What is ADHD?
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3 to 5 percent of American children. It interferes with a person’s ability to stay on a task and to exercise age-appropriate control over their behavior.
Some of the common symptoms of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions; inability to organize oneself and school work; fidgeting with hands and feet; talking too much; leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished; and having trouble paying attention to and responding to details.
There are three main types of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive subtype
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype
- Combined subtype
ADHD is typically diagnosed in children during the elementary school years with symptoms starting before age 7. Often, the condition resolves during adolescence, although it can continue into adulthood.
Conventional treatment commonly includes stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine). These medications tend to decrease impulsive and hyperactive behavior and increase the ability to focus. Some of the potential side effects of stimulant medications include nausea, dry mouth, nervousness, tics, diminished appetite, weight loss, stunted growth, palpitations, and insomnia.
There is wide agreement that treatment of ADHD should be multifactorial and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Other aspects of treatment should address creating a structured classroom environment, parent education and improving parenting skills, tutoring, and behavioral therapy.
The symptoms of ADHD can be effectively managed with medication, although there is no conventional cure for ADHD at this time. As they mature, many children with ADHD learn to compensate for their symptoms in ways that allow them to be productive at school and work.
Homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and effective treatment for kids suffering from ADHD and has no known side effects. It is a beneficial alternative to pharmaceutical medications, such as Adderall,Concerta, Ritalin, Strattera for kids who are suffering from ADHD, behavior and anger problems, developmental problems, and learning disabilities.
The doctors at the Arizona Natural Health Center have experience treating many ADHD kids using natural remedies to help them focus, behave better, excel at school, and be healthier children overall.
Many parents express their desire to fix their children’s problems, rather than putting their kids on medications that can have significant side effects, such as appetite suppression and insomnia. The medications are only a bandage to deal with the symptoms.
Homeopathy works by stimulating the child to rebalance and self heal. There are several scientific studies on the use of homeopathy to treat ADHD, including an outcomes study where homeopathy compared very favorably to methylphenidate (Ritalin). 1Another double-blinded randomized control trial demonstrated positive results with homeopathy2.
Long standing cases of ADHD may take a year or two to resolve fully. They may include going two steps forward and one step backward, with modifications in the homeopathic medicines (remedies) necessary at various stages of the child’s treatment.
Homeopathic remedies are relatively inexpensive compared with traditional medications.
Dr. Oskin contributed information on homeopathy to the book ADHD Treatment Remedies; click here to learn more.
- Frei H, Thurneysen A. Treatment for hyperactive children: homeopathy and methylphenidate compared in a family setting. Br Homeopath J. 2001 Oct; 90(4):183-8.
- Frei H, Everts R, von Ammon K, et al. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Dec; 164(12):758-67.
In addition to homeopathy, there are other non-pharmacological treatments for ADHD that may be useful. Some of them include:
- A whole foods diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and essential fatty acids. Avoid highly processed foods that are high in sugars, artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives, and partiallyhydrogenated oils. Ask your doctor for specific nutritional advice that will best suit your child. Your physician may even recommend certain nutritional or herbal supplements to help your child function optimally. To learn more about diet and ADHD, see:http://feingold.org/adhd.php.
- Behavior Modification and Lifestyle: Many families benefit from individual and family counseling. Some psychologists and natural doctors utilize neurofeedback and biofeedback computer programs to help kids improve their focus and attention. Often behavior modification programs work by helping kids to improve their self-monitoring, anger-control, and self-reinforcement. Families can implement reward procedures to reinforce positive behavior and have consequences for unwanted behaviors. Some psychologists recommend a token economy system, in which positive reinforcement and response cost are used together to help children learn about the consequences of their actions.
Dr. Oskin recently treated a 5-year-old boy suffering from ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder who, when he first came for treatment, would scream and threaten his mother and then do the exact opposite of what she told him to do. He was violent and frequently hit his siblings. Mom was concerned because he would wet the bed four nights a week, causing a great deal of extra stress with loads of laundry and disrupted nights of sleep.
His behavioral problems were bleeding into the classroom and causing trouble at school. He was having difficulty learning and was easily frustrated. He said things like, “I don’t want to go to school because I don’t like it.” He had trouble focusing and would lose concentration after a few minutes. He would throw temper tantrums at school and couldn’t follow instructions due to distractions.
Mom reported that it was difficult to get him to sit still as he would fidget, squirm, and be impatient. He was always “on the go” as if “driven by a motor”. He frequently would get in trouble at school because he could not wait his turn. If another child had a toy he wanted, he would take it from them.
At night it was very difficult to get him to go to sleep because he would be wide-awake and want to play until at least 1am, which was exhausting for mom.
The boy’s mother was beside herself. Her other children all had normal temperaments and she didn’t know what went wrong with her youngest son. She wouldn’t even discipline him because he would be so nasty to her. The teachers at school were telling her he needed to be on Ritalin, yet she wanted to try alternatives to medications first, so we started him on a homeopathic medicine that was individualized to him.
At his first follow up a month later, the boy was no longer as aggressive and was not hitting his siblings as much. The restlessness and impatience had improved. He was no longer threatening mom when he got in trouble and now would respond by apologizing rather than threatening her. Mom reported that overall he was much calmer and had not wet the bed a single time since starting homeopathic treatment.
Mom was happy to report that she was getting more sleep now because her son was falling asleep at 11pm every night rather than staying up later to play.
This case is an example of how homeopathic treatment can help a child rebalance naturally, so they can be healthier and happier overall.
Kids who suffer from ADHD require lots of extra attention, love and support from their parents. Unfortunately, children don’t come with instruction manuals. A great book, based on solid parenting research is “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, The Heart of Parenting” by psychologist John Gottman, PhD. This book offers great tips and strategies for parenting, especially for kids who require more attention and support.
Here are some tips for parents and teachers to help kids who suffer from ADHD:
- Set up a quiet, non-distracting place for homework completion
- Allow for increased activity in a safe environment
- Utilize short work sessions
- Maintain immediate consequences
- Reinforce good behavior
- Co-ordinate homework with parents and teachers using a daily assignment notebook
- Have a second set of school books at home
- Put a strong emphasis on behavioral therapy, such as token systems
- Reinforce good behavior (with rewards and attention)
- Make eye contact with each request
- Focus on one task at a time
- Employ brief time-out periods
- Stop behavior before it escalates
- Find things the child is good at and emphasize these
- Some families benefit from anger training, social training, and family therapy
- Utilize time-outs to allow children to “self-soothe,” but not as a punishment
Dr. Robert Myers is a child psychologist who recommends some great exercises you can do with your child if they are suffering from ADHD. For more information visit his website: http://www.empoweringparents.com/Five-Simple-Brain-Exercise-Activities-for-Your-ADHD-Child.php
Dr. Oskin contributed information on homeopathy for ADHD to the book ADHD Treatment Remedies. Click here to learn more.