ADHD Alternative Treatments – Are They Really Effective?

By | August 10, 2016

ADHD alternative treatments provide options that many people explore when they are diagnosed with this disorder. Prescription medications are often used along with standard behavioral treatments to help treat the symptoms of ADHD. However, traditional treatments are not the only option available. Just a few of the alternative options available today include chiropractic medicine, Interactive Metronome training, dietary interventions, and neurofeedback, just to name a few. Here is a closer look at some of the available alternative treatments and whether they are really effective at treating ADHD symptoms.

Dietary Interventions

One of the controversial alternative treatment options for ADHD happens to be dietary intervention. However, research has actually shown that carbohydrates and processed sugars actually cause a fast increase in levels of blood glucose. When this occurs, it can cause more activity because of the rush of adrenaline that occurs because of the blood glucose rise. As the levels of adrenaline start to fall, the activity level usually decreases as well. Although there is not current proof that diets containing a lot of sugar actually can cause ADHD, many nutritionists actually advise that sugar levels be kept low in the diet of those with this disorder. Instead of eating simple processed sugars, patients are advised to eat more fiber to help keep adrenaline levels manageable. Foods high in fiber include those like oatmeal, other whole grains, fruits, and especially berries.

Another dietary intervention that is used as one of the ADHD alternative treatments is actually known as the Feingold Diet. The diet is an elimination diet that was designed by Ben Feingold, MD, and it included eliminating artificial flavors, preservatives, and colorings from the diet to reduce the amount of hyperactivity. Many studies have shown that this diet has little effect. However, some parents have tried this with success. Some people have tried to eliminate specific foods from their diet, trying to find which foods may be causing the problem. While it has worked for some, this dietary intervention does not have any evidence to prove it really works.

Behavioral Interventions

Behavioral interventions are also a method of alternative treatment for those suffering from ADHD. Various behavioral interventions are used, including sessions that offered parenting skills to groups of parents that had a child dealing with ADHD. Other programs combined parent education in child safety, understanding the behavior of the child, and focusing on helpful parenting skills as well. Both of these options have seen success, with research showing that both groups saw a decrease in the ADHD symptoms of their children.

Chiropractic Medicine

At this point, no research actually shows that chiropractic treatment is effective at treating ADHD. However, some chiropractors do believe that they can help patients with this disorder. The theory behind this is that imbalances in muscle tone can end up causing brain activity imbalances. Chiropractors work to adjust the spine of the patient, which is supposed to help restore balance to their brain as well. In many cases, the spinal adjustments done are used along with exposure to various sound and light frequencies. Other chiropractors have the theory that the skull is actually part of the spine and feel that any misalignment of the temporal bones and the sphenoid bone causes pressure that makes the brain stop working the way it should. Chiropractors treat by adjusting these bones. However, many doubt this treatment, since medicine shows that the bones of the cranium don’t actually move.

Interactive Metronome Training

Another of the potential ADHD alternative treatments out there today is Interactive Metronome training. This treatment involves listening to rhythmic beats that are computerized. While listening, the patient uses their hands or feet to mimic the beat. Then, the patient is told how well they matched the metronome’s beat. The idea behind this type of treatment is that timing deficits and motor planning are problematic for those with this disorder. The training helps patients to focus on something for a time period while monitoring their mental and physical actions and filtering out any distractions. Studies on Interactive Metronome training are showing some results with this type of treatment. Study results have shown that with this type of training, attention span, motor control, and behavior was improved significantly over time.

These are just a few of the current alternative treatment options that are available for ADHD today. While some have little evidence to back them up, others have been researched and proven to offer some great results. Medications do not have to be your only option when dealing with this disorder. Consider various alternative options and carefully consider the research behind them to find one that may provide you with the results you need.