Beyond Medical Methods
Alternative ADHD treatment ideas
Most people turn to medicines or behavior management to treat their ADHD. These methods have been used for over 50 years to treat ADHD. Some people turn to other forms of treatment called alternative treatments, which are a group of health care practices outside of conventional medicine. It is important to contact a doctor before using any alternative method for treating ADHD.
Treatment methods are considered proven when they have been tested and shown to work in groups of patients. Most individuals who use proven treatments find that they work. However, the role of alternative treatments in ADHD is still unclear. There is limited evidence on whether alternative treatments for ADHD are safe or effective. This is why it is very important that you discuss any alternative treatments with your doctor before proceeding. Some examples of alternative treatments for ADHD include:
Relaxation therapy with feedback: This seems to help patients who can’t take medication.
Vitamins: For those with a hormone or vitamin deficiency. See a doctor for more information about what and how many vitamins to take.
Change in diet: For some people with food allergies, avoiding certain foods can help them concentrate and focus.
Other alternative treatments are:
- Herbal supplements
- Sugar elimination diet
- Visual training
- Hearing training
It is important to do research before starting a treatment. An organization like the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov) is a good place to start. Don’t base your treatment decisions on others’ personal experiences. Discuss your ideas with your physician or another trusted health professional.
1. Arnold, L.E. Treatment alternatives for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In: Jensen, P., & Cooper, J. (eds.). (2002). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: State of the science, best practices. Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.
2. Richters, J.E., Arnold, L.E., Jensen, P.S., Abikoff, H., Conners, C.K., Greenhill, L.L., Hechtman, L., Hinshaw, S.P., Pelham, W.E., Swanson, J.M. (1995). NIMH collaborative multisite multimodal treatment study of children with ADHD: I. Background and rationale. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 987-1000.
3. Weber, W., & Newmark, S. (2007). Complementary and alternative medical therapies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 6, 983-1006.