out with the aim to determine the effect of Mentha pipperita on improving the symptoms in persons with depression as a co treatment. Methods: The effect of Mentha pipperita on depression was studied in a triple-blind random clinical trial. The applied tool was Beck questionnaire and the number of samples was 55. Collected data were analyzed using SPSS software taking the help of descriptive statistics, one-way Variance analysis and Variance analysis with repeated measurements. Results: The results of the research showed that, there was a statistical significant difference at the level of p=0.01 among under studied groups in such a way that's, Mentha pipperita reduced the symptoms of disease and improved the under research samples. Conclusion: Some plants could be used as treatment complementary in psychical disorders therefore; the necessity of more researches is felt in this regard.
Aromatherapy has come a long way since its early days of introduction by the beauty profession. It is becoming increasingly organised and recognised as a profession and is moving towards statutory regulation. Part of its evolution is in parallel with the trends of increased CAM use by the general public in the UK. Important trends are at work that will further assist aromatherapy to evolve. The British government is aware of the increasing demand for CTs. The FIM provides support and discussion concerning integrating therapies such as aromatherapy. At least one in 10 physicians has an interest in CAM. Many General Practitioners are expressing an interest in aromatherapy, some are training in aromatherapy; others are referring patients to aromatherapists on a regular basis. The majority of medical schools now include introductory information to a range of therapies, including aromatherapy. Support of the increasing interest in CTs is given by the British Medical Association. Statutory regulation of aromatherapy is now a necessity and will help further inclusion into the National Health Service as well as ensuring that the qualified aromatherapist is defined in law as having a recognised degree of competence. This may help protect the aromatherapy profession with regard to the continued right of lay people to practise. Aromatherapists are now recognising the need to conduct research and give supportive evidence for their interventions. Sound research in aromatherapy is now starting to emerge as practitioners gain more knowledge and experience regarding research methods. The number of universities offering degree programmes in Complementary Medicine is increasing. Aromatherapy modules are a popular part of these programmes. The recent development of a degree in Aromatic Medicine is symbolic of the distance Anglo-Saxon aromatherapy has travelled in pursuit of increased therapeutic intervention. Tisserand described aromatherapy as being both an art and a science. Due to its origins, Anglo-Saxon aromatherapy has its roots in a more artistic approach. Now, it is experiencing a shift towards sound science. It is our belief that both aspects of this healing modality are relevant and need to be retained in order to have a balanced approach to aromatic care.
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Extrahepatic biliary atresia is a rare and highly morbid condition. When unrecognized, it progresses inexorably to liver failure and death unless liver transplantation is available. However, expeditious evaluation of the jaundiced infant that excludes other disorders and determines the biliary anatomy and function, employing nuclear, ultrasonographic, magnetic resonance, or other modalities, may lead to earlier referral for the appropriate operative intervention, the Kasai procedure. When successful, this procedure may delay or forestall the need for liver transplantation and its attendant morbidity. Improvements in the future may come from venues such as improved diagnostic techniques, determination of causes, better operative technique (including the application of robotics), and refinements in transplantation.
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A modified paired-associate learning paradigm was used to test whether odors or verbal odor labels evoked more emotional memories. Subjects were presented with emotionally positive and negative paintings (to-be-remembered items) in association with positive and negative odors and odor labels. Painting recall and associated emotional experience were tested after 48 h. Odor-evoked memories were found to be more emotional than verbally cued memories on a variety of measures. Moreover, if the cue for recall (odor or label) was hedonically congruent with the painting to be remembered, memory for original emotional experiences was enhanced. The findings are discussed within a general cognitive framework and implications for using odors to dissociate the emotional and representational aspects of memory are addressed.
