Managing ADHD symptoms can be overwhelming for both parents and children alike. Parents often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities, from securing a reliable diagnosis to researching treatment options, all while managing the day-to-day challenges that come with the disorder.
The cycle of appointments, medications, behavioral therapies, and school consultations can be exhausting. Coupled with the societal misconceptions surrounding ADHD, parents may also find themselves battling stigma and advocating for their child’s needs in educational and social settings.
The burden isn’t just on the parents, though. The child, too, grapples with self-esteem issues, academic struggles, and social intricacies.
For these reasons, finding effective symptom management tools is critical. Unfortunately, for many families, only one tool is ever recommended – medication.
So what is a family to do when they have tried medication and it doesn’t work? Or when it creates a heap of side effects? Or if they would prefer a more natural route?
In this article, discover natural alternatives to medication for ADHD.
Pharmaceutical medication is not the only option to manage ADHD symptoms. This article offers a deep dive into natural medicines and holistic approaches that can complement traditional treatments or stand alone in helping to manage ADHD symptoms.
How Can Natural Remedies Support Children with ADHD?
ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. Its primary symptoms are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, though there are many other symptoms as well.
Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty staying focused, paying attention to details, organizing tasks, and maintaining sustained mental effort. They may also exhibit excessive physical activity, restlessness, and fidgeting.
Research shows that inflammation and imbalances in neurotransmitters play a role in these symptoms. This is where natural remedies come in; they aim to address the underlying stressors, not just mask the symptoms.
5 Benefits of Natural ADHD Remedies
The benefits of using natural remedies for ADHD are increasingly capturing the attention of both healthcare providers and families alike.
Benefit #1 – Reduced Side Effects
One of the standout advantages of natural treatments is the decreased likelihood of experiencing adverse side effects, a common concern with pharmaceutical medications. Natural remedies are generally more in tune with your body’s own chemistry, reducing risks and discomfort.
Benefit #2 – Addresses Underlying Stressors
Natural medicine often focuses on addressing the underlying factors contributing to ADHD, rather than merely alleviating symptoms. This offers a more long-term solution to managing the disorder effectively. For instance, some natural remedies focus on reducing bodily inflammation—a known contributing factor to ADHD symptoms.
Benefit #3 – Customizable Treatments
Natural medicine also offers a level of customization that conventional medicine sometimes lacks. With a variety of herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals at your disposal, it’s possible to tailor a treatment plan that addresses the individual symptoms and challenges your child faces.
This individualized approach can be especially beneficial for children who have other underlying health issues or sensitivities, as it allows families to avoid substances that might trigger adverse reactions.
Benefit #4 – Encourages Comprehensive Lifestyle Changes (that the whole family can benefit from)
Utilizing natural treatments often goes hand-in-hand with making broader lifestyle adjustments, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. This holistic approach not only benefits the individual with ADHD but also has the potential to improve the well-being of the entire family.
Benefit #5 – Long-term Symptom Reduction
By approaching ADHD treatment holistically and focusing on underlying stressors, natural medicine offers the potential for long-lasting relief and symptom management, making it a sustainable choice for many families.
These benefits make a compelling case for considering natural medicine as part of your approach to managing ADHD effectively.
Different Types of Natural Medicine for ADHD
Natural strategies offer an array of options that cater to individual needs and go beyond mere symptom management to tackle underlying issues. In the following section, we’ll delve into the different types of natural remedies available for ADHD. Whether you’re new to this holistic approach or already on a natural path, exploring these options can provide additional tools for long-term symptom management.
Popular Herbal Remedies To Support ADHD Naturally:
There are several herbs that can be beneficial for many children with ADHD. One of these is Rhodiola Rosea. Rhodiola is an herb that grows in both Europe and Asia. Its roots are believed to help people adjust to stress.
As children with ADHD often struggle to cope with emotional distress, this herb can be beneficial for them. People have been using rhodiola to help with depression, anxiety, and fatigue for centuries. Today, this herb is a widely-used supplement.
Another herb many families find helpful is OPC (short for Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins). OPC’s are derived from plants such as peaches, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, etc. Plants create these OPC’s to fight against environmental toxins, but they can be very beneficial for humans.
There are some studies that suggest these compounds, when ingested through supplementation, can be beneficial for brain function, in particular in regard to executive function, concentration, and focus.
Finally, Ginkgo and Ginseng can also be helpful for children with ADHD. ADDitude magazine explained the unique benefits of these two herbs this way: “They act like stimulants without the side effects. Typically, adults and children who take ginkgo and ginseng improve on ADHD rating scales, and are less impulsive and distractible.”
With herbs (as well as with all supplements and medications), it’s important to remember that none of them can “fix” a child’s ADHD. It’s also important to remember that no one supplement or herb can serve as the be-all-and-end-all for symptom reduction. No matter what supplements or herbs are being taken, diet is still the most important piece of natural symptom reduction.
Dietary Supplements to Support ADHD Naturally:
Supplements can be very beneficial for many children with ADHD, because they can provide essential nutrients that might be lacking in a child’s diet. They can also help improve gut health, which can in turn improve brain health.
Some of the best supplements for ADHD include the following:
Fish oil for Omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial for children with ADHD.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found naturally in oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans, and seeds like chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in many plant-based oils.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are meant to be in a one-to-one ratio in the body. Unfortunately, due to the Western diet, the amount of Omega 6 in our bodies has reached unprecedented proportions and results in inflammation, blood pressure issues, and heart disorders. In contrast, Omega-3, which comes from a Mediterranean diet, is typically extremely low in Americans.
This deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids is correlated to increased ADHD symptoms in children, so supplementing with a good quality fish oil can be beneficial.
The brain has many areas that are involved in gut function, but one of the main areas is the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe talks to the gut via nerve branches and two way chemical messengers. It is involved in things like attention, focus, executive function, planning, organizing, and problem solving, all of which are common symptoms of many of our children with ADHD.
When we ensure that our children’s guts are functioning well, we simultaneously ensure their frontal lobes are functioning well too. That’s why probiotics can be so beneficial for children with ADHD.
Probiotics can be found naturally in Kombucha, dark chocolate, and fermented foods, or come in supplement form.
Many caregivers find that magnesium makes a surprising difference to their kids’ anxiety or depression, aids in sleep, and also reduces hyperactivity.
Research suggests that children with ADHD often have low magnesium levels, and using supplements can have a calming effect on behavior and reduce insomnia, agitation, and muscle cramps.
With magnesium, it’s important to remember that it can take a couple of weeks to up to a month to build up in the body, so don’t expect immediate results.
A vitamin D supplement can work wonders to support children with ADHD and anxiety, especially when it is taken with a supplement of Omega-3 fatty acids.
That’s because these nutrients play a vital role in our serotonin production. Serotonin is our feel-good hormone and is closely tied to behavior, appetite, sleep, digestion, and memory, all things that many children with ADHD battle. Vitamin D also helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can help reduce symptoms.
One of the best natural ways to get more Vitamin D is to get outside in the sunlight! But as this is not always possible, a Vitamin D supplement can be very beneficial as well.
Want to know more about how we can help YOU get to a place of peace and calm with your child using natural strategies?
Book your free call with one of my expert team members to help you take your next step toward a healthier, happier home. There is absolutely NO RISK. It’s free, and there are no obligations. All we will do is chat about how we can help you get to where you want to go!
And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.