Do you believe that medicine is the only way to deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Learn about the various ADHD therapies available and how you may best assist your child.
What are your alternatives for ADHD treatment?
It is not just about using medicine to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). There are a variety of additional treatments that can help children with ADHD improve their focus, manage impulsive behavior, and reduce hyperactivity.
A balanced treatment plan that includes nutritious meals, play, and exercise, learning new coping strategies, and developing social skills will enhance your child’s academic performance, strengthen their connections with others, and reduce stress and frustration for them and your entire family.
Medication for ADHD
Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are frequently recommended for ADHD, but they may not be the best option for your child—and they certainly are not the only option.
At least in the near term, ADHD medications may help your child concentrate or sit still. However, there is little proof that they help long-term educational attainment, relationships, or behavioral disorders. Medication will not fix all problems or eradicate the symptoms of ADHD, especially in the short term.
Furthermore, there are concerns regarding the potential consequences of these powerful medications on a developing child’s brain. Irritability, loss of appetite, and insomnia are only some of the negative side effects.
Medicine is a tool, not a cure.
ADHD medicine affects everyone differently. Some children see a significant improvement, while others see little to no improvement. The adverse effects vary from child to child, and they outweigh the advantages for some. Finding the right drug and dose takes time because everyone reacts differently.
When ADHD medication is used in conjunction with other treatments, it is more successful. If your child receives other treatments that teach new coping skills, they will get more from your medication.
Medication for ADHD should be closely monitored at all times. There is more to ADHD medication treatment than popping a pill and forgetting about it. Your kid’s doctor will need to keep track of side effects and how your child feels and alter the dosage as needed. When ADHD medicine is not closely controlled, it becomes less effective and more dangerous.
You do not have to keep your child on medicine indefinitely if you desire to do so. Although it is not a good idea to switch drugs frequently, you can safely decide to stop medicating your child for ADHD if things are not going well. If you wish your child to stop taking medicine, tell your doctor and work with them to gradually taper off the prescription.
Treatment for ADHD begins at home.
As a parent, you have a lot of say in how your child is treated. Evidence suggests that eating a good diet, exercising regularly, and making otherwise everyday decisions might help your child manage the symptoms of ADHD. That means your child can start ADHD therapy right now, at home.
Exercise’s effectiveness in the treatment of ADHD
Exercising is one of the most simple and effective strategies to alleviate ADHD symptoms. Physical activity raises dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain, affecting focus and attention. Exercise and ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall also function in this way. Exercise, unlike ADHD medicine, does not require a prescription and has no negative side effects.
Dance, gymnastics, martial arts, and skating are all helpful for kids with ADHD because they involve strict attention to body movements. Team sports are also an excellent option. They are interesting because of the social aspect.
The significance of sleep in the treatment of ADHD
Regular, good sleep can significantly reduce the symptoms of ADHD. However, many children with ADHD have difficulty sleeping at night. When sleep problems are caused by stimulant drugs, lowering the dose or quitting the prescription completely will alleviate the problem.
Sleep problems affect many children with ADHD who are not taking stimulants. The following advice can help if your child is one of them.
- Make a bedtime routine (and enforce it).
- If your child is awakened by background noise, try a sound machine or a fan.
- At least an hour before bedtime, turn off all devices (TV, computer, games, phones).
- Evening physical exertion should be limited.
ADHD symptoms can be reduced with proper nutrition.
When it comes to managing ADHD, studies show that what you eat and when you eat make a difference.
Regular meals or snacks should be spaced no more than three hours apart. This will help maintain your youngster’s consistent blood sugar level, reducing irritation and promoting concentration and focus.
Try to include some protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal or snack. These foods will improve your child’s alertness while reducing hyperactivity.
Check the zinc, iron, and magnesium levels in your child. Many ADHD youngsters are deficient in these vital nutrients. Increasing their levels may aid in the management of ADHD symptoms. Iron supplementation may be very beneficial. According to one study, an iron supplement relieves symptoms almost as much as stimulant medication.
