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Treating ADHD without medication??

I haven't gotten my 6 year old son tested for ADHD yet, but all signs point to it. His dad had it as a kid as well. He is almost always hyper and loud, and had a lot of trouble keeping his concentration in class last year. Watching movies with him is almost impossible as he gets bored easily. I did a little research and found that too much tv, video games, and carbohydrates can play a huge part, which all of those are a part of his daily lifestyle. So, I want to start by giving him healthier meals... but he is THE pickiest eater. Wont touch any kind of vegetable at all. But he'll eat fruits. I'll also limit his tv and video games. I really don't know much about ADHD, and don't want to put him through all sorts of tests if its something I can fix on my own. Has anyone gone through any of this, and maybe have some suggestions for me?? Thank you in advance!

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:06 PM on Aug. 18, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (11)
  • You need to get him officially diagnosed before you start messing around. Some people swear by a gluten free-cassien free diet. Others swear that eliminating all red dyes/lake dies is the "miracle cure". Still others swear by Feingold's Elimination Diet.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 5:13 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • Look into 'play therapy' Also consider removing artificial food dyes and HFCS from his diet on a trial basis. Make sure he has a good energy outlet, soccer, gymnastics, karate... you get the idea.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 5:13 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • ADHD is not something you will be able to "fix or cure", however, you will be able to find ways to help him cope with this disorder. My son has severe ADHD and we ultimately had to put him on medicine, but we still use certain techniques to help him cope. Some ADHD kids do have a sensitivity to gluten which intensifies the symptoms. You can try the feingold diet to help rule out the gluten sensitivity. Also the biggest thing that has helped my son is being outdoors. Cont..


    Answer by JeremysMom at 5:17 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • I am a firm believer of Nature Deficit Disorder. Also, check out CHADD for resources on how to cope with ADHD- The biggest thing that you can do for your child is to have him tested. Take him to a pediatric psychologist. They will be able to do the testing there as well as offer therapy.


    Answer by JeremysMom at 5:17 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • OK, she bumped it so you can message her, and she asked me to give you this link for info:


    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:17 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • Another member wanted you to know : "She needs to have her son tested. My dd is gluten free and it helps. I knew she had it for more than two years before she got the diagnosis. The support of her psychiatrist was such a relief. Trying to "fix" ADHD on your own just makes life frustrating for evryone. *sigh* I wish I could tell her that having him tested is a good thing, and not to be afraid of it."


    "I just want her to know that having the diagnosis opens up so many resources, and she doesn't have to medicate. Besides, my dd thought all the little tests they did were fun! : )"

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:42 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • You have gotten a lot of good suggestions. I will tell you I am ADHD. I do know red dyes affect me. But I also know that getting exercise also helps me. However, everyone is different about what foods affect them. So what works for one, might not work for another, but I do recommend making sure that your child gets outside to play!

    Answer by ChasingBridges at 5:42 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • Dietary changes can do a lot - cutting out as much processed food as you can. Look for a variety of ways to prepare the veggies, so that you stand a better chance of finding a way he likes them. I hear roasting can be great with a lot of them, bringing out natural sugars that make them taste sweeter. If there are certain things he likes that you don't want to cut, look for less processed alternatives - for chips, slice some potatoes and bake them until crisp; bake cookies/brownies/etc yourself with whole wheat flour; get Breyer's ice cream (but without the preservatives, it does get freezer burned so only buy it when you will eat it).

    Fish oil can help, as well. Getting him outside to play as much as possible will also burn off a lot of that excess energy. Make sure he gets plenty of sleep, because if he's tired, that can make the symptoms worse.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:21 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • You do need an official diagnosis, though. While medication doesn't have to be an option, you need an official diagnosis to be able to get him an IEP or a...504 something, I can't remember the whole name, to help him with school IF he needs it.

    Don't agree to meds if you don't want to use them, but don't completely rule them out either. They were a last resort for us and I did eventually find that we were in a situation where I could take my boys off their meds. Sometimes it really does become necessary, so try everything else first, but be willing to consider the meds if nothing else works or doesn't work enough.

    Oh, and limiting screen time will help, but it's also a matter of what they see on that screen during their screen time - look for things that aren't necessarily going from thing to thing to thing. Think movies instead of, say, a Spongebob cartoon that has 2-3 different cartoons in 1 20 minute show.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:25 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

  • My stepson uses medication, but one other thing that helps him a lot is having a routine that changes as little as possible, and always letting him know what will come next. He tends to melt down if something unexpected comes up, like a snow day at school or a change in plans because someone has gotten sick. We can't always avoid those changes, but letting him know ahead of time does help.

    Answer by Ballad at 7:00 PM on Aug. 18, 2013

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