Prescription medications for ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are considered to be safe and effective for many children. However, not everyone is in favor of using medications to treat the condition. Some children may not be able to take prescription medications because of some health condition. Some parents may worry about studies that show ADD medications become less effective over time. Others may simply prefer a more natural approach. Unfortunately, a desire to avoid medication can sometimes lead parents to avoid having their children evaluated for ADD or ADHD, even though having the diagnosis can help you understand what your child is experiencing and find alternate ways to handle it. Take a look at a few drug-free approaches to treating ADD or ADHD.
One common alternative method of treating ADHD is by implementing changes in your child's diet. The Feingold diet, which is an elimination plan that focuses on cutting artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives out of your child's diet, is often touted as effective, although some researchers believe that the differences parents see have more to do with the extra attention children get from their parents while on the diet, rather than the diet itself. Another strategy that shows some promise is the addition of omega-3 supplements to your child's diet.
If you're planning to attempt to treat ADHD through dietary changes, be sure to consult with your child's pediatrician, or a registered dietician. You want to be sure that your child doesn't miss out on important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that they need for growth.
Meditation is an attractive alternative treatment for ADD because it has no side effects or impact on physical health. It can not only be used as an alternative to medication, it can be used in conjunction with medication as well. Meditation is a technique that helps the child gain control over their own minds and bodies, which may be preferable to relying on medication in the long run.
The key to helping children use meditation to control ADHD symptoms is to start small. Someone who already has difficulty focusing can't be expected to sit still for long stretches of time. Starting with short sessions of even five minutes can be a good start, and eventually your child can expand to longer sessions.
All children need physical activity on a daily basis. If you're like many parents, you may already have concerns about dwindling recess and physical education periods in schools, and may be looking for ways include more exercise in their daily routines. But exercise isn't just good for your child's brain – it's good for their mind as well.
Exercise produces some of the same effects in the brain that ADHD medicines produce. It encourages the brain to produce dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. It also relieves stress and boosts concentration.
If you suspect that your child has ADD or ADHD, an evaluation is the first step to finding a treatment plan that works for your child, whether or not that includes prescription medication. You have a number of different options to help your child, so don't let your concerns about one particular treatment method prevent you from getting an accurate diagnosis. Contact a pediatric office like Dino Peds for more information on having your child evaluated for ADD.