Alternative Treatments for ADHD or ADD without Drugs or Medication

Medication is an effective way of dealing with an attention deficit problem.  However, it is not without side effects. For some people, the side effects are worse than the problem the medication addresses.  For others, side effects are mild.

I am going to discuss the different medications in another article so in this article I am going to focus on alternative treatments for ADHD that do not involve the standard medications like Ritalin.

There are a couple of good reasons to try and treat ADHD using alternative methods.  First, if a child has a very mild case and only struggles a little then alternative treatments will be helpful.  In other words, if they can excel in school without medication then that is best.   Second, if a child has severe reactions to all of the medications then the only other choice is treating the condition without medication.

Simply refusing to treat your child with medication is not a valid reason for trying alternative treatments.  Keep in mind that your child is struggling much like a bad swimmer in rough water would be.  If medication can solve the problem then it is simply cruel to not let them have that solution.

Before we start, if you already treat your child with medication then the following alternatives can still be used.  If fact, if you will use these methods along with medication then as your child gets older there will be a better chance of them getting off medication completely.

Study Habits

Learning good study habits will help anyone.  Especially those with an attention deficit.  Having your child tutored by an older student who has good study habits is one way to instill these characteristics in your child.  Much like playing a better tennis player makes you better.  It does not have to be torture.  In fact, it can be fun.  You simply want the tutor to go over each class and see how your child is doing.  They will then make suggestions and help them with any work they are falling behind in.  Twice a week should be sufficient.  Each session should be about an hour.  What this will do is create accountability and structure and also pass on some good habits to your child.  Good study habits include:

  • Writing assignments down.
  • Take Notes – writing down information helps you to retain it.
  • Keeping up Schoolwork so as not to fall behind.
  • Remembering to bring your homework to school.
  • Maintaining good communication with the teacher.
  • Establishing a study area at home.
  • Structure – do things at a predetermined time on a schedule.
  • Reward yourself for finishing work.
  • Break down studying into small blocks if necessary.

Sports that Require Focus and Discipline

This is an effective and fun way to develop focus and discipline.  My sport was Taekwondo.  Karate and other martial arts are also excellent.  Taekwondo taught me discipline, goal setting, achievement, focus and more.  Plus I was able to spar my sister which was a bonus.  We have a separate article on this subject in our links to the right.

Good Diet

Eating right is a must for any child, especially if they have an attention problem.  A well balanced meal will give them the right type of energy and will help you focus on real problems and not those caused by malnutrition.

A diet / nutrition plan will involve removing certain foods from a childs diet temporarily and removing some permanently.  It also involves adding some foods to help concentration and focus.

You can click here for a full article on a good ADHD / ADD diet.

Herbal Supplements and Vitamins

Treating ADHD or ADD naturally with herbal supplements and vitamins is a viable option especially in mild cases.  For example, for some people, caffeine which is a natural stimulant, has a similar effect to ritalin when it comes to focusing.  For mild cases of ADHD, a cup of coffee in the morning and a little Mountain Dew through out the day works well.  For others it does not.

Flax Seed Oil is also a recommended nutritional supplement.  It contains Omega 3 oils as well as   Studies  on the effects of Omega 3 and ADHD show that the levels of these fatty acids in the blood of those suffering from ADD and ADHD needs to be maintained at a certain level. The benefits of flax seed oil make it an effective tool for keeping the levels of these fatty acids high to improve concentration and behavior.

A multi vitamin is also helpful in making sure that you have no deficiencies in this area.  Sort of a back up plan to good healthy meals.  Keep in mind that vitamins cannot replace a healthy meal.