As the mother of a child with ADHD, life with ADHD presents many challenges. However, the struggles that my family and millions of other ADHD families face can, using the steps listed below, be overcome.
My family’s journey began when my son was just 3 years old. Behavioral issues began to surface on a regular basis, both at home and in his pre-school class.
As the school year progressed, his symptoms, particularly his extreme hyperactivity, became not only a source of dismay for his teachers but also a significant safety risk.
Like so many children diagnosed with ADHD, my son has co-existing conditions (learning disorders), which makes life with ADHD more complicated. His kindness and love of life was often overshadowed by his constant activity and difficulty adapting to new environments.
Today he is an honor student and has learned to channel his boundless energy. One thing I’m constantly asked is “How did you do it?” Here’s the blueprint that worked for him.
Typically the very first thing that follows an ADHD diagnosis is a prescription for stimulant medication. He tried them all, but was mostly prescribed Adderall and Ritalin.
My son disliked them. He reported that they made him nervous and agitated, and made him feel like "someone else." He frequently had an upset stomach and trouble sleeping. He stated that while the meds “kind of” helped him focus, the resulting side effects negated any potential benefits. Since the medications were not working, we were forced to tryother options.
They are all essentially brain and mood boosters that help kids and adults remain calm and improve one's ability to focus but without the nasty side effects of stimulants which can include headaches, nausea, insomnia, etc.
My son responds best to Focus Formula, but your mileage may vary. You have to find the one that works best for you.
It’s easy for an active family to overlook the importance of diet in ADHD treatment. Like many households, ours sometimes errs on the side of convenience, but we’ve learned that junk food comes with consequences.
We steer clear of dyes and artificial flavoring as much as we can and try to keep foods that are nutrient-rich on hand. When processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and wheat (gluten) was eliminated from his diet, my son's behavior improved. He reported greater mental clarity and felt healthier overall.
Beyond eating right, studies have indicated that dietary supplements, such as fish oils are great brain boosters and may alleviate AHDH related symptoms. Recently, we incorporated a fish oil supplement into our diet. The result has been increased stability and focus.
And by exercise, I mean exercise for both the body and mind. For my son, in particular, learning to recognize how his body and brain felt when he became over-stimulated or unfocused was a challenge. He fought this challenge head-on, with a little help from an occupational therapist. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques have become part of his coping strategy.
Using progressive relaxation techniques, in which an individual focuses on tightening then relaxing each area of the body one step at a time, releases tension. This helped my son to regain control whenever he felt like he was becoming overwhelmed or overstimulated. Focusing on one's breath for a few minutes does wonders to help become centered when the mind starts to wander.
Incorporating martial arts and yoga into our routine has also helped him maintain control. Physical activity is the best outlet for unchanneled energy and martial arts teaches focus and discipline.
Our family recently discovered the power of essential oils to help ease ADHD symptoms. Long heralded for their natural ability to provide relief for everything from stomach pain to anxiety, essential oils are widely gaining support for their role in managing ADHD. Professionals across the country utilize personalized formulations designed to improve focus and calm hyperactivity.
In our case, we use the calming properties of lavender oil applied to the skin. When used with a diffuser, the oils provide a similar effect.
Parents need help dealing with behavioral problems such as meltdowns, tantrums, oppositional defiance, mood swings, etc. that make life with ADHD so challenging.
Check your local community mental health provider for classes, training, and support groups.
There are many ways to treat ADHD, and I am constantly learning and trying new methods as the latest research becomes available.
For us, stimulant medications were not the answer. We soon began to incorporate natural solutions, along with traditional therapies. Though our search for the right mix of complimentary therapies is not yet over, our ongoing process of trial and error has yielded many helpful strategies.
Question For Readers: Have you discovered any methods or techniques that make life with ADHD easier? Please let us know by using the Contact Form link. Through this shared knowledge we can help many who suffer from ADHD.