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Homeopathy is a technique of treating medical conditions with an extremely diluted preparation of a natural substance. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), more commonly termed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a condition that affects the concentration and attention of the person who suffers from it. Common medical treatments for ADD include medications like stimulants, but these, like all medicines, carry a risk of side effects. Homeopathy for ADD, on the other hand, is not as risky from a side effects perspective, but can fail to control the symptoms of the condition in the same way as medication can. As of 2011, very little evidence shows that homeopathy for ADD is useful, whereas much more evidence indicates that it has no useful effect.
Homeopathic remedies are based on the concept that a substance that produces a particular effect on a human can be used to treat identical symptoms of disease. This concept is called "like cures like" and involves the extreme dilution of a natural substance in plenty of water. Homeopaths typically choose a very dilute remedy for patients suffering severe symptoms. For example, a 200C remedy is a dilution of one part substance in 100 with water, repeated 200 times. Scientists say that the resultant remedy is merely water, with a few molecules, or no molecules at all, of the original substance.
A review of the available studies, as of 2009, by the Cochrane Library, which is a institution focused on bringing together health information, stated that homeopathy for ADD is not useful at helping children with the condition. As such, homeopathy does not have the benefits that treatments like medication have, despite the possibility of side effects. Several small studies, of about 100 children or less, did indicate that the remedies were somewhat useful, but these positive results are contrasted with other studies that indicate that the technique is useless.
The extreme dilution of a remedy in homeopathy for ADD, and the resultant concentration, or lack thereof, of original ingredient, makes the remedy safe for all to use. This safety profile of a homeopathic remedy allow it to be used in children, the elderly, and pregnant women, although some remedies may not be processed in the true homeopathic way; in these cases, caution should be observed when taking any herbal or alternative treatment. Although homeopathy for ADD does not produce any direct side effects, a major risk to the use of these remedies is that the child's behavior may be uncontrolled, or become worse, while taking the remedy. Homeopaths generally choose a remedy based on the characteristic behavior of the child, so a variety of remedies may be employed, but examples include Chamomilla and Nux vomica.