There are a wide range of medications that physicians or therapists commonly prescribe for a child diagnosed with ADHD. However, the list of side effects associated with each formulation often poses a cause for concern. Depression, headaches and insomnia along with the possibility of developing psychological addiction, brain or cardiac damage are some of the reasons that parents often look elsewhere for symptomatic relief.
Nutritional specialists may recommend determining if the child has a particular deficit. Discovering an underlying cause makes treating the problem less of a guessing game. Nutritionists might also make suggestions based on a child's symptoms.
• Essential fatty acids are vital for proper brain function and behavioral regulation. A 12-week double blind study revealed that when a group of children received a fatty acid supplement combined with arachidonic acid daily, each youngster displayed dramatic improvement. The supplement provided contained 480 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid, 186 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid, 96 milligrams of gamma-linolenic acid, 864 milligrams of linoleic acid and 42 milligrams of arachidonic acid.
• Flaxseed oil and vitamin C in doses of 400 milligrams and 25 milligrams respectively was provided to children twice daily for three months with positive results.
• Magnesium deficiencies have been diagnosed in some children with ADHD. A controlled study involved giving affected children 200 milligrams of magnesium daily over a six month period. The supplement successfully reduced hyperactivity.
• B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids stabilize neuron communication in some children, which results in elevated mood, increased focus and cognitive function. Children may take 50 milligrams of a B-complex supplement along with 100 to 200 milligrams of fish oil.
When at home, ensure that the child has a structured routine. The regimen might include a list of regular chores, allotted play time, homework and quiet time. Limit time spent on electronic gadgets or playing video games as these activities tend to fragment attention span. Physical massage and relaxation techniques are recommended by some physicians to encourage calmness. Physical touch has been shown to provide a powerful healing effect. Offer back rubs or foot massages at bedtime to trigger relaxation.
Back to Nature
Parents often believe that allowing children to play outdoors enables them to eliminate excess nervous energy, which encourages natural fatigue and relaxation. However, a group of researchers performed a study in 2008 on more than 400 children exposed to landscaped parks, downtown areas and residential neighborhoods. Attention and focus evaluations following the outdoor walks found that children exposed to natural environment of the park scored much higher. In lieu of the study findings, the researchers recommend that ADHD children have the chance to play in open fields, wooded areas or other natural landscapes.