The Natural Remedies for ADHD treatment
Finding the right treatment for ADHD is definitely important to properly manage the condition. There are actually a couple of treatment choices available to address it.
♦These include medications, behavioral treatments and intervention therapy sessions for the individual affected with ADHD and the family members.
However, if the side-effects of medications and high cost of therapy sessions are a major concern, there are actually a couple of natural remedies for ADHD that are available and have shown to be as equally effective as the conventional treatments.
The Conventional Treatments for ADD/ ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a behavioral disorder that is commonly associated with young children typically described with symptoms of either hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness. However, this condition can also continue on into adulthood.
There is no known clinical cure for ADHD or ADD, but there are treatments that are available to manage it. A combination of both medication and behavioral treatments has proven to yield the most effective result for individuals who are affected with the condition.
Medications and its Cons
For medication treatments, drug types include stimulants and non-stimulants. Some prescription medications used to treat depression have also shown to be effective as a treatment.
Stimulants, like methylphenidate, its derivatives and amphetamine, are the most commonly used for ADHD and helps to reduce interruptive behavior, fidgeting, regulate impulsive behavior and improve attention span and focus. This is because it increases the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that transmit signals between the nerves.
Non-stimulants, on the other hand, are usually the first choice of medication treatment, as it has a longer lasting effect and does not cause agitation usually associated with stimulants. This includes the FDA-approved drugs Strattera, Intuniv and Kapvay. It works by improving neurotransmitters that reduce distractibility and improve attention span, among others.
But while proven to work for both adults and children with ADHD, it also causes serious potential side effects. These include:
- Sleep problems
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
Stimulants have also been known to result in allergic reactions. Particularly, it is not recommended for adults who have a history of mental health problems, as it can be habit forming if not taken or monitored as prescribed by the doctor. Some non-stimulant medications have also been linked with jaundice, liver problems, increased suicidal thinking, slowed growth in children and priapism in males.
Behavioral Therapy and its Cons
On the hand, behavioral therapy is used as a complementary treatment for medications. It helps the affected individuals with their thinking and coping patterns, learn alternative ways to handle emotions and control their anger and aggression.
Similarly, this treatment can also help other family members to better handle the destructive behaviors and develop techniques to cope and improve the behavior.
But, a per session treatment can cost on an average $150. Some full-blown programs can run between $2,000 and $6,000. This cost is certainly an expensive option and can definitely put a dent on your pocket.
The Natural Remedies for ADD/ ADHD
These disadvantages can certainly be discouraging for some of you. But this should not stop you, as there are natural alternatives that do not have serious health risks and will not deplete your resources.
You can start off by making changes in food choices. It is suggested that certain food additives can have an effect and can worsen hyperactivity. Preservatives, like sodium benzoate, food colorings and MSG should be best avoided. This can help lessen disruptive behavior and will allow individuals to focus on eating healthier choices.
It is also recommended that food allergens should be avoided. You may consult this with your allergy doctor to determine which food type should be avoided. In addition, the intake of sugar and processed foods should also be lessened.
Herbs that help calm, soothe and boost the nervous system can be taken safely as teas or tinctures. Excellent choices are lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, hops and St. John’s Wort.
This can aid in relaxing hyperactivity and restlessness that is often an apparent symptom for Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive type. Just take note that, in general, children should only take one-fourth to one-half of the dose of an adult.
There are studies that indicate that vitamin and nutritional supplementation can help manage the symptoms of ADHD. It has been said that certain vitamins can help adults with ADD or ADHD in improving concentration and reducing hyperactivity.
Essential Fatty Acids, which include EPA, DHA and GLA, are vital nutrients for learning development and in improving focus, developing positive mood, enhancing memory and in the promotion of overall brain function.
These are known to be food for the brain. Excellent food sources for essential fatty acids include salmon, herring, mackerel, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, broccoli, spinach, olive oil, eggs and whole grain food.
There are also several observations that children with ADHD symptoms have shown nutrient deficiencies, which include zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D and magnesium.
