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5 Reasons The Answer for ADHD May Not Be Meds

Geoff Nixon

By Geoff Nixon

Medications Carry Risks That Natural Treatments Avoid

Medications are the go to answer for ADHD and ADD because in most cases they do reduce symptoms for adults and children.  They target the symptoms one by one–inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. However, medications have a number of side effects, some serious.

Perhaps even more importantly they are a coping tool only.  They do not change the underlying learning, sensory or behavioral issues causing the ADHD.  Once a child goes off his ADHD meds, the symptoms will most likely return.

At one time, medications were the only answer for ADHD.  Now, thanks to a significant about of research in this fields there are other options for treating ADD and ADHD.  None are as instant and immediate in effectiveness as taking a pill, but many claim improvements that are enduring.

Here are five reasons to at least explore other options for ADHD treatment before resorting to drugs:

#1. Concerns About The Effect on the Developing Brain

It is not yet fully known how ADD or ADHD medication affects a child’s brain over the many years of use. There is some concern that the use of ADHD drugs in children might cause problems with the brain’s development. It is known that ADHD medications alter brain neurotransmitters. But, it is not known exactly how the brain adapts to the changes in neurotransmitters prompted by the medication.

#2. Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of ADHD medications include loss of appetite, sleepiness, headache, mood swings, racing heart beat and other heart-related problems. In addition, studies have found that stimulant medications can cause death in both adults and children that have heart conditions.

#3. Psychiatric Problems

Stimulants that are used to treat ADD and ADHD can trigger or worsen symptoms of aggression, hostility, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. People with a past history of depression, bipolar disorder, as well as suicide are at an even greater risk.

#4. Potential for Abuse

Abuse of stimulant ADHD medications is a serious problem. Teens and young adults are especially at risk for abuse of these drugs. ADHD medications are abused by college students who use the drugs to help them have more energy, especially around finals time. Others misuse stimulant medications for their weight-loss effects. This is an important factor to consider when deciding whether meds are the answer for ADHD in your child.

#5. Medication Alone Often Isn’t Enough

Even when medication is used, it is often not enough to combat all of the symptoms of ADHD. Some children do not even respond to medications for ADD or ADHD or the medications stop working. Many effective medications become ineffective over time.

Treat The Cause — An Alternative Answer For ADHD

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do that will help you or your child overcome the challenges of ADD and ADHD and lead a better life. With the right approach and tools, you can effectively manage a lot of the symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Even if you choose medication for yourself or your child, practicing habits that promote health and utilizing other tools may reduce the need for medications.

Other things that can help make a difference in the management of ADD and ADHD include exercising on a consistent basis. Physical activity increases key neurotransmitters in the brain including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. All of these neurotransmitters have been found to have an effect on attention and focus.

Eating a healthy diet is also vitally important. Diet has an effect on one’s symptoms, mood, and energy levels. Getting plenty of sleep is a key part of ADD and ADHD management. It is important to get quality sleep on a regular basis as this can help improve focus and concentration.

Natural treatments that improve concentration, working memory, and reduce impulsivity, distraction, and inattentiveness can be very helpful in the treatment of ADHD. Some use physical exercises, some use brain waves to reinforce focus and others work on the language processing delays that undermine learning engagement.

Gemm Learning’s programs work not the latter, processing.  We use brain-based exercises that work to improve the challenges caused by inattentive ADD. The adaptive exercises help to create new neural circuits that build learning focus and efficiency.

Before Treatment Identify The Underlying Cause

Remember that medication alone is not the sole treatment for ADHD. There are a number of alternative therapies and software programs that get at the various causes of ADHD.  All of the most popular programs tackle different causes of ADHD.  For instance Fast ForWord works on language processing, Interactive Metronome and Balametrics work on sensory integration.

It is also true that attentiveness requires a level of maturity. Many hyperactive 6 year olds, are just that, 6 years old — we call it six-year-old-itis.  Most will grow out of their youthful exuberance … unfortunately!

And so, before turning to medication, seek help in identifying the source of ADHD in your child and then try one of the treatments out there.  For many children, it’s one and done.  One round of treatment and the ADHD symptoms are reduced to the point of being manageable.

Only after 1-2 of these treatments have failed should you consider medication as a semi-permanent solution.  Even if you do decide to medicate early, that does not mean you should stop searching for a permanent solution.

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