Basic knowledge about ADD/ADHD indicates that there is no cure for this disorder. This is something that those diagnosed will probably need to cope with throughout their lifetime. However, as long as parents educate themselves, keep an open mind and are willing to work with their child to find what works best for him – ADD/ADHD children can have every opportunity to excel and succeed at anything they wish.
Keeping this in mind, let’s consider some of the better alternatives to medication for treating ADD/ADHD.
Neuro-Cognitive Training for ADD/ADHD
ADD/ADHD is presently defined as a neuro-behavioral disorder, referring to abnormalities in the structure and/or chemistry of the brain. It is only relatively recently that attention has been given to the cognitive aspect of ADD/ADHD.
“Cognitive” refers to mental processes such as how the brain perceives information, remembers, learns and thinks – basically the way the parts of the brain work together to make sense of the world.
Attention and concentration are central to cognitive functioning in general – but these are not the only difficulties in ADD/ADHD. In fact, two other cognitive abilities may be even more important in explaining this disorder: working memory and executive functions.
Neuro-Cognitive Training treats the root causes of ADD/ADHD.
This approach combines all of the benefits of Neurofeedback (see below) with clinically proven training for critical cognitive abilities. While strengthening such abilities as response speed, continuous and selective attention, impulse control and working memory – the brain’s activity is also brought to an optimal and balanced level of attention.
Neurofeedback (also called EEG Neurotherapy)
Research shows that individuals with ADD/ADHD have different levels and patterns of brainwave activity. Generally, ADD/ADHD brains show slower brainwave activity than non-ADHD (more theta and less beta brainwaves).
The idea of neurofeedback is to measure this activity, and then gradually train the brain to quicken and balance its brainwave activity. This treatment has gained quite a bit of attention over the past years due to growing evidence showing its effectiveness with treating ADD/ADHD. However, it is a very expensive treatment due to the kind of equipment and length of the treatment.
Emotional Therapies for ADD/ADHD
Whether art therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, drama therapy or the more classic psychotherapy – treating the emotional results of a child’s ADD/ADHD is often helpful.
When undiagnosed or untreated, ADHD can generate experiences of failure and social difficulties for children. Perhaps one of the more complex challenges of dealing with ADD/ADHD – these experiences can lead to secondary symptoms of lowered self-esteem or a sense of helplessness and inability to achieve goals.
This is where emotional therapies come in – and can help children sort through their emotions and come to terms with what ADD/ADHD is. It can help give them a sense of proportion in understanding their strengths intrinsic self-worth.
Nutrition & Diet for ADD/ADHD
Food and supplements are generally a good place to start, particularly if food allergies are involved – but additional strategies are generally required to get the best results.
Much research supports the claim that artificial flavors, sweeteners and other additives can cause hyperactivity and lack of concentration – as well as a host of other health problems. The bottom line looks to be that if your child’s ADD/ADHD is triggered or caused by food allergies, it can be changed simply through diet. Because it is so simple it is worth checking – even if just to rule it out.
It is also worth the time to check for nutritional deficiencies. Zinc, low B vitamin levels, low magnesium and low levels of amino acids are most commonly found in individuals with ADHD. All of these are required for proper functioning over time, and can be easily changed with a balanced diet, supplements and vitamins.
Recent developments show positive evidence from essential fats and trace minerals for ADD/ADHD. One of the more impressive findings is from Omega 3 supplement – especially when taken together with Omega 6 fatty acids.
These are some of the better-known – and better researched – alternative treatments for ADD/ADHD. If you’re a parent looking for the right treatment to give your child the ability to succeed and grow, without sacrificing his long-term health – all of the above treatments are well-worth considering.
In the end, it’s finding the right combination to help your child overcome his ADD/ADHD, and show his full potential!