Statistics say ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavior disorder. That should come as little surprise to parents who themselves are trying to cope with a modern lifestyle of continuous blips of info coming at us head-on from a multitude of screens.
What also probably comes as no surprise, is that the expressions of the disorder – hyperactivity, impulsivity, distractibility, inappropriate levels of attention and concentration – are most commonly treated with prescription drugs.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Progressive moms (and dads) who are into taking charge of their health, instead of just “taking a pill” would like to know if there are better ways to treat hyperactivity in their kids. The good news is, there are many alternative and successful treatments for kids with ADHD that are drug free.
Research with brain-mapping technology has revealed a lot about how the brain and the body work together. We now know much more about how the brain gets its messages from the way the body’s senses react with the environment. There is scientific research that suggests those with ADHD either do not produce enough of certain neurotransmitters – the chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another – or that there are fewer connections between nerve cells. Either way, whether there are not enough connections, or the messages are not getting though, that is what conventional medicine tries to repair with drugs.
However, alternative practitioners believe, and have proven, you can get the same, and in many cases better results, by taking a drug-free and holistic approach to solving the same problems. These strategies often focus on methods to create balance, harmony, and speed up any delays in communication between nerve cells and the two halves of the brain.
Getting In Synch
Many times parents of kids with ADHD, say something just seems “to be off” with their children. According to alternative medical professionals, they are right. Kids with ADHD seem “out of synch” because in way, they are. Certain brain-based and holistic therapies have been designed to restore what the alternative practitioner sees as an imbalance or lack of optimal timing and synchronization with the connections and communication in the brain. This “reboot” if you will, is accomplished with nutritional support, techniques such as chiropractic neurological adjustments, and movement therapy, in combination with a family participation program.
Dr. Franklin, a South Florida practitioner of these kinds of therapies says, “The brain should run like a symphony — synchronized in perfect timing, but environment and/or lifestyles today cause the wires that fire from body to brain–the nerve circuits–to be unbalanced. Our environment and food is not the additive free, chemical free, the natural food our parents and grandparents had, and diet drives the information the brain receives. I’ve seen elimination of foods that are triggers for kids and then drastic changes in behavior follows. There’s a reason kids spin, roll, swing, this all keeps them in balance too, but today kids sit in from of computers, so their systems may not know how to play together, work together in optimal balance–just like optimal software for the computer brain.”
Other Alternative Treatments for Kids With ADHD
Dr. Regina Olmos uses a unique audio visual stimulation technique which research has shown improves cognitive abilities in learning disabled children, including ADHD. Dr. Olmos reports exciting success stories. “I have a parent whose son went from taking 5 hours to complete homework down to 20 minutes.” She describes her ABS device to kids and families like as a “brain gym.”
“It stimulates your brain to think better and faster. The light and sound stimulation creates new pathways to help remember better and understand information like math easier. It also re-regulates erratic brainwave activity, calming them down without the use of medication.”
Garbage in – Garbage Out
Gayle Stolove, owner and operator of Wholly Macrobiotics, beyond being an RN and LMN is a professionally trained private consultant and counselor on macrobiotics based on Traditional Oriental Medicine, and has worked with teens and young adults with ADHD. Stolove feels ADHD stems from both physical and psychological imbalances. “I see what people eat, even when they are trying to eat well. It is not real food. Everything is packaged, processed, and full of various additives. The few vegetables people use are limited to nightshades and non-hardy veggies such as lettuce, potatoes, etc. My advice would be to get back to absolute basics: Whole grains, beans, and an assortment of fresh vegetables. Reduce the focus on the summery yin vegetables, use more ground and root vegetables. ADHD in the oriental medicine view is a case of extremes and being wound up too tight, not enough focused energy in the brain, so calming foods are needed such as ground and root vegetables. These types crave sugar in an attempt to unwind, but sugar only increases the agitated unfocused condition. Complex sugars like winter squashes, caramelized onions, carrot purees are better.” Additionally, she works with parent child relationships. “Meal times need to be regular, a routine needs to be followed, but not too rigid. Emotions need to be consistent, fair, and appropriate. These children and teens need a lot of support to feel secure, and feel they are accepted for who they are so that they don’t need to act out, and need to be gently reminded of their part of the “equation” every time they lose focus. Repetition and positive reinforcement eventually teaches them to focus. Start small, repeat the normal way to act / react, over and over again until they show a flash of understanding, then remind them of that and move on to the next form of inappropriate reaction / behavior and repeat the process. Never, never reward with candy!!
Putting It in Focus
These are just a few methods of looking at and treating ADHD naturally. There are many others. One or a combination may be right for your child. But the one thing all of these practitioners would agree on is this, the purpose of any alternative treatment is to make your child feel loved, accepted, and nourished – and that is something that cannot come from a prescription bottle!