treating adhd without medication

Rosie - posted on 03/25/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )




I have an 11 year old son who has ADHD, he's been on various medications since he was 8. of course side effects of these drugs are loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, body aches, headaches, joint aches etc. Grant, on top of being failure to thrive since he was 6 months old, has been on medications that keep him from growing, he now weighs around 52 lbs. and is around 4 ft. 11in - at 11 years old. he's supposed to weigh around 75 lbs. i'm starting to get very concerned about his weight, and his side effects (joint pain, headaches) and sleeplessness we've remedied with medication *sigh* although i've added melatonin to that as well. he always seems to level out on medication and we need to increase it every so often to keep up.

i've heard of lots of different things to naturally help children with ADHD, like cutting out dyes and preservatives, vitamin D, B vitamins, structure and routine. i've even heard black coffee.

so basically, i'm curious? do any of these things work? has anybody tried these with success? i'm having a really hard time with my son, and don't want to continue treating my son with medication if these side effects continue, but i'm terrified of how he'll be without the medication. he's more than a handful. he's never ending, totally wound, can't concentrate on anything to save his life. his teacher already throws a fit when she even THINKS he hasn't had his medication, she accuses us constantly of not giving it to him. i'm just confused and terrified at the same time, i need help! :)


ME - posted on 03/25/2011




I have a friend with an 8 yr. old boy who is being treated without meds. His therapies are actually pretty revolutionary. Before school he gets to rough house with his dad or brother for about 30 minutes (this helps to tire him out a bit). During school he wears a weight jacket; this keeps his muscles constantly engaged so that he doesn't feel the need to fidget all the time. He has a padded room in the basement where he can wrestle, bounce around, etc without fear of hurting himself, and he does talk therapy once a week. My friends have had unbelievable success with these methods, which also include teaching him to recognize and vocalize his feelings of anxiousness, etc. They had a hard time finding someone willing to work with them, but since finding these alternative therapies, they have not looked back! Good luck to you!


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Katherine - posted on 03/25/2011




This is what I found:

* Communicating expectations in spoken and written words (i.e., brush teeth, wait your turn, etc.)

* Setting up routines (homework, playtime, meals with family, bedtime)

* Choosing battles (ignore a little fidgeting and offer praise when he sits still)

* Using the time-out method when unwanted behavior occurs

* Using the “when and then” method for modifying unwanted behaviors; for example, “when” he climbs all over the clothing racks while shopping, “then” he will need to spend more time helping with chores at home

* Using color charts at home to track progress of behavior (use his favorite color for good behavior, and his least favorite for bad)

* Practicing good behaviors and pointing out unwanted behaviors before going to public places

Behavioral therapy works best when it is also utilized at school and during times of interaction with other children. This makes it vitally important for parents to work closely with their child, child’s teacher, mental health professional and local ADHD support group.

I know it's not first hand, but it sounded like some good ideas.

Tara - posted on 03/25/2011




wow she's fast.
I'll just copy and paste her reply:
Hi tara,
Tell your friend, good for her.
not a lot of time but here are the things we found had the most impact or the best results and why.
Reduce Sugar, this is because often in kids with adhd have issues with their adrenal glands only producing about half as many hormones they should be, resulting a yoyo type blood sugar.
