Treating Attention Deficit Disorder Naturally: Does It Work?

There are a variety of pharmaceutical drugs that are effective in treating ADD, but many people experience adverse side effects. This often leads patients to look for ways of treating attention deficit disorder naturally.

Dietary Changes

While a small percentage of children may benefit from restricting food additives and sugar, there is no significant evidence to prove these changes are beneficial overall. Food additives that are believed to cause behavioral changes include salicylates-containing foods, all artificial colorings, wheat, chemical additives, eggs, milk and chocolate. At this time further studies are being carried out.

There is a popular ADD diet known as the Feingold diet. This involves only consuming drinks and foods free of additives and salicylates. This means that individuals must also avoid aspirin because it contains salicylates. While some patients report alleviation of symptoms with this diet, research has yet to show a significant impact. However, those with ADD should strive to eat a diet of diverse, natural foods. Many believe children with this disorder should avoid sugar because sugar will increase hyperactivity and other symptoms. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center states that research indicates that sugar does not play a role in increasing hyperactivity.

Supplementation

There are two supplements purported to be beneficial in treating attention deficit disorder naturally. Omega-3 fatty acids are all over the media for cardiovascular health, but they also play a role in healthy brain function and may help alleviate ADD symptoms. However, at this time, it is not clear whether this is so.

Zinc plays a role in the metabolism of some neurotransmitters and ADHD has been associated with a zinc deficiency. However, no benefit has been shown for people who do not have a zinc deficiency. Those using zinc long-term who do not have a deficiency are at risk of side effects.

Other supplements purported to be beneficial for ADD, though they cannot be given to children include gingko biloba, melatonin, St John's wort, panax ginseng and pine bark extract.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a more holistic approach to treating attention deficit disorder. It looks at this disorder as a mind-body process and takes into account diet, personality, emotional factors, lifestyle and environment. Baryta carbonica is sometimes recommended for those who act out in class, those who are fearful or timid, and those with delayed or arrested mental, social or physical development. This remedy is made from barium. Barium is an alkaline and can be poisonous so it is critical to take this under the supervision of a professional.

Those with irritability, nervousness, restlessness and difficulty concentrating may benefit from baryta iodatum. This homeopathic remedy works on the lymphatic system.

Chamomilla may be recommended to those with impatience, irritability or a bad temper. It may also be recommended to those who confuse their wants, are fidgety, restless and frustrated. For some patients the spasmolytic or sedative effects may be too intense, so the patient must pay special attention when he or she first begins to use this remedy.

Those who are animated, restless, intense, hurried and talkative may benefit from crotalus horridus. This homeopathic remedy is created by carefully milking the venom from a live snake. Once full preparation is complete, no traces of venom remain.

Those with poor impulse control and inappropriate behavior may benefit from hyoscyamus. Some patients have reported an increased heart rate, dry mouth, urinary retention, reduced gastrointestinal contractions, dilated pupils and hallucinations.

Hyperactivity, restlessness, moodiness and agitation may benefit from lachesis. The venom of a South American bushmaster snake is used to make this remedy.

Other homeopathic remedies that may be beneficial include medorrhinum, platina, kali bromatum, stramonium, sulphur, tuberculinum aviare and zincum metallicum.

NB: The content of this article on treating attention deficit disorder naturally is for information purposes only, and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.

Resources

Sevak, N. (2006). Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder – Homeopathic Treatment of ADHD. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from the American Medical College of Homeopathy: https://www.amcofh.org/homeopathic-adhd-treatment.html

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2009). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Other Treatments. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from the University of Maryland Medical Center: https://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/some_alternative_approaches_attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_000030_10.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html