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It is well established that for most people linguistic processing is primarily a left hemisphere activity, whereas recent evidence has shown that basic odor perception is more lateralized to the right hemisphere. Importantly, under certain conditions, emotional responding also shows right hemisphere laterality. Hedonic (pleasantness) assessments constitute basic level emotional responses. Given that olfaction is predominantly ipsilateral in function, it was hypothesized that odor pleasantness evaluations may be accentuated by right nostril perception and that odor naming would be superior with left nostril perception. To test this prediction we presented eight familiar neutral-mildly pleasant odors for subjects to sniff through the left and right nostrils. Subjects smelled each odor twice (once through each nostril) at two different sessions, separated by 1 week. At each session subjects provided pleasantness, arousal and naming responses to each odorant. Results revealed that odors were rated as more pleasant when sniffed through the right nostril and named more correctly when sniffed through the left. No effects for arousal were obtained. These findings are consistent with previously demonstrated neural laterality in the processing of olfaction, emotion and language, and suggest that a local and functional convergence may exist between olfaction and emotional processing.
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1) To consider study designs for evaluating how appropriately stimulant medications are prescribed to children. 2) To investigate appropriateness by seeking evidence of consensus around how stimulant management should be undertaken, collecting and reviewing evidence of actual physician practice in relation to use of stimulants, and evaluating the closeness of fit between recommended and actual practice. Electronic databases and other published and unpublished material were searched for the decade 1987-1997 to identify 1) authoritative recommendations for medical management of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 2) surveys of physician practice. Available information was analyzed qualitatively for commonalities and trends and for concordance between recommendations and practice. Despite differences in emphasis between experts, common themes were identifiable regarding prerequisites and follow-up for use of stimulants. Overall, it was rare to find physician practice in accordance with expert recommendations more than 70% of the time, suggesting that management may be suboptimal in at least 30% of children treated with medication for ADHD. Across surveys, consistent differences appear in physician practice patterns related to practice type. Management by specialist consultants approximates standards recommended by experts, while management by primary care practitioners diverges from these standards. There are grounds for concern about the quality and appropriateness of medical management for children with ADHD. The methodology used in this study holds promise for wider application, with planning and refinement. There is a need to find ways to improve care for children with ADHD provided by primary care physicians.
This article is an excerpt from Michael's new book: How Aromatherapy Works. Synthetic and Efficacious Pathways of Essential Oils in the Human Physiology. Volume I: Principal Mechanisms of Olfaction.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an early-onset, clinically heterogeneous disorder of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Family, twin, adoption, segregation analysis, and molecular genetic studies show that is has a substantial genetic component. Although their results are still tentative, molecular genetic studies suggest that three genes may increase the susceptibility to ADHD: the D4 dopamine receptor gene, the dopamine transporter gene, and the D2 dopamine receptor gene. Studies of environmental adversity have implicated pregnancy and delivery complications, marital distress, family dysfunction, and low social class. The pattern of neuropsychological deficits found in ADHD children implicate executive functions and working memory; this pattern is similar to what has been found among adults with frontal lobe damage, which suggests that the frontal cortex or regions projecting to the frontal cortex are dysfunctional in at least some ADHD children. Moreover, neuroimaging studies implicate frontosubcortical pathways in ADHD. Notably, these pathways are rich in catecholamines, which have been implicated in ADHD by the mechanism of action of stimulants--the class of drugs that effectively treats many ADHD children. Yet human studies of the catecholamine hypothesis of ADHD have produced conflicting results, perhaps due to the insensitivity of peripheral measures.
In order to assess the influence of odors on human performance and implicit memory for odors, 108 subjects completed a variety of tests in weakly scented (jasmine, lavender or odorless) rooms without having been made aware of the odor. After a 30 min interval the subjects were shown slides of different surroundings, including the room they had been in, and were requested to rate how well a set of 12 odors, including a blank, would fit to these surroundings. Half of these contexts contained visual cues related to two of the presented odors (leather and coffee). After the rating of fit the subjects had to rate the odors for pleasantness, were asked to identify the odors with their correct names and to tell where and when they had last smelled these odors. One subject remembered smelling the odor (jasmine) in the room and was discarded from the analysis of the results for the rating of fit. None of the others reported recollection of the experimental odors. The results showed that in general jasmine had a negative and lavender a positive effect on test performance. If an odor-related visual cue was present in the context, the related odor was always rated highest in fit to that context. Furthermore, the subjects working in rooms with an odor subsequently assigned this odor to the visual context of that room to a significantly higher degree than subjects working in rooms with different odors. Since none of the subjects reported that they had smelled the odor in the rooms where performance testing took place, it was concluded that the memory for these odors was implicit. Further analysis showed that such memory was only found in subjects who were unable to supply the right name for the odor. The possible consequences of this latter finding for understanding the relationship between sensory (episodic) and semantic odor memory are discussed.