Increase your child’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been shown in studies to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve concentration in children (and adults) with ADHD. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and some fortified eggs and milk products contain omega-3s. Fish oil pills are the simplest approach to increasing your child’s intake.
Professional ADHD treatment
Although there are numerous ways to manage a child with ADHD at home, you may want to seek professional assistance at some point. ADHD experts can assist you in developing a successful treatment plan for your child. Because ADHD is best treated with a combination of treatments and methods, seeing numerous specialists is recommended.
You could contact your primary care physician, your child’s pediatrician, area hospitals, or clinics to identify ADHD treatment providers. Your insurance company, school officials, or a local parent support group are good places to look for provider references.
Psychiatrists for children and adolescents:
- ADHD is diagnosed, and meds are prescribed.
- Diagnosis of ADHD and talk therapy
- Assist people with ADHD in exploring their emotions.
Therapists that specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy:
- Create behavioral change programs at school, work, and at home.
- Establish specific behavior and accomplishment targets.
- Assist families and teachers in keeping rewards and consequences in check.
- Teach students how to succeed in school.
- Assist students in obtaining school accommodations.
- Provide families with information regarding assistive technology.
ADHD behavioral therapy
Behavioral therapy, also known as behavior modification, has been an effective treatment for ADHD youngsters. It is especially helpful as a co-treatment for children on stimulant drugs, and it may even allow you to reduce the medication’s dosage.
Behavior therapy reinforces desired behaviors with rewards and praise while reducing harmful behaviors with limitations and penalties. For example, a teacher can credit a child with ADHD for taking little steps toward raising their hand before speaking in class, even if the youngster still says something inappropriate. According to the notion, rewarding the battle to change increases the full adoption of the new behavior.
With the guidance of a behavioral specialist such as a cognitive-behavioral therapist, you can create a customized behavioral modification program for your child with ADHD. A cognitive-behavioral therapist concentrates on real-world solutions to problems. This type of therapist can put up a rewards and consequences behavioral modification program for your child at home and school and assist you in molding your child’s conduct.
Because persons with ADHD have frequently fluctuating symptoms, patience is essential for behavioral therapy. Your youngster may act admirably one day and then revert to old habits the other day. It may appear like the training is ineffective at times. Be patient because behavioral treatment improves the symptoms of ADHD with time.
Training in social skills
Social skills training is another therapy option because children with attention deficit disorder typically struggle with simple social interactions. Social skills training is usually done in a group environment, with a therapist demonstrating proper behaviors. A social skills club teaches kids to “read” other people’s reactions and behave better. The social skills group should also work on using these skills in the real world.
Request a referral from your school psychologist or a local mental health clinic for a social skills group near you.
Supporting your child’s ADHD treatment with these suggestions
Children with ADHD frequently struggle to transfer their knowledge from one context to another. They may have learnt to suppress spontaneous outbursts at school, but they impatiently interrupt others at home.
Children with ADHD require consistency to support positive change in all situations. Parents of children with ADHD should learn how to use behavioral therapy strategies. When tasks occur in predictable patterns and settings, children with ADHD are more likely to complete them because they know what to expect and what they are meant to do.
Maintain a routine. Setting a time and place for everything is critical in helping a child with ADHD comprehend and meet expectations. Establish simple and predictable eating, homework, play, and bedtime rituals.
Use timers and clocks. Consider putting clocks all over the house, with a large one in your child’s room. Allow enough time for your youngster to complete their tasks, such as homework or getting ready in the morning.
Make your child’s schedule more manageable. While avoiding idle time is a good thing, too many after-school activities may cause a child with ADHD to become even more distracted and “wrapped up.”
Make a peaceful environment. Make sure your child has their own calm, private environment. A porch or a bedroom can be effective if it is not the same location where the youngster takes a time-out.
Set a good example of organization. Make your home as organized as possible. Ascertain that your child understands that everything has its proper place. Promote neatness and organization as much as possible.
If you are interested in more articles like this, here’s an article about understanding ADHD in adults.