It is estimated that ADHD affects roughly 9% of American children between the ages of 13 and 18. ADHD can make ordinary childhood activities like going to school and being part of a sport’s team incredibly difficult. It can make life at home challenging as well. (SOURCE)
Children with ADHD may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Easily distracted
- Easily bored
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Easily loses things
- Difficulty following instructions
- Fidgety behavior, can’t sit still
Every child is different and the severity of symptoms can vary greatly depending on environment, diet and other factors.
ADHD is commonly treated with medications such as Ritalin and Adderall. While each child is different, and medication can be an effective treatment method for some, it’s important to remember that these medications come with a host of side effects. Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system and can cause agitation, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even psychosis.
Adderall is a highly-addictive amphetamine whose potential side effects include hallucinations, tremors, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and extreme mood swings.
These are very scary side effects, particularly when talking about children sometimes as young as five-years-old being prescribed these medications. It’s easy to understand why parents would want to seek natural alternatives.
The good news is, there are natural remedies that have been found very effective at helping your child address ADHD behavioral challenges. Again, each child is different, so it’s important to recognize that what is appropriate and works for one child might not for another. But these are good natural strategies to implement and see if they can help your child.
1. A Clean Diet
Many researchers are pointing to modern foods as the cause of the increase in ADHD cases seen each year. And is it any wonder? Much of our modern food is laden with toxic additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and food colorings. Many of these can be found in foods geared toward young kids.
One of the best ways to treat ADHD naturally is to clean up your child’s diet. Ensure your whole family eats additive-free, unprocessed whole foods. This means spending more time shopping on those outer grocery aisles and less time in the middle ones where packaged foods line the shelves.
Even when eating a clean diet rich in fruits and veggies, we often can’t get enough nutrients from our food and must turn to supplementation. The EPA/DHA in fish oil are critical for brain health and can reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve learning.
Since ADHD has also been connected to digestive issues, a quality probiotic that can improve gut health is also recommended.
And finally, a multi-vitamin that contains all of the B-vitamins is essential. B-vitamins help with the formation of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to ADHD.
Too many children are sitting in front of the TV or their smartphones, playing video games and texting their friends. But young people with ADHD have an excess of energy, and it’s got to go somewhere. Along with diet and supplementation, physical exercise is key in treating ADHD naturally.
Make exercise something the whole family can do together. Go hiking or bike riding, climb a rock wall at your local gym, or go kayaking. Exercise will help your child’s symptoms and bring you closer together.
Family therapy is another way to heal the pain or confusion that has been caused by ADHD. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.