Studies investigating temperament traits in humans and their biological correlates have found high levels of novelty seeking (NS) linked with dopaminergic system changes, and particularly a deficit of dopamine transporter. Harm avoidance and reward dependence, on the other hand, appeared to be associated, respectively with serotonin and noradrenaline changes. In the present study, we have investigated the dopaminergic (DA), serotonergic (5-HT), and noradrenergic (NE) functions in healthy volunteers by challenging the monoamine systems with the DA agonist bromocriptine, the 5-HT agonist D-fenfluramine, and the NE agonist clonidine, respectively. Parallel to this investigation, we examined the temperament traits of our subjects by measuring NS, harm avoidance (HA) and reward dependence (RD) using the 'Three-dimensional Personality Questionnaire' (TPQ). The aims of the study were to see whether or not the monoamine functions were correlated with temperament traits. Bromocriptine challenge induced a significant GH increase and a significant suppression of PRL. D-fenfluramine test significantly increased PRL and cortisol plasma levels and Clonidine test induced a significant rise in GH values. NS scores showed a significant direct correlation with brom-stimulated GH values (r=0.426, P<0.05) and a significant inverse correlation with brom-inhibited PRL values (r=-0.498, P<0.01). HA scores correlated significantly with D-fen-stimulated PRL and CORT AUCs, (PRL: r=0.424, P<0.05; CORT: r=0. 595, P<0.005). RD scores correlated positively with clon-stimulated GH values (r=0.55; F=8.6; P<0.01) and negatively with brom-inhibited-PRL AUCs (r=-0.439, P<0.05). Our data support Cloninger theory concerning the biological correlates of temperamental traits, and evidence the link between the neuroendocrine responses to dynamic challenges and stable temperament features.
An epidemiological study of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suggests that the prevalence may be two to three times higher than the figure of 3-5% often cited. In addition, the data suggest that both underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis occur frequently. Rodent animal models of ADHD, like the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR) and other rat models such as those with chemical and radiation-induced brain lesions and cerebellar stunting, and the Coloboma mouse model exhibit clear similarities with several aspects of the human disorder and should prove useful in studying specific traits. Operant behavioral tasks that model learning, short-term memory and simple discriminations are sensitive to ADHD and methylphenidate has been shown to normalize ADHD performance in a short-term memory task. Recent findings challenge not only the current postulate that response inhibition is a unique deficit in ADHD, but also the concepts of ADHD and its treatment, which presume intact perceptual abilities. Time perception deficits may account, in part, for the excessive variability in motor response times on speeded reaction time tasks, motor control problems and motor clumsiness associated with ADHD. The Multimodality Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA) provided data suggesting that pharmacological interventions that included systematic and frequent follow-up with parents and teachers, with or without psychosocial interventions, are superior to psychosocial interventions or standard community care alone. Additionally, the MTA was one of the first studies to demonstrate benefits of multimodal and pharmacological interventions lasting longer than 1 year. Imaging studies have demonstrated differences in brain areas in children with ADHD: anterior corpus callosum, right anterior white matter, and cerebellar volumes are all decreased in children with ADHD and there is less brain asymmetry in ADHD subjects. Additionally, functional imaging studies, coupled with pharmacological manipulations, suggest decreased blood flow and energy utilization in prefrontal cortex and striatum and the dysregulation of catecholamine systems in persons with ADHD.