Meds aren’t the only relief. Natural solutions are the best ADHD treatments.
In the United States, children, as well as otherwise healthy adults, are dependent on a wide variety of ADHD medications, but so are a lot of otherwise healthy adults. Take Ben, for instance, a 30-year-old guitarist and composer who emphasizes healthy living, is dependent on Vyvanse, an expensive ADHD drug. Then there’s Fran, a 34-year-old homesteading community leader who relies on Ritalin. adhd treatments
Both take great pains to live a healthy life but have no problems taking prescription ADHD drugs they’ve grown reliant on. Neither of them are ashamed to admit it. They accept both the complicated whirl of short-term and long-term side effects, ranging from insomnia and headaches to heart issues and depression, as long as they can live a focused and productive life. Or as Ben puts it: “I’d rather die at 40 and have the energy and focus to do everything I want now, rather than the alternative.” adhd treatments
Unfortunately, many people believe, like Ben, that prescription drugs are the only way to control their ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) symptoms. About 4 percent of American adults over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis. And, there’s been a 42 percent increase over the past eight years among children being diagnosed with the condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have the attention disorder, and 6 percent of these children take ADHD medication.
Many of these people are misdiagnosed in the first place; an addiction to sugar and/or carbs can spark ADHD symptoms and can simply be treated by a shift in diet and perspective.
ADHD In Its Various Manifestations
ADHD can manifest in several different ways and is unique in each individual.
An inability to stay focused and stay on task, and a tendency to be disruptive in a group situation, are the most identifying characteristics. ADHD is divided into three types: inattentive, hyperactivity, and impulsive.
According to Elizabeth Moriarty, herbalist and formulator of Superior CBD:
ADHD/ADD is a fairly controversial diagnosis. It is characterized by difficulty choosing the subject of focus, disorganization, hyperactivity/impulsiveness, problems with sleeping, irritability, and an emotionally-blunted response to external stimuli.
Individuals who are inattentive are easily distracted, quickly bored with a task (unless they find it enjoyable), lose things, do not appear to listen when spoken to, are easily confused, and have a hard time processing information. Hyperactivity symptoms include fidgeting and squirming, incessant talking, trouble sitting still, and difficulty completing quiet tasks or activities. adhd treatments
According to a 2015 scientific report, people who suffer from ADHD are twice as likely to die prematurely and have a lower life expectancy. Their lack of general focus makes them more prone to accidents — dangerously fatal ones.
ADHD Treatments With Prescription Drugs
Typical ADHD treatments involve prescription drugs like Ritalin and Adderall and come with a host of side effects.
Ritalin (methylphenidate) stimulates the central nervous system and affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that are instrumental in hyperactivity and impulse control. Not only is it habit forming it comes with a host of serious side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, weight loss, vomiting, and heart issues.
Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which also affects the central nervous system and brain chemistry and has been used to control the effects of ADHD. So basically it’s part speed. This medication is classified as a psychostimulants and the side effects include insomnia, headaches, abdominal pain, aggression, weight loss, heart issues, and depression. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued warnings such as stunted growth and psychiatric problems.
Effective And Natural ADHD Treatments
You can experience radical shifts with natural ADHD treatments, and there are plenty of research studies that back this up.
Marijuana on its own has a reputation for making people less focused. However, when largely isolated from THC (the compound responsible for psychoactive mind-altering effects), the cannabidiol (C B D) compound found in marijuana is extremely effective at relieving ADHD symptoms.
Scientists have associated ADHD with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Persons with this deficiency have slowed-down neurotransmitters speed, which affects a person’s ability to focus. adhd treatments
According to Moriarty:
The endocannabinoid system has a sweeping influence on cognition, immune response/inflammation, pain perception, emotion, and sleep. Further, the endocannabinoid system appears to have a strong impact on a number of brain health conditions. The blocking of CB1 receptors has been linked to behavioral effects consistent with antidepressant activity, and anandamide — a valuable endocannabinoid — is shown to relieve chronic pain associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.
High-grade C B D supplements help enhance the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, and thus cut to the heart of the issue.
