A vast majority of the struggles that accompany ADHD are academic, relational, and behavioral. Though meds can assist in some cases, they are not the only paths to the calm you seek.Are you struggling with ADHD?
Does it seem like oft-prescribed stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall are the only course available?
Before you fill your prescription, there are other options, interventions, and therapies that may prove the best choice or choices for you—with or without regular trips to the pharmacy.
Consider these 5 reasons for seeking solutions beyond ADHD medication:
1. The varying effects of medication are not one-size-fits-all.
Response to medication is not universal. Some people see dramatic symptom improvement; others do not. Appropriate attention by a diligent physician is required to arrive at the proper medication and dosage. Even so, problematic side effects like irritability, stunted growth, loss of appetite, and insomnia have been reported and need to be closely monitored to mitigate risks.
2. Food and physical activity could naturally decrease symptoms.
Repeatedly, studies show that exercise reduces ADHD symptoms. Attention and mental flexibility are boosted as low levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin increase with just 20-30 minutes of physical activity per day.
As ADHD relates to diet, food does not create ADHD, but food choices and scheduling have been shown to impact symptoms. Regularly scheduled snacks and meals support concentration and positive moods by regulating blood sugar. Vitamin supplementation may prove effective too, given that many people with ADHD have low levels of zinc, iron, magnesium, and omega-3s.
3. Improved sleep may be a simple but crucial part of decreasing ADHD difficulties.
Improving sleep quality can simply and significantly impact ADHD. Medications are generally stimulants that may work against a good night’s rest. Try to keep dosages low if you decide to medicate.
Employ nightly rituals to support daytime behavior. Set a firm bedtime. Avoid caffeine or energy drinks late in the day. Ensure 7 hours of restful sleep nightly. Poor sleep patterns and behavioral problems often go hand in hand.
4. Psychotherapy and skills training provide more substantive ways to cope and make changes.
Many of the issues children with ADHD face are psychosocial. Utilizing the help of a psychiatrist, psychologist and/or cognitive-behavioral therapist will be important regarding useful coping skills and social skills.
ADHD symptoms have been shown to improve with patient, consistent implementation of goals, rewards and consequences, and the practice of emotional self-management and acceptable social interaction.
Furthermore, parents who elect to seek out parenting skills training may see an improvement in their child’s ADHD symptoms, as they are not unintentionally exacerbating them.
5. Brain training’s method “rewires” your brain, is med-free, and effective.
Educational and brain training programs are gaining momentum as viable ADHD treatment. Increasing amounts of research, professional endorsement, and parent satisfaction reveal high levels of success with therapies like low-energy neuro-feedback, electrotherapy stimulation, memory training, and Interactive Metronome in treating ADHD.
For example, Interactive Metronome helps focus, coordination, impulse control, and language. Skills are improved as participants learn to synchronize their hands and feet in both simple and complex sequences to rhythmic, computerized tones. Interactive Metronome is crucial for neural timing and synchronization, which is fundamental for attention, cognitive, communicative, social/behavioral, and motor function. Essentially, participants are both resetting their brain’s internal timing mechanism AND creating new pathways for more effective information processing.
No person with ADHD should believe that they must settle for drugs to get relief.
There is a vast amount of evidence to show that medication is just one intervention –not the only intervention– for children and adults with ADHD.
Until you are sure, it’s okay to ask your doctor, “What else can we do?”