7 Ways To Naturally Treat ADHD
Let’s say you’ve set aside a few hours to get some things done — could be to put together a report for work, compose a toast for a friend’s wedding or maybe write an article on ADHD. But as soon as you sit down everything else (except the task at hand) seems eminent. You suddenly realize that a particular bill hasn’t been paid yet, so you get that done. The barking dogs outside are a distraction, so you need to drown them out, but what music are you in the mood for? Then, without realizing it you’ve spent almost an hour trying to find the “right” playlist on YouTube — and it continues until, maybe, you finally get the job done.
If a person has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, this is quite possibly a frequent occurrence. For people with ADHD, relatively simple tasks can feel difficult — and children and adults may find it challenging to complete tasks in an orderly manner. Moreover, besides being more restless, impulsivity is another factor.
According to Medical News Today, health experts conclude that ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder that starts during childhood. However, it doesn’t only affect children — people of all ages can suffer from ADHD.
Health care professionals tend to use the following terms when describing a child (or an adult) who is overactive and has difficulty concentrating — attention deficit, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hyperkinetic disorder, and hyperactivity.
Medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are frequently prescribed to help people with ADHD and increase their ability to focus, improve their grades, and feel better about themselves. But these medications are psychostimulants with many potential side effects that include insomnia, headaches, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, heart problems and depression.
Additionally, in 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about ADHD medication side effects such as stunted growth and other psychiatric problems like mood swings and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health are reporting that between three and five young children in every 100 have some kind of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is 3 to 5 percent of pre-schoolers having difficulties focusing, acting on impulse or not being able to sit still for seconds at a time. Today, 6.4 million children ages four to seven have been diagnosed with ADHD — and 61 percent of American children are currently being treated for ADHD with medication.
Many parents of children with ADHD (rightly) worry that pharmaceutical drugs may do more harm than good. However, there are actually natural treatments that can help to mitigate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. And though the below options are mostly framed by the case of a child, they are also applicable to teens and adults.
Start a Rigid Routine
Children with ADHD need to have some guidance and boundaries in their day-to-day life. If they are allowed to do whatever they want, then it will be difficult to settle them down when the time comes. Routines, however, can help keep children with ADHD stay focused and prepared for the rigors of each day. Start a morning exercise routine. Set aside a specific time to do homework or other necessary tasks. Make sure they get relaxation at the same time each day and eat on a regular schedule. Maintaining a rigid routine like this can help balance a child with ADHD so that they aren’t looking for new, more exciting things to keep their attention.
Restrict Electronic Access
This tip sort of piggybacks off of tip number one. Make sure there’s time in each day set aside for using electronics like television, video games, and computers. At the same time, be sure to provide strict guidelines for how long your child can use these electronics and when they can use them. Electronics are one of the major distractors for children with ADHD, and limiting their exposure to them can work wonders.
If you want to avoid standard medications, then natural, herbal medicines are a great alternative. Many different herbs are designed to soothe the nervous system and reduce hyperactivity, stress, and anxiety. Chamomile, passion flower, Valerian, lemon balm, and others have all proven effective at mitigating hyperactivity in children with ADHD. These natural medicines can also be used to help your children get to sleep on time. Be sure that you use the right dosage for children, which is generally about a quarter or a half of the standard adult dose.
Note, however, that supplementing without a doctor’s oversight can be dangerous, so seek the advice of a doctor or dietician first.
Monitor Their Diet
Preservatives and sugars in food have been shown to increase hyperactivity, especially in children with ADHD. It’s important for your child to receive a balanced and healthy diet that promotes the production of valuable amino acids, Vitamin B, and magnesium in their bodies. Many children with ADHD have tested low for these necessary nutrients. Make sure that your child’s diet includes these three nutrients, even if you have to supply them with supplements.
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic notes that certain food colorings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children. Therefore, try to avoid foods with these colorings and preservatives: sodium benzoate, FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow), D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), and FD&C Red No. 40 (allura red).
Try EEG Biofeedback
Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback is a type of neurotherapy that measures brain waves. A 2011 study suggested that EEG training was a promising treatment for ADHD.
During a typical session, a child may play a special video game. They’ll be given a task to concentrate on, such as “keep the plane flying.” If they’re distracted, the plane will start to dive or the screen will go dark. Over time, the child learns new focusing techniques, and begins to identify and correct their symptoms.
Most people think that a massage is relaxing. For those with ADHD, it may be even more beneficial. A 2003 study published in Adolescence examined the effects of massage on mood and behavior. Students with ADHD who received massage therapy for 20 minutes twice a week over the course of a month experienced improved short-term mood and longer-term classroom behavior.
Yoga and Tai Chi
Studies indicate that yoga may be helpful for those with ADHD. Research published in 2004 reported significant improvements in hyperactivity, anxiety, and social problems in boys with ADHD who practiced yoga regularly.
Similarly, some early studies suggest that tai chi may also help improve ADHD symptoms. In 2001, researchers found that adolescents with ADHD displayed less anxiety, daydreaming, hyperactivity, and inappropriate emotions when they participated in tai chi classes twice a week for five weeks.
ADHD is not an easy disorder to deal with for both the patients and their family. But before reaching for chemical-laden prescription drugs that could negatively affect your child’s life indefinitely — why not try a natural alternative with their optimal health being the primary focus?