Adults with ADHD experience difficulty concentrating and staying focused, but they sometimes hyperfocus on tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. They are often disorganized, forgetful and impulsive, have difficulties controlling their anger and may come across as hyperactive and restless.
Natural Treatment for ADHD in Adults: Diet
The "Prescription for Natural Healing" recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables except for those containing salicylates, which some people are allergic to. Foods naturally containing salicylates are almonds, apples, apricots, all berries, cherries, cucumbers, oranges, peaches, peppers, plums, prunes and tomatoes. A high-protein diet, which emphasizes meat, eggs, cheese, poultry and fish, and complex carbohydrates is recommended as it keeps blood sugar very stable and supplies amino acids to build neurotransmitters.
Cold-water fish, such as tuna, salmon and herring are important in the diet because they are good sources of the essential fatty acid DHA. DHA is often deficient in people with ADHD and is necessary for brain development. According to "Prescription for Natural Healing," researchers who performed a five-hour glucose tolerance test on 261 hyperactive children found 74 percent of them had abnormal glucose tolerance curves. This suggests a possible connection between the consumption of sugar and hyperactivity.
Natural Treatment for ADHD in Adults: Supplements
Essential fatty acids are believed to be necessary to keep ADHD at bay. If adequate amounts are not obtained from the diet, then fish oil supplements can be taken. Phosphatidylserine is a natural extract of lecithin that is vital for brain function and maintains nerve connections in the brain. It also lowers cortisol levels which are high in stressed individuals.
Other supplements that may be helpful include –
- Zinc – involved in neurotransmitter production, prostaglandins, melatonin and dopamine, all of which are affected by ADHD
- DMAE – helps the brain synthesize acetylcholine and has been used to treat reading and speech difficulties, hyperactivity and short attention span.
Natural Treatment for ADHD in Adults: Herbs
Herbs that are helpful in reducing hyperactivity include gotu kola, chamomile, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, licorice, catnip, St. John's wort and thyme. If you are allergic to ragweed, however, avoid chamomile. Ginseng and mullein oil may aid memory, while Gingko biloba can help concentration and brain function. In fact in a 1998 study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior Dr. Jerrold Winter from the University of Buffalo demonstrated that Gingko biloba extract improved the learning and memory of rats
Natural Treatment for ADHD in Adults: Lifestyle Practices
Another natural treatment for ADHD in adults involves setting routines for performing daily activities. Techniques such as meditation and yoga which enhance focus and attention are helpful. In addition, they reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Trying to avoid information overload in our information age is important, too.
One major strategy to help reduce the effects of ADHD is exercise. The endorphins released during aerobic exercise can rid the body of tension, induce calm and lift the depressed mood that sometimes accompanies ADHD. Getting adequate rest and sleep is important as well.
"Prescription for Natural Healing";Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.; 2000
"Disease Prevention and Treatment"; Life Extension Foundation; 2003.
Winter, J.C., The effect of an extract of Ginkgo biloba, EGb 761, on cognitive behavior and longevity in the rat. Physiology and Behavior, 1998. 63(3): p. 425-433.