ADHD And Medications
Parents and guardians of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have been used to the usual therapies that are widely accepted and recommended by doctors and occupational therapists. These are behavioral therapy and medications. As the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased through the years, so has the number of drugs that have been prescribed for them. Medications such as Adderall (a stimulant) and atomoxetine (a non-stimulant) are effective in helping ADHD children focus and ignore distractions, but they also pose some dangerous side effects like loss of appetite, mood changes, heart problems, suicide ideations, and sleep problems.
Consequently, researchers have come up with a few essential alternative therapies that are capable of controlling some ADHD symptoms like difficulty focusing, habitual interrupting, and problems organizing. Here are some of the therapies and measures that parents and guardians can utilize.
- Changes in their diet. Although there has been no proof that sugar causes ADHD, it does show that children’s level of activity increases when they take too many carbohydrates and refined sugar. This is because sugar quickly penetrates the bloodstream, causing their blood sugar to rise suddenly, which manifests as hyperactivity due to an adrenaline rush.
A fiber-rich diet composed of beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables is what nutritionists suggest. The Feingold diet, named after its author, allergist Ben Feingold, was tested a few years ago on children with ADHD. This diet prohibits children to eat food with artificial colors or dyes and preservatives. Some parents who have tried it have seen some significant decrease in the activity level of their children.
“The idea that food may be a factor in ADHD symptoms lingers despite the scepticism of psychiatrists and the food industry, and the lived experience of many parents contradicts the view that changes in diet cannot reduce ADHD symptoms,” writes Marilyn Wedge Ph.D.
- Exposure to Nature. A study performed by the researchers at the New York State College of Human Ecology proved that when children were exposed to both indoor and outdoor plants, green spaces and other forms of nature, they showed “profound differences” in their concentration and how they cope with stress. They were able to increase their attention span and showed a significant decrease in their stress levels. Bringing your children to the park or somewhere fresh and green for at least 20 minutes is greatly beneficial.
- Omega-3 Supplementation. Children with ADHD are encouraged to eat fish that contains high levels of Omega-3, which can be found in sardines, tuna, and other fatty fish. A study revealed that this helps increase children’s mental focus and attention, as Omega-3 functions to help neurotransmitters communicate with each other. It has been found that these children have low levels of Omega compared to normal ones. However, parents should consult their pediatricians before initiating supplementation, as not all ADHD kids have lowered Omega levels.
“Children diagnosed with ADHD have lower plasma concentrations of certain essential fatty acids the so-called ‘omega-3’ fatty acids compared to the average population suggesting that symptoms of ADHD may be related to dietary deficiencies of these naturally occurring molecules,” writes James Lake, MD.
- As exercise benefits normal adults and kids, so does it greatly provide a lot of advantages for those with ADHD. Because they are low in brain chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, physical activity helps them by increasing these brain chemicals and in turn improving their mood, focus, and overall function. They are also encouraged to play kid games – because they are kids and they deserve all the fun in the world. Let them climb trees, run and play with other children, or perhaps walk their dog.
“Exercise increases chemicals in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factors. These neurotransmitters are crucially involved in learning and memory. Some studies have suggested that people with ADHD have a shortage of these nurturing chemicals,” writes Marwa Azab Ph.D.
Parents and guardians are surely eager to try these alternative treatments right away, and they should. However, they are advised to consult with their doctor or specialist before trying out these strategies. Each year, new discoveries arise which aim to help ADHD children cope better with their difficulties. You have only to read about them in detail, discuss further with mental and medical health professionals, and then decide whether or not these therapies are beneficial to your children.