Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that impacts the development of the brain. Things like difficulty paying attention, being overactive, and poor impulse control are the primary signs of this brain disorder. Aside from this, an individual with ADHD tends to easily overlook or miss details, fail to follow through with tasks given, be forgetful, squirm around constantly, and feel restless. This then results in problems with social interactions and an inability to maintain relationships.
This may give way to poor self-esteem and isolation. Individuals with ADHD show certain warning signs that can tip their family, well-wishers, and doctors off. Medication is one of the most common approaches to treat ADHD. In addition to this, therapy, education or training, and a combination of the mentioned treatment forms are used. There are also certain alternative treatments to manage ADHD which involve lifestyle changes. These may not be sufficient by themselves in cases of severe ADHD but they help tremendously and can bolster the effect of the medication and therapy.
Let’s examine some alternative treatments to manage ADHD:
1. Sleep and ADHD
Good quality sleep can lead to a huge improvement in the symptoms of ADHD. A person’s body recharges when they sleep and poor quality rest can lead to a person feeling groggier and grumpier throughout the day. It is important to ensure that the stimulants one might be on aren’t affecting their quality of sleep. If the stimulants are the cause, then decreasing the dosage or stopping it altogether can help. However, it is important to note that some individuals with ADHD who are not on any medication also struggle to get regular and good quality sleep. If the cause of the disturbance in the sleep cycle is background noise, a sound machine or fan may remedy that. A regular bedtime must be insisted on and enforced accordingly. All usage of electronic gadgets should be completely stopped one hour before the designated sleep time and physical activity should be kept to a minimum in the evening.
2. Nutrition and ADHD
Changing and improving food and nutrition habits is also a great way to manage ADHD. Scheduling meals or snacks at periodic intervals will ensure that one is never hungry. This will help dampen the hyperactivity and remove the irritability while keeping the blood sugar levels of the individual steady.
Parents should also include proteins and complex carbohydrates in the meals of the child to help them stay alert. One can consider zinc, iron, and magnesium supplements. These minerals are in short supply in children with ADHD, so eating foods rich in them has a positive effect. One study showed that children who consumed iron supplements had similar results as compared to prescription medication. Omega-3 fatty acids are also very helpful in tackling hyperactivity and boosting concentration in children. These Omega-3’s are available in flaxseeds.
Social skills training and behavioral therapy are other very important methods to improve the behavior of the individual when trying to manage ADHD. In these, one is taught to read the reactions of other people and modify their own behavior. Rewards and praise are used to reinforce desirable behavior and mild consequences or punishment may be used to limit undesirable behavior.