According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 1995 over 6 million prescriptions for Ritalin or similar stimulants were recommended by doctors as the conventional treatment for ADD/ADHD.
The problem with this is that very few children see an increase in academic performance after being placed on Ritalin and a large majority of parents with ADD/ADHD children would much rather have alternative means of treatment for their kids’ behavior. Luckily, there are other options.
Christopher Hobbs L.Ac., A.H.G., a practicing acupuncturist and herbalists feels that ADD/ADHD may be caused from a lack of proper dietary and emotional nutrients such as love and affection. According to Hobbs, and many other professionals who treat ADD/ADHD naturally, refined sugar has an extremely dramatic effect on children with a tendency toward hyperactivity. For many children, when refined sugar is eliminated from the diet entirely, the improvements are stunning. In contrast, when even a small amount is introduced, the child spins out of control.
Proper nutrients may help to cut down on the erratic and hyperactivity of children. Removing excessive sugar, refined carbohydrates such as white flour based foods, soda, candy, fast foods and foods made with additives and preservatives may help to bring the chemical balance of the child back to a normal level.
Hobbs recommends substituting calming and nourishing herbal teas such as chamomile in the place of soda and fruit juices.
Additionally, helping children who are “spirited” focus their energy constructively will help to increase their attention span and remain calmer during “quiet” times. Give children time to play outdoors, run, and jump, ride bikes, yell and otherwise be normal, young kids. Without the ability to release the excess energy, children will misdirect their energy until they are labeled as destructive, harmful, and annoying and eventually diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.
Enrolling in a class or practicing yoga techniques and balancing exercises at home with a parent will also be beneficial for children with high energy levels. Yoga encourages the child to center their minds and relax. There are many such classes offered and can usually be found quite easily at a local community center or fitness facility.
Kathryn D. Dykman, M.D., who has been part of several studies on improving the symptoms of ADD/ADHD through natural means, has found that the addition of glyconutrients to the diet can encourage decreased hyperactivity and increase attention span and health of these children. Glyconutrients are considered essential sugars (different from refined sugar), that many of us are missing in our diets.
In summary, there are many alternative means to controlling symptoms of a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD before harsher drugs are used. The first order of business is to change the diet through the introduction of nutritious and healthy foods and the decrease of foods loaded with artificial ingredients and chemicals. Secondly, shower the child with love and affection.
Care takers are encouraged to talk with the child, hold conversations about their day and encourage socially acceptable behaviors while discouraging, along with an explanation, socially unacceptable behaviors. Give them love and affection – the emotional nutrients that they need to thrive.
Many parents may choose to introduce calming, relaxing herbal supplements along with the practice of a calming exercise regimen such as yoga, stretching or even meditation. And, finally, let children be children. They are supposed to yell, jump, run and play – a lot!