What are the Different ADHD Alternative Treatments?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral condition that frequently appears in childhood but may also affect adults. Often, treatment is done through a combination of medication and therapy in order to help the patient manage his or her ADHD and lead a normal life. There are several ADHD alternative treatments, however, that people turn to out of a dislike of psychological medication or a failure of traditional remedies. While most ADHD alternative treatments have not undergone the strict testing methods of medication, some have shown promising results and success levels in scientific studies.

Yoga is sometimes used as an alternative ADHD treatment.
Yoga is sometimes used as an alternative ADHD treatment.

Neurofeedback is one of the most unusual types of ADHD alternative treatments. Studies of ADHD patients have shown a disharmony with normal brain emission patterns; ADHD patients tend to have more of some waves and less of others than people without the condition. Neurofeedback hooks a patient up to a machine that measure brain wave emissions, called an electroencephalograph or EEG. The patient directs his or her mind to certain tasks, trying to raise brain waves to a certain level. The overall idea of this treatment is that the patient can train his or her mind to consciously raise or lower wave emission, leading to relief or control over symptoms.

Reducing sugar and caffeine intake may help reduce hyperactivity.
Reducing sugar and caffeine intake may help reduce hyperactivity.

Other ADHD alternative treatments involve lifestyle changes. Some medical and mental health professionals support what is known as an ADHD intervention, often performed with very young children. This educational program is for both children and parents, teaching both coping strategies and skills that help manage ADHD and set up a healthy pattern of parent-child interaction. These sessions may be done in the home or in a group setting.

ADHD can be treated by tailoring the environment to one in which the person with ADHD can succeed.
ADHD can be treated by tailoring the environment to one in which the person with ADHD can succeed.

Dietary changes are another of the most common ADHD alternative treatments. Although there is no conclusive evidence to support a dietary effect on ADHD symptoms, some doctors find the theory fairly sound. Since blood sugar spikes and certain chemicals, such as caffeine, are known to cause hyperactivity, removing food items that shoot up blood sugar or stimulate may help reduce hyperactivity. Some health care professionals recommend getting an allergy test as well, and removing any foods that may cause a histamine reaction.

Problems at home between parents may cause a child to become hyperactive.
Problems at home between parents may cause a child to become hyperactive.

Meditation, focused martial arts and yoga practice are three ADHD alternative treatments said to possibly help alleviate and manage symptoms. Since all of these methods aim at focusing the mind and body, they serve as a sort of strength training session for the often-fractured minds of ADHD patients. Little scientific research has been done on meditation exercises as ADHD alternative treatments, but some doctors do recommend frequent sessions where the patient focuses on calming the mind to help gain control over ADHD symptoms.

In some cases animal-assisted therapy has helped children with ADHD.
In some cases animal-assisted therapy has helped children with ADHD.
EEG biofeedback therapy is sometimes used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
EEG biofeedback therapy is sometimes used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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