If your child suffers from ADHD, you probably already know the negative impact this condition can have on development, relationships and academic performance. The most common treatment is stimulant drugs, as they have a lot of research behind them. They can be effective for sure, but many parents find they leave something to be desired, and are interested in pursuing complementary treatments for maximum symptom control. Here are just a few strategies that may be worth experimenting with.
Getting Out in Nature
Getting outside is a common prescription for addressing many ills, and with good reason. It seems to help a lot, even if we are not exactly sure how. Research has shown that children with ADHD who regularly get outdoors in areas with lots of greenery have milder symptoms than children who primarily play inside or ‘manufactured’ outdoor environment. So, make sure your child gets plenty of time in open, outdoor green space.
The link between ADHD and diet can be a bit of a controversial one. Some research suggests certain types of ingredients in food, such as preservatives and food coloring, are linked to ADHD symptoms. But, conclusions about diet and ADHD are not so foregone, any ‘official’ diet has been recommended, like in the case of a condition such as diabetes.
But, this doesn’t mean that making certain changes won’t help. Experimenting with the recommended elimination diet for ADHD can be time-consuming but it’s certainly worth a shot. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help ease symptoms, as these fats are highly concentrated in the brain—they comprise about 8 percent of this vital organ. Good sources include walnuts, salmon, avocado, flax seed and hemp seed. Fish oil supplements may also help, but you should always talk to your doctor before giving a child any sort of supplement.
Learning Behavioral Interventions
If ADHD symptoms can’t be completely eliminated, your child will greatly benefit from learning techniques that can help him stay on track. For optimal benefit, look into working with ADHD counselors specifically. They have special training in this condition, have lots of experience working with other children and can be a very valuable resource for a parent. As an added bonus, you child will get the opportunity to discuss his feelings and any issues he may be dealing with. ADHD increases the risk of developing a host of problems in adult life, and any assistance in developing confidence, self-esteem, coping skills and a healthy mindset are crucial.
While massage is often seen as an indulgent luxury, it offers a host of health benefits. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one small study found that 15 minutes of massage for 10 consecutive school days significantly improved concentration in behavior in teenage boys with ADHD, when compared to progressive muscle relaxation undertaken for the same amount of time.
In a time where kids are spending more and more time staring into various glowing rectangles, physical activity is on the decline. While it is important for a host of reasons, getting proper exercise is a particularly important piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing ADHD symptoms. Exercises increases the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine—not only do these chemicals boost mood, they heighten attention and focus.
Getting Proper Sleep
Even someone with a ‘normal’ brain knows the impact of poor quality sleep on mental functioning and behavior. Throw ADHD into the mix, and you are looking at a real problem. If your child is not getting enough quality sleep, not only will it intensify his symptoms, it makes them harder to treat. This means sleep deprivation will reduce the effectiveness of any measure. If this is an issue with your child, it is definitely something not to be overlooked.
What natural methods do you utilize to address ADHD?
These are just a few examples of natural strategies. It is important to remember that different interventions work for different people, and this is especially true of dietary changes and natural supplements. You might have to experiment with different strategies to find the best combo of treatments for your child. Remember to be patient during the process. And always speak with your doctor before making significant changes to your child’s behavior.