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How to Help your Child with ADHD Without Medicine
What ADHD Really Is
ADHD is Attention Deficit Disorder. About 6-7% of children are affected by this disorder and the majority are boys. It has about a 30-50% chance of lasting into adulthood. It is a neuorodevelopmental disorder. The cause is unknown. The only thing that is understood is the treatment. It takes changes in lifestyle, counseling, and medications. I am not a fan of medications available from doctors due to side affects. The signs of ADHD can be misinterpreted as a child being disobedient, energetic, lazy, etc. The symptoms include hyperactivity, talking excessively, restlessness, fidgeting, being easily distracted, not listening, etc. People who suffer from this disorder do have a challenge handling anger and social situations. Poor motor skills often happen and poor social skills also are a huge challenge with those suffering from this disease.
My Son Has ADHD
When my son was born I knew he was different. It was a gut feeling. Call it mother's intuition. He would cry and cry and not want to be left alone, put down, and he was really picky about his pacifier (he had to have the one they give you at the hospital). His father would tell me that our son was a normal baby, but I knew something was off. As time went on, it became more apparent. When was around 2 years old he started getting frustrated and mad at things that other kids wouldn't get upset about. He started to like Spiderman around this time. About 2 years later, when was 4, he could only pay attention to things pertaining to his superhero and would play alone when he was around other kids. He barely had self control. He had to run and get into whatever he could. He would have melt downs and act like he was 2 again. I was barely getting sleep because he hated to sleep. The only way I could get him to sleep was if he was in my bed. As soon as he awoke he would talk and talk. That was when I finally called Children's Resource Center. They set up an evaluation and assigned us a behavior therapist. I was feeling pretty thrilled to finally have some help.
Now he is 7 and he is in counseling and still seeing the same behavior therapist. We do give our son Chamomile if he cannot sleep and to help him calm down a bit. He is extremely smart when it comes to Math and Reading. He loves to watch and play video games. He will sit still and do those activities.
He has a hard time dealing with his anger and he will still throw fits like he is 2 years old. He is still restless and has anxiety. He bites his nails and fidgets. He gets scared easily and is violent at times. He doesn't have very many friends and still prefers to play alone. He often sits off by himself in school. He was in speech therapy for a while. His therapist suggested ADHD day camp for him this summer. My son is getting better day by day and we have high hopes that one day he will function normally one day.
Is ADHD Hereditary and What are the Natural Treatments?
According to webmd.com ADHD is hereditary. If a parent has ADHD then the child will have a 50% chance of having the disorder. It may also happen if a child has a low birth weight, born premature, or if the mother had pregnancy problems. My pregnancy was difficult. In my case, I bled from the point I was 11 weeks to about 24 weeks. I had developed the HELLP Syndrome at 35 weeks. I had an invisible rash, bad migraines, fatigue, nausea, high blood pressure, swelling everywhere, side and back pain, and I had vision problems. My son's placenta was basically calcified and he wasn't getting enough oxygen and nutrition. I had to have an emergency c-section and I was put to sleep in fear I would have a seizure. From what I am told, my son's umbilical cord was around his neck a few times. My son was born at 5lbs 4oz. He had to be in the NICU for 10 days.
It is proven that the nerve pathways in the brain do not work the same in people with ADHD. The areas in brain that are affected are important in activities such as response inhibition, memory, planning and organization, motivation, processing speed, inattention and impulsiveness. The good news is that there is hope without medications like Ritalin that have dangerous and long term side affects.
As I mentioned earlier there is Early Behavioral Intervention. I have a behavior therapist for my son and a therapist and he is responding very well to the therapy. Exercise and then reading or doing Math afterwards will help focus your child and help with motor skills. A half hour extra sleep time is highly beneficial. I am not a doctor, but I have been researching natural medications and remedies to help with symptoms of ADHD and I have tried a couple on my son and they have worked great.
Melatoninis a supplement found in the vitamin section in your local grocery store. It aids in sleep. Our brains naturally produce Melatonin and those with ADHD sometimes have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. I have given this to my son and he sleeps a good 10 hours when I give him the supplement.
Ginseng (both American and Asian) contain a class of phytochemicals known as ginsenosides. Ginsenosides are very potent antioxidants and have been shown to have neuroprotective properties. It protects the nerves in the brain from oxidative damage caused by ADHD. The ginsenosides raise the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Ginseng has no know side affects and is all natural and is very beneficial for those with ADHD.
Gingo biloba is know to improve memory and mental focus. It has antioxidents that protect the brain from free radicals and prevent neurodegeneration. Gingo also improves blood flow to the brain. Gingo acts like a stimulant because it helps neurotransmitters to act longer and improve attention and concentration.
Lemon Balm helps calm anxiety.
I have tried some of these treatments and they do work. My favorite is Calm Child. I do not have to worry about giving my son anything else and he does great in school and at home. I am not a doctor, but I am a mother of a son with ADHD and I know what works best for him. To decide what is best for you, I would ask your pediatrician and then your child's therapist.