Alternative Medicine for ADHD

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

While many of us may have been overly active every now and then as children, not all of us have ADHD. Those who do may seek out alternative therapies for their condition. This lesson goes over some common suggested alternative treatments.


Boys will be boys, as the saying goes. Sometimes they run around like crazy and can create general mayhem. It can just be part of being a child and nothing more. However, it may be s sign of something known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. This is a behavioral disorder that affects boys more often than girls.

Traditionally, therapy for ADHD includes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. There are, however, many different types of alternative medications that have been tried or suggested to help treat ADHD. The evidence for these treatments is commonly anecdotal and there is very little in terms of actual research, so keep this in mind while working through this lesson. Also, don't forget to always check with your healthcare provider before you start, stop, or change any medication or therapy.


It is believed by some that diet can influence the signs and symptoms of ADHD. There is no conclusive research that has been done but anecdotal evidence suggests there may be a connection. First, let's begin by going over some foods that may be eliminated from the diet in order to try to curb the symptoms associated with ADHD. The suggested diet should avoid:

  • Junk food
  • Sugar (anything that contains a lot of it)
  • Food with artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Common food allergens, such as peanuts, wheat, and dairy

A healthy diet, with respect to ADHD, is suggested to be an additive-free diet. That means using fresh foods and cooking meals yourself. Pre-packaged dinners, by default, would be out of the question. Some suggested foods to include in the diet are leafy greens and brown rice. This is because these foods contain a lot of B vitamins, which may help calm the nerves and thus alleviate some symptoms of ADHD.

Other potential foods that could be used in a diet to improve ADHD symptoms include whole grains, soy, chicken, and turkey. Why? These foods are high in tryptophan, a type of amino acid that may increase the levels of a certain biochemical in the body, such as serotonin, which many believe may help promote a healthy sleep/wake cycle.

Foods that are healthy for the brain are also encouraged. This means foods loaded with essential fatty acids. Examples of such foods include fish, like salmon, as well as flaxseeds and nuts.

Supplements & Homeopathy

Since fish is seen as a healthy diet alternative, some people simply take fish oil supplements. The focus should be on incorporating omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA.

Other supplements believed by some to help with ADHD include:

  • L-carnitine - This substance may act as an antioxidant and thus it may help fight off harmful things, like free radicals. It may also help improve the signs and symptoms of ADHD.
  • Calcium and magnesium - These two minerals might help the nervous system relax a bit.
  • Phosphatidylserine - This is a kind of brain nutrient that may help the brain cells work a bit better.
  • Ginkgo biloba - This is an herb that may help improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
  • Passion flower - This may help calm a child with ADHD.

Some people prefer even more alternative methods for dealing with ADHD, such as the use of homeopathy. For those interested in this, consultation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised. Such a practitioner may recommend the use of substances like Hyoscyamus Niger, which could help with impulsivity. Sulfur might help calm a hyperactive individual. Tarentula Hispanica is believed to help with restlessness. Again, please also consult with your regular healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or therapies.

Other Alternatives

Pressure point therapy, via the use of acupressure, may be helpful to some with ADHD. A point called Lung 1 could help relieve tension. Conception Vessel 12 may be helpful for the release of frustration. Peace and stillness can also be brought about via reflexology if someone decides to utilize the areas associated with the diaphragm and solar plexus.

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