I have been experimenting with natural remedies for ADHD ever since my son was diagnosed.
Like most children first diagnosed with ADHD, my son was prescribed stimulant medications.
Over time we tried them all, but he spent the most time taking Ritalin and Adderall.
The problem was that these medications tended to cause some nasty side effects including upset stomach, headaches, insomnia; they sometimes made my son anxious. He lost of lot of weight due to lack of appetite; he looked emaciated.
We gave the meds sufficient time to work their way into his system so he could develop some tolerance, we dispensed them properly, but the side effects remained. Even worse, they were not that affective in reducing his ADHD symptoms. Whenever we told the prescribing psychiatrist the meds were not working the psychiatrist simply prescribed yet another stimulant medication.
My son was miserable and we decided that this was no way to live, so we began to examine the alternatives.
Over the years tremendous improvements have occurred in the field of ADHD treatment, particularly when it comes to understanding the brain and how it regulates mood and behavior.
We now know that plants and herbs such as gingko biloba, gotu kola, and chamomile help improve focus, improve mood, calm excited brains, etc. They are essentially brain and mood enhancers that have been used in traditional and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Thankfully there are now supplements specifically made with these ingredients such as Focus Formula, Brightspark, Synaptol, Listol and Attend. By conveniently combining all of the best herbal medicines, these supplements saved me the trouble of buying all of them separately.
I tried them all with my son, and they all reduced his ADHD symptoms with varying degrees of success. He preferred Focus Formula because it proved best at improving his ability to focus.
Dietary supplementation may also help to reduce your child’s ADHD symptoms. Dietary supplements which boost brain activity may be especially helpful. These include:
Some parents find that as well as dietary supplements, certain herbs may also help relieve symptoms of ADHD.
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils due to its many beneficial health properties. Its can help calm mood, reduce anxiety, and soothe muscles - a great remedy for hyperactivity. It is also used to treat a variety of skin conditions and is a natural insect repellent.
You can apply directly to the skin via a relaxing message, or use an aromatherapy diffuser.
Modifying your child’s diet may help alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD. Some studies suggest that certain food colorings and preservatives can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity. Food additives that you wish to avoid include:
Although there is currently no definitive study linking ADHD and sugars, it is my anecdotal experience (and many other parents agree) that reducing intake of simple sugars and syrup can reduce hyperactivity significantly.
Exercise has many benefits for the mind and the body, and this is also the case for children with ADHD. Exercise can help to improve the symptoms of ADHD, such as mood swings and anxiety.
Though pretty much any exercise is helpful, tai chi, chi gong or yoga may be the most beneficial because they incorporate slow breathing, body awareness, and concentration into all aspects of the exercise. Another benefit of these exercises is they can be done just about anywhere. Several studies have shown that exercising outdoors, particularly in green spaces, has many health benefits.
Meditation and practicing mindfulness can help children with ADHD learn to focus their attention more easily. Mindfulness can be taught through the use of creative visualization and progressive relaxation techniques, where your child learns to relax and focus while listening to a vivid description of a pleasant and soothing scene, or while listening to relaxing music and simultaneously looking at a calming picture.
Biofeedback and neurofeedback training can help your child to learn to make his/her brain more active when appropriate, such when working on lessons or homework. During a biofeedback session, your physician will attach a series of sensors to your child’s body then will ask your child to concentrate on certain tasks. The sensors will enable the doctor to monitor your child’s physical reactions to the stimulus. Your child can also monitor their own brain wave patterns at the same time.
Over time, as you child becomes accustomed to seeing their brain activity as they focus on a particular ask, they can learn to control it more efficiently. Therapy session like this can help children with ADHD to learn which methods can help them most. Once they are no longer attached to the sensors, they can use the newly learned strategies to help them concentrate and improve their learning and control.
Although it is not completely clear why, studies have shown that massage may be a good therapy for reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Studies have shown that massage can be beneficial in a number of ways including:
Remember, if you try something that isn't working, there are lots of other options to try.
Will all of these options work for everyone? Probably not, but I bet that you will find one or most likely some combination of the treatments listed on this page that will help relieve your child's ADHD symptoms.
If I would have given up when I was most frustrated I would have been unable to enjoy the great relationship with my son that I enjoy today. Keep fighting; the end result is worth it!