What alternative treatments can I try for ADHD?
Real Mom Problem
“My precious five-year-old is extremely hyperactive and compulsive. I'm trying my best to help her naturally. What did you use? Did it help? If so, when did you see positives changes?”
- 1. Stimulants, like the caffeine found in coffee and some sodas, have been known to help children with ADHD
- 2. Some moms have seen success with acupressure, chiropractic treatment, and traditional Chinese medicine
- 3. Diet adjustments and the use of vitamins and supplements can be helpful for children with ADHD
- 4. Physical activity, occupational therapy, and sensory input have been recommended by many of our moms for the treatment of ADHD
- 5. The answers below are not medical advice and should not be relied on as medical advice or used in lieu of speaking with a medical professional
Real Mom Solutions
No matter how you feel about the use of medication, you may be interested in alternate forms of ADHD treatment. See what works -- and what doesn't -- for the moms of CafeMom and their kids.
These Moms Explain the Impact of Physical Movement
I have heard of using an exercise ball. My son just bounces so hard on it that it becomes a distraction. There is also a wiggle seat. That did not work with my son either. No TV or video games during the week, and limited on the weekends help a lot. It is a challenge! But I love him dearly, he is a sweet child.
Another stimulant that a child can use in the classroom is Silly Putty. It gives them a physical outlet for their energy, but it is quiet and won't distract them or others from the lesson.
My daughter's occupational therapist suggested her sitting on a ball while doing schoolwork. She has ADHD symptoms as a part of Asperger's due to sensory processing disorder. Balancing on the ball gives vestibular input (rocking back and forth) so it can help her body be more organized while trying to focus. There are lots of little things that can help: Jumping on a trampoline before doing work, brushing and joint compressions, bouncing on the ball, chewing on a Chewy Tube or gum, etc.
A client told me that a child who has ADD/ADHD can sit on an exercise ball and it will help him calm down and focus. She said the right parts of his brain are focused on balancing and that's how it works. She worked with a teacher who had one ball in the classroom and each kid would have it for a day at a time and there was always a big improvement with ADHD kids.
Some Moms Use Caffeine
I use coffee for my middle daughter instead of meds. It works for her and she loves the flavor of coffee. I haven't tried Mountain Dew but have heard of others using it.
My pediatrician actually suggested Mountain Dew for my oldest son. We did coffee instead of soda, though. He had a cup of coffee every morning before school and it really worked for him.
I give my eight-year-old son iced coffee in the morning (with honey instead of sugar and cream). It helps a lot! He also takes a 6oz can of Diet Mountain Dew to school and has it with his lunch. We don't medicate and this works for him.
My four-year-old has ADHD. If we will be somewhere it is really important for him to be calmer, we will medicate with coffee or a soda. The caffeine acts like medication but doesn't have the side effects. Both are stimulants and work the same way.
Occupational Therapy Helped These Moms
My kids have ADHD symptoms. My daughter was diagnosed with it and has obsessive tendencies but it turns out that her ADHD behaviors came from a problem with sensory processing and she has Asperger's. I'd check Sensory Processing Disorder out to see if that could be what's causing the behaviors of ADHD. All three of my kids have these issues and if your child has SPD they can get occupational therapy, which teaches you lots of ways to help them by working with their bodies. It is a lot like using a chiropractor. You learn ways to help their body regulate sensory input and ways to calm them. If she does have this the school would have to work with her by giving her an IEP and you can have solutions in place (such as giving her more breaks to get exercise in throughout the day so she can focus... hyper kids need lots of sensory input and exercise to stay focused). School districts can offer occupational therapy through the schools if she gets an IEP, which is an individualized education plan. I would definitely check into it. It has helped my kids so much and your doctor can refer her for an occupational therapy evaluation at any place that has outpatient occupational therapy. Along with diet and natural ways to heal the body it can really help!
Have you considered occupational therapy? Many kids with ADHD have sensory integration issues, and they are sensory seekers - they move and touch and have impulse issues because they are looking for sensory input. My son does a lot of heavy work (pushing and pulling) and my sensory seeker does a lot of jumping (mini trampoline has done wonders!). Just a thought. Meds don't always work for sensory seekers. So teaching them how to deal with it (even at nine and six; my boys' ages) can help with the crabbiness and anger.
Other Moms Say Diet and Supplements Make a Difference
I use mostly diet changes and adding vitamins since kids like this tend to be deficient in some vitamins.
Right now I am trying coffee, vitamins, minerals, fish oil and almonds. I have heard many success stories with fish oil so we're trying it. I am using a kid's 500mg omega 3. I have also heard many ADHD kids lack zinc, and almonds are high in zinc so he gets almonds every morning. When I do coffee, I give him a cup of coffee with 3 tablespoons of sugar free French vanilla powdered creamer and NO sugar or sugar substitute.
See Other Alternative Methods for Treating ADHD
My five-year-old son has ADHD and obsessive tendencies. Though they're not a major issue and we homeschool, our chiropractor does do some special adjustments and acupressure that really make a huge difference, especially with the obsessing.
I would just meet with an acupuncturist. They usually have a free consultation and can be really helpful. They will recommend diet adjustments specific to the symptoms. I truly believe in the power of traditional Chinese medicine. I would also stay away from soy and wheat since they affect hormones and mood.
Do a heavy metal detox. Just look online for one. It will tell you if the individual brand is child safe. Also try a gluten-free casein-free diet. I have friends who have used it with improvement; also chiropractic.
My son is ADHD, and we don't medicate. LOTS of patience! I usually distract my son with a book or something to do, but if he gets really out of control I take him for a walk or something until he calms down. FRESH AIR does wonders!