Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is increasingly diagnosed in children. The official figures estimate that 3 – 5% of children have ADHD but experts believe the true figure is as high as 10%.
Although there are no definite clinical tests to arrive at this diagnosis, doctors are now too eager to place children on ADHD drugs after short consultations.
The result is that ADHD drugs are now handed out like candies to more children.
There are a number of proposed causes for ADHD including diet (especially sugar and gluten). However, the conventional ADHD medications do no address these root causes. Instead, these drugs treat the symptoms of the disorder.
Besides simply treating the symptoms, ADHD drugs are powerful stimulants. Popular ones such as Adderall and Ritalin are based on amphetamine, a compound that acts on the central nervous system much like opiates.
Therefore, there is a clear risk that ADHD drugs may rewire the brain, cultivate addiction or dependence and cause irreparable damage to the rapidly developing brains of these children. With such high risks of ADHD medications, it is no wonder that there are more parents who are seeking other ways besides drugs to help their ADHD kids cope better with their conditions.
Herbs and other natural solutions such as Ayurveda remedies can also be as effective as ADHD medications. These natural herbs are also well-tolerated and cause very few side effects. However, they still qualify as drug solutions.
Before resorting to drugs and herbal remedies, there are other non-pharmaceutical solutions to pursue.
In some cases, these are enough to properly control ADHD symptoms and the need for stimulant drugs may be avoided entirely.
Discussed below are the three most effective ways to get rid of ADHD without drugs.
By supplements, this article refers to vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds which are micronutrients needed for the optimal functioning of the central nervous system.
Quite a number of diagnosed ADHD cases are caused by nutritional imbalances. Such imbalances are not the kind that are due to any of the major food groups and whose manifestations are easily observed. Instead, low levels of certain vitamins and minerals can affect the functioning of the brain enough to cause the set of symptoms that qualify as ADHD.
The most important nutritional supplements in the treatment of ADHD are B vitamins, iron, zinc, GABA and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil.
The B vitamins are essential cofactors in the syntheses of a long list of enzymes, neurotransmitters and hormones in the body. When the body is deficient of one or more of these vitamins, the disruption in neurotransmitter and neurohormone production can reduce attention span and mental focus, trigger hyperactivity and set off the other symptoms of ADHD.
Therefore, correcting B vitamin deficiencies can be all that is required to “cure” ADHD.
Besides the B vitamins, other ADHD vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E can also provide significant benefits for people living with ADHD.
Iron and zinc can help get rid of ADHD by correcting mineral deficiencies. For example, iron deficiency leads to increased absorption of heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury. Since these metals can damage the nerves when they accumulate in the central nervous system, they can cause certain developmental disorders such as ADHD.
Low iron levels also mean low dopamine levels and given the importance of dopamine to mood and behavior, iron supplementation can improve the behavioral symptoms of ADHD.
Zinc deficiency is also closely linked to ADHD. Numerous studies have found that some ADHD patients are also zinc deficient, and that zinc supplementation can help improve the symptoms of ADHD. More specifically, zinc supplementation improves hyperactivity and information processing in people living with ADHD.
The omega-3 fatty acids are renowned brain foods. They contribute to the structural integrity and protection of nerve fibers.
Omega-3 supplementation is absolutely essential especially during the formative years of childhood.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter in the brain. The main role of this brain chemical is in the inhibition of excitatory signals. Therefore, GABA can help reduce the impulsiveness and hyperactivity associated with ADHD.
Dietary Changes and Exercise
Diet plays a major role in ADHD. Certain foods can worsen the symptoms of ADHD and they should be avoided to help get rid of the disorder.
Sugar and sugary foods including snacks and soft drinks are the main culprits. They can provide the energy surge to fuel hyperactivity in kids. In addition, stimulants such as caffeine should be avoided because they put the brain into overdrive to cause hyperactivity and restless fatigue.
Furthermore, certain food proteins may cause or worsen ADHD. The most important examples include gluten in cereal grains such as wheat and casein in milk.
Gluten has been shown to trigger the autoimmune damage of nerves in the brain. This can severely and permanently affect important parts of the brain and then cause developmental disorders such as ADHD.
All of these food causes of ADHD should be excluded from the diet to help get rid of ADHD.
However, there are foods that should be included to reduce the risk of ADHD. Such foods include sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil and sources of antioxidants such as krill oil, fruits and vegetables.
These foods protect the brain cells from harmful free radicals as well as support the rapid development of the central nervous system.
In addition to dietary changes, exercises can also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Exercises are a good way to burn off excess energy that would have fueled hyperactivity. They also help the body relax and train the brain to properly respond to stress.
Experts advise better parental involvement for ADHD children. This simple step has been shown to be effective and sometimes even better than feeding ADHD children with drugs such as Ritalin.
Parents can teach their kids how to relax and how to respond to physical and emotional stress.
ADHD children usually handle external stimuli poorly. Therefore, teaching them the fine art of prioritizing the stimuli they receive from their environment can go a long way in helping them cope with their condition.
To prevent ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and short attention span, you should establish a routine for your ADHD kid. Routine creates a defined structure that can help your kid understand his environment as well as how and when to respond to new information.
The regularity provided by timed activities is effective for helping your kid develop a rhythm and sticking to an activity before moving on to the next.
In addition, you should use timed schedules to prevent your ADHD kid from getting too immersed in technology. ADHD kids are more likely to fixate on content consumption technologies such as the TV, phones and video games. These gadgets promote short attention spans.
Therefore, engage your kid outside these technologies. Recruit them to participate in extended activities that involve the use of multiple skills and dedication. Anything from cooking to reading should do as long as it is engaging, fun and challenging.
Lastly, help your ADHD kid improve his self-esteem. Encourage the kid to do more without necessarily pushing him. Reward him for trying to do better and praise him rightly to improve his confidence.
These social interactions, these moments of bonding, these paced activities will do more than any drug to help your kid cope with and overcome the limitations of ADHD.