Natural Treatments for ADHD
By Divya Shree
Edited by Stephanie Dawson
Reviewed by Nima Shei MD
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. As per statistics, around 11 million prescriptions of Ritalin, a common drug used to treat ADHD, are given every year. Between 2003 and 2007 the documented cases of ADHD have gone up 22%. Treating this disorder with drugs might have side effects and may not be effective. There are some alternative treatments to this disorder which are completely natural and do not have any side effects. These treatments are long-lasting and easy to perform. Mentioned below is a list of some such treatments:
1. Avoid GMOs, artificial preservatives and food coloring
A study conducted by Mayo Clinic suggests that preservatives and artificial food coloring are partially responsible for this disorder. These preservatives lead to forgetfulness, hyperactivity, and attention span difficulties. The words to look out for are sodium benzoate, sunset yellow, tartrazine, allura red, and quinoline yellow. If you are not sure ask someone.
2. Fish oil
A study conducted at Oxford University in England found that fish oil can help in overcoming the symptoms of ADHD. Children that were tested in the study were given supplements made of fish oil which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This was done over a period of 3 months and the outcome was improved behavior, better spelling, and better comprehension. It was also found that fish oil contains some polyunsaturated fats that sharpen the memory and help improve attention span.
3. Bedtime massage
A bedtime massage with essential oils has proved to be relaxing for children with ADHD. Olive oil is highly recommended for this massage. Pour some oil on your palms and gently rub the skin of your child from head to toe. If you have time constraints or its not possible for you to cover the entire body just rubbing the feet will be good enough. Let the skin soak the oil in and wipe off any residue with a towel. This will help the child get a good night’s sleep which will help with symptoms of ADHD.
4. Technology time-out
Life was often less complicated when Apples and Blackberrys were just fruits. The children of 21st century have grown up with texts and emails. Spending considerable amount of time in front of the glowing screens of mobiles and laptops is to a great extent responsible for increases in cases of ADHD. Prolonged use of electrical gadgets emits electromagnetic radiation at alarming levels. Exposure to this radiation leads to dizziness, fatigue, and lack of focus. Encourage the child to reduce time with these gadgets and indulge in more physical activities like outdoor games or workouts.
5. Yoga and tai chi
Various studies conducted around the globe have shown that regular yoga practice can help overcome problems like anxiety, social imbalance, and hyperactivity especially in boys. Similarly tai chi has shown significant reduction in symptoms of ADHD including daydreaming and abnormal emotions. Participating in yoga and tai chi twice a week for 5 weeks can bring evident improvements in the child’s attentiveness.
6. EEG biofeedback
EEG stands for electroencephalographic biofeedback. This may sound like some complicated medical therapy however it is quite basic. In this the child’s brain waves are analyzed by giving the child basic and fun tasks to do such as playing a video game that requires concentration. The task may include driving the car on the road at a consistent speed. If the speed goes down, the screen will go black or something like this. This automatically increases the focus of the child in a fun way and they learn new and more advanced focusing techniques.
Maintaining a healthy diet for the child is essential for all problems. Consider a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Remember foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are important for focus. The diet should include all the nutrients including proteins, healthy carbs, saturated fats, and minerals. If your child cannot sit still for a full meal consider healthy finger foods so they can eat on the run, several small meals a day may be more effective and easier on both of you than 3 large ones.
Please note that all the information here are for informational purposes, and you should always consult with your healthcare professional for your personal health.