Some ADHD symptoms are associated with HPA axis/adrenal insufficiency/chronic stress response. This helps to explain the overlapping presentations of ADHD, anxiety/depression, and insomnia. Cannabidiol (CBD) appears to have similar effects on the overlapping symptoms of these conditions, with an enhancement in feelings of well-being and improvements in mood, emotional expression, communication, memory, focus, performance, and sleep.
Research studies support C B D’s positive effects in enhancing mood and combating anxiety disorders. There have also been promising studies on how boosting the endocannabinoid system can combat chronic stress, anxiety, and chronic pain.
A 2004 Brazilian study found subjects who were treated with CBD reported significantly decreased anxiety and increased mental sedation. Brain imaging tests suggested that such effects were mediated in specific regions of the brain. Early research suggests that C B D consumption can also help induce richer sleep — in particular, it may block rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
According to cannabis researcher, Dr. David Bearman, cannabis appears to be one of the effective ADD and ADHD treatments because it increases the availability of dopamine. This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin and dexedrine amphetamine (brand name: Dexedrine), which act by binding to dopamine and interfering with its metabolic breakdown.
Meanwhile, a 2015 German research study studied the effect of daily doses of C B D on 30 patients that did not respond to Ritalin or Adderall. Subjects experienced a relief of ADHD symptoms, including “improved concentration and sleep, and reduced impulsivity.”
Twenty-two of those 30 patients opted to discontinue prescription drug use after the study and instead stick to C B D. Researchers attest that standard medications are more demanding on patients, while C B D enables them to work, love, and live without an intoxicated feeling.
As more research is currently underway on this topic, many people have been self-medicating themselves and their children with C B D — with amazing results.
Megan Harris-Shudark has been treating her 6-year-old son, who has hyperactive ADHD, with C B D for several months now. She describes how severe his symptoms were before C B D: “He couldn’t typically sit through dinner without getting up or getting distracted. He also had several outbreaks and tantrums.” Since he started with C B D, he has been able to sit through dinner without getting up, focus and concentrate on school work, and has no more tantrums or outbursts. He takes five drops under the tongue of the oil daily in the morning, and occasionally, on days when his symptoms are stronger, his mom diffuses it in his room at night.
There’s No Denying C B D Is Changing Lives. Click Here To Discover How The Combination Of Hemp Oil And Capsules Can Revolutionize Your Health
2. Brain/Cognition Enhancing Supplements
- GABA ( Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain and is the second most abundant amino acid in the brain. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system, which makes it an effective alternative treatment for ADD and ADHD. It is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, teas, and red wine. However, it’s best to take it in supplement form to ensure you are getting a strong daily dose. It has no side effects, and many ADHD patients report it works as a good replacement for prescription drugs.
- Zinc: This mineral regulates the neurotransmitter dopamine and also improves the brain’s response to dopamine. Low levels of zinc correlate with inattention.
- Iron: This is another mineral that contributes to making dopamine. According to one study, 84 percent of ADHD children they tested had low levels of ferritin (a measure of iron).
- Magnesium is used to make dopamine and other neurotransmitters involved in attention and concentration, and it has a calming effect on the brain.
- B Vitamins: Like the minerals above, B vitamins are also important in the syntheses and functioning of neurotransmitters. What’s more, they help regulate carbohydrate metabolism. The “sugar rush” that makes ADHD children and adults so crazy is even more pronounced in someone who is deficient in certain B vitamins.
- Omega-3s: These fatty acids are essential to brain and nerve cell function. A recent study concluded that daily doses of omega-3s reduced ADHD symptoms by 50 percent.
- Rhodiola Rosea: This herb stimulates clarity, focus, and accuracy. It is recommended for ADHD teenagers, adults, and especially college or grad school students who have to spend long hours reading and writing papers. It may be too overstimulating for younger children.
- Bacopa Monieri: This herb is safe for both children and adults who suffer from ADHD. When combined with lemon balm, it can calm the mind. It’s another excellent herb to take for serious students and other professionals who need focus time.