So, it is best that these essential vitamins be incorporated into their diet. Magnesium can help manage irritability, decreased attention span and mental confusion.
Vitamin B6, on the other hand, helps regulate the activity of brain chemicals that affect ADHD, which includes serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. While zinc has been linked to slightly improve behavior and regulate brain chemicals, fatty acids and melatonin, all of which are related to behavior.
There are recommended dosing guidelines for each of these nutrients. However, it is best that a consultation with a physician should be made to provide the most effective response according to the individual’s supplementation needs.
Probiotics are not just healthy for your tummies; it has also been linked to have an effect in managing the symptoms of ADHD.
Firstly, probiotics help the proliferation of good bacteria that help in the proper absorption of nutrients.
Secondly, it helps alleviate the abdominal pain that is commonly experienced by individuals with ADD. Since most also have sensory processing disorder, this can be unbearable for some, which only heightens irritability and inattentiveness.
While yogurt and cultured milk are the most popular sources, other food that have probiotics include raw, unpasteurized and unheated sauerkraut, fermented soybeans and certain soft cheeses, like Cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss and Gouda.
You might also want to indulge in oatmeal with bananas, pistachios and red wine, as these are excellent sources of prebiotics. Prebiotics are complex sugars that feed probiotics that are already in the digestive system. This promotes good gut health and helps prevent abdominal pain.
We often hear of herbs that contain medicinal properties that help promote healing of the body. While herbal remedies have been known to produce incredible results, some appear to get more attention as natural remedies for ADD.
- Gingko Biloba – used to improve memory and mental sharpness. It increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain to enhance the nervous system.
- Brahmi – is also known as water hyssop. It has long been used to improve mental function and memory. Several studies have resulted that taking brahmi showed improvements in retaining new information among individuals affected with ADHD/ ADD.
- Gotu Kola – contains essential B Vitamins that are needed for healthy brain function. It helps reduce anxiety levels and enhances mental clarity.
- Green Oats – helps to calm nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, helps boost attention and concentration and has been shown to help improve cognitive performance.
- Ginseng – is a popular herbal remedy that is known to stimulate brain function and increase energy. The red ginseng variety can help addressing anxiety and stress, which have been linked in improving personality and social functioning.
It should be noted however that some herbal remedies may have an interaction with other medications and also have minor side effects. A consultation with the physician should be done before administering herbal remedies as a treatment of choice.
Massage and other relaxation techniques
Natural remedies do not only mean diet and oral supplementation. Activities that nurture the mind to relax have also been found to help ADHD symptoms.
A 2003 study, which examined the effects of massage on mood and behavior, have shown that students with ADHD who received a 20-minute massage twice a week for a period of one month has shown improvement in short-term mood and longer-term classroom behavior.
It helps improve the mood and reduces hyperactive symptoms. Similarly, calming activities, like yoga and tai chi, can help improve anxiety and hyperactivity.
Biofeedback is a safe and non-invasive treatment that measures the electrical activity of the brain using a device called electroencephalograph or EEG. This is usually performed with the individual sitting on a chair of a screen.
Electrodes are attached on the scalp and connected to a laptop or computer that measures the rhythmic patterns of the brain, known as alpha, theta and beta waves, as certain images are shown.
The alpha waves are seen when the person is in the relaxed state, beta waves when one is concentrating, thinking or solving problems and theta waves occur during thoughtless, restless over activity.
Biofeedback helps train and condition the brain to associate desirable brain wave patterns with pleasant images or sounds.
However, biofeedback takes about 40 sessions or more to yield significant improvements. In addition, it costs about $100 or more per session, which makes it an expensive natural remedy option.
When you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you would make it a point to make all the best things that you can do to help treat the symptoms of the condition.
It is worthy to note that those who receive the appropriate treatments are able to learn to control and manage the symptoms well into adulthood.
There is no one ultimate treatment for ADHD, a combination of the conventional treatments and natural remedies can sometimes even yield the most significant results. This is also reinforced when other family members undergo therapy sessions themselves to help them understand and deal with the symptoms displayed by those affected with ADD.