Natural Remedies for ADHD, Do they Work? (Guest Post)

Please welcome my friend Jennifer from ADHDaze, who sheds some light on natural remedies for ADHD.   (I am grateful to have found her, as we travel similar paths.  Both of us have children and husbands with ADHD.) 

If you do a google search for ADHD, half the results will come back with some natural treatment.  Do these really work?  I am more of a show me the Scientifical-proof mom than let’s kneel by our bed and pray type…but to each their own.  I’m making no judgements here.  The truth is we all want what’s best for our loved ones but the myriad of options is dizzying (and who has the time or patience to try it all) so I thought I would share with you a few things that have worked in our house.

Dietary Supplements  

As if ADHD isn’t difficult enough to manage, one of the top natural remedies is making a change to their diets.  One school of thought is to address the deficiencies in the brain through vitamins and supplements.  Let’s focus on dietary supplements. My daughter currently takes this multivitamin with Omega 3  and an iron supplement.  We have discussed supplements with Pickle’s (not her real name) doctors and visited a nutritionist.

In my research the evidence for adding dietary supplements is all over the place.  In reality, despite my best efforts I know my kids are not eating the perfect diet.  For example, I try (and try and try) to get them to eat seafood but it is mostly met with groans.  The vitamins insure that they are getting their daily minimum of the nutrients that some studies suggest may be beneficial to alleviating the symptoms of ADHD.  At our last visit to the psychiatrist, she mentioned some new studies showing improvement in ADHD with a supplement, Vayarin. We still were not convinced that it was the right choice for Pickles because there are risks; for example, an increase in Omega 3 could cause high cholesterol.  We will wait on this one for now but I will keep on top of the latest research.

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Let’s Get Social

As a new parent I believed my children would naturally pick up social skills as my husband and I modeled good behavior.  Of course, I expected the normal bumps in the road like when they didn’t keep their hands and feet to themselves or continually interrupted my conversations.  It wasn’t until a doctor had told us that Pickles had sensory issues that I began to understand that social skills had to be taught at a whole other level to kids with developmental delays.

Eye contact was too intense for her, but it gave off the vibe that she wasn’t listening to others in conversations.  When she was in preschool and early elementary school she struggled with defining personal space.  Pickles still struggles with interrupting my conversations but she has finally conquered the skill of raising her hand in class before shouting out the answer.  I was doing everything I read in parenting books and it wasn’t working.  So when I first heard about Social Skills training, I was eager to get Pickles started.

I have heard the arguments that social skills training doesn’t work because it doesn’t resolve the issue of brain delays (knowing what to do but then acting upon that knowledge). Yep, that definitely makes things a whole lot harder.  What this training did for us was give us the vocabulary and resources to talk about it.  Pickles attended Social Thinking classes for a summer and worked with our school counselor but they are several options out there.  The summer classes were a big time commitment and I worried that working with the school counselor would label her as a “different” kid.  Boy was I wrong! I couldn’t be more thrilled that we invested the time and effort into social skills training.  Yes, she still struggles with social skills but today she is a very well adjusted 4th grade girl (in my oh so biased opinion).

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Parent Training (really??)

Yep, really!  I put off signing up for an ADHD parenting course for quite some time (5 years to be exact). I had watched a few webinars on CHADD but felt that I was already drowning in doctor’s appointments and all the other duties I had to keep up with this special breed of parenting.  I was interested but just couldn’t find the time.  Unlike other natural remedies, parent training had nothing but rave reviews in my research.

What finally changed my mind was that I reached a breaking point.  Our house had become a battleground because of the chaos ADHD had caused.  I had been doing my best to prepare for battle but the parent training was the one piece of ammunition I was missing.  I want to do all I can to create a happy and successful life for my family and if taking a few hours to train myself to be a better parent is what it takes. Sign me up!

Finding Peace with our Inner Yogi

Winding down at the end of the day is a struggle for Pickles. In fact as soon as the words “it’s time to get ready for bed” leave my lips, it’s almost like she’s downed a few shots of espresso.  One thing that has consistently worked for us is white noise.  The white noise helps to eliminate audible distractions and focus her mind on sleep.

We have also used a guided sleep meditation app.  This worked amazing until Pickles realized she could just grab my iPad (that was running the meditation app) and start perusing the internet.  Can someone please create an app that will run the sleep meditation exercises but lock out all other functions on the device??

I know there are lots of natural ADHD remedies out there and the list above barely scratches the surface. These are the ones that have worked for us.  Every person diagnosed with ADHD is different.  What works for us may not work for you but please comment below and share with me your successes or failures.

We are all in this together.

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