Note: Do consult a specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder that affects millions of children as well as adults. It is one of the most common childhood disorders. ADHD occurs more often in males than in females.
Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are the key behaviors of a person who has ADHD.
Some of the signs and symptoms of ADHD are difficulty paying attention, frequent daydreaming, difficulty following through on instructions, forgetting things easily, problems organizing tasks or activities, easily distracted, difficulty remaining seated, impatience, becoming bored easily and talking excessively. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow ADHD.
While the exact cause of ADHD is not clear, certain factors have been found to contribute to its development. Genetics, certain environmental factors and central nervous system problems are some contributing factors.
Other risk factors are exposure to environmental toxins; maternal drug use, alcohol use or smoking during pregnancy; maternal exposure to environmental poisons and premature birth.
Proper diagnosis is essential before starting any treatment. The most effective way to control the condition is with medicines. At the same time, certain lifestyle changes and home remedies can help ease the symptoms and show improvement in the condition.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat ADHD naturally.
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Neurotoxicity Research, regular physical exercise is beneficial against stress, anxiety, depression, negative affect and behavior, poor impulse control and compulsive behavior concomitant with improved executive functioning and better memory.
Experts even suggest that exercising in open, green spaces boosts brain function in people with ADHD.
- Make sure your child spends at least 30 minutes per day doing highly active exercise. Bike riding, swimming, swinging and kicking a ball in the backyard are some exercises that most children enjoy.
- Enroll your child in a sports activity that uses many different types of body movements. Gymnastics, martial arts, dancing and ice skating are some good options.
- You can also take your child walking, jogging or do strength-training exercises.
2. Yoga and Tai Chi
Like exercise, yoga and tai chi also benefit people who have ADHD. The physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and deep relaxation techniques used in yoga help calm and strengthen the central nervous system. Yoga also helps children relax and learn discipline, which in turn helps manage ADHD symptoms.
Similarly, tai chi helps improve ADHD symptoms. According to a 2000 study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, children who attended tai chi classes twice a week displayed less anxiety, improved conduct, less daydreaming behaviors, less inappropriate emotions and less hyperactivity.
In order for your child to benefit from yoga and tai chi, he or she must take an interest in the activities. Seek the guidance of an expert or enroll your child in a yoga or tai chi class.
3. Diet and Nutrition
Diet plays a key role in managing the symptoms of ADHD. Both the body and brain require different types of nutrients to function properly. Through a well-balanced diet, you can improve memory, sharpen reflexes and enjoy a better attention span.
- Eat foods high in protein like eggs, fish, beans, nuts, soy and dairy products. Protein-rich foods increase the production of dopamine, which in turn helps a person stay focused.
- Complex carbohydrate foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar, such as whole grains, will help manage ADHD symptoms by stabilizing blood sugar levels as too much blood sugar can disrupt proper brain functioning.
- Include magnesium-rich foods like spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, soybeans and black beans in your diet. Magnesium will help reduce irritability, increase attention span and lessen mental confusion.
- Include foods rich in vitamin B6 to combat irritability. Some good options are avocados, bananas, spinach, sunflower seeds, prunes and nuts.
- Low levels of zinc are also associated with ADHD so include zinc-rich foods in your diet. Foods high in zinc include oysters, liver, cheese, sesame seeds, squash and peanuts.
- Eliminate foods with artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, flavorings and preservatives from your diet.These foods can cause hyperactive behavior and learning disabilities.
Note: Before using any nutritional supplement, consult your doctor.
4. Fish Oil
To help curb the symptoms of ADHD in children and adults, fish oil is very helpful. Experts believe that a lack of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders such as ADHD and dyslexia.
Hence, choosing a fish oil supplement that contains a high ratio of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA) to omega-6 fatty acids (DHA) can help reduce symptoms. Moreover, fish oil supplements help improve memory and concentration.
- If you want to try fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor first about the best dosage.
- Also, eat salmon, sardines, trout and other cold-water fish. Flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and other seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Massage is relaxing for anyone, including people who have ADHD. A 2003 study published in the journal Adolescence found that 20 minutes of massage twice a week has a positive impact on mood and behavior.
Moreover, regular massage helps increase serotonin levels, which in turn help modulate elevated dopamine levels that occur in children with ADHD.
- Put some olive, almond or sesame oil on your hands.
- Rub your hands together until the oil becomes warm.
- Massage the mixture onto your child’s skin, from head to toe.
- Let the oil soak in for a few minutes, then towel off the remaining residue.
- Do this at least 2 or 3 times a week.
Chamomile is among the most commonly used herbs for ADHD. Its soothing and calming properties help regulate mood and attention. This in turn reduces hyperactivity.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of hot water.
- Cover and allow it to steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain the solution and add some honey.
- Drink this herbal tea daily before going to bed.