- Ginkgo biloba: These herbs are cognitive activators They act like stimulants, without the side effects of ADHD medication. Typically, adults and children who take ginkgo improve on ADHD rating scales, and are less impulsive and distractible. Asian ginseng may overstimulate younger children. If this happens, switch to American ginseng.
3. An optimized ADHD diet effectively reduces the effects of ADHD. In China, where ADHD rates have been rising rapidly, diet changes have eliminated the need for prescription drugs for a large percentage of children.
While traditional medicine has long held that gut health is crucial to overall physical and mental health, the past 10 years of research has significantly supplanted these systems with a greater understanding of the mechanisms of action by which the gut-brain axis functions.
Here are some ways to optimize your Anti-ADHD diet:
- Eat Protein: Protein-rich foods improve brain function and reduce ADHD symptoms. Protein contains crucial long-chain amino acids that are responsible for repairing the body. The body uses proteins to make neurotransmitters, chemicals brain cells use to communicate amongst themselves. ADHD has been linked to impaired neurotransmitter activity and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. So getting a healthy dose in protein may be one of the key ways to solve this issue. Protein also stabilizes blood sugar levels, preventing blood sugar surges, which are linked to hyperactivity.
- Opt For Organic: According to a study published in Pediatrics, pesticides found on fruits and vegetables may trigger ADHD. Organophosphates is one of the pesticides that shows a specific link.
- Avoid Artificial Dyes And Preservatives: Studies published in The Lancet, Pediatrics, and The Journal of Pediatrics suggest that some children with ADHD are adversely affected by food additives. A recent study indicates that artificial food coloring and flavors, as well as the preservative sodium benzoate, make some kids without ADHD hyperactive.
- Avoid Foods That Cause Allergies. According to recent studies, gluten, wheat, corn, and soy cause some children and adults to lose focus and become more hyperactive.
- Avoid Sugar And Carbs: A study conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets increases inattention. And, consuming simple processed carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta, is almost the same as eating sugar! Even more complex carbohydrates do the opposite trick as proteins by negatively affecting brain function and mood. These foods have a high glycemic index, which means they stimulate the pancreas to secrete high levels of insulin, causing sugar to empty quickly from the blood into the cells. So, both sugar and carbs lead to crazy ADHD frenzies.
4. Improve Your Gut Flora With Probiotics
Research on the connection between the gut and brain illustrates that icrobiota influences brain development and behavior. So, one of the smartest ways to enhance gut flora and ensure healthy neurochemicals and brain development, is by taking quality probiotics.
Probiotics can also help eliminate and prevent regrowth of Candida, a yeast in the GI tract that can overgrow when the normal GI flora are out of balance. Studies link Candida to leaky gut and many mental health disorders, including ADHD.
If possible, it’s best that children take probiotics in their early years. A recent study, published in the journal Pediatric Research, evaluated 75 infants who were randomized to either receive a specific probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, or a placebo during the first six months of life. The study continued to follow these children until they turned 13. By that age, ADHD or autism was diagnosed in 17.1 percent of the children in the placebo group. However none of the subjects in the group receiving the probiotic were diagnosed with these diseases. This shows a clear connection between healthy gut flora and healthy brain function.
5. Lifestyle Changes
According to Ayurvedic medicine, ADHD patients should have a set routine, reduce their exposure to screens and EMF (the electromagnetic field), initiate periodic relaxation periods of 10 minutes or more, and replace pharmaceuticals with calming herbal teas like brahmi, valerian, and St. John’s Wort. For children, it’s a good idea to give them a massage before bedtime and make sure that they know that they are loved. The more parents are involved in the child’s life, the more the child will be able to control their symptoms.
Exercise, music, and time spent outdoors are also effective ADHD treatments that reduce symptoms. Studies show that exercise for at least 30 minutes can better organize thought processes and focus. Outdoor sports and adventures are even more effective. Studies show that children who play a musical instrument are better at working as a team and taking tests and can move from one task to another more easily than those who do not.
Linda Miriam Aziz-Zadeh is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about preserving the natural beauty and wonder of our bodies, this planet, and the world. She is the cofounder of Crunchy Buzz, a health and wellness digital marketing agency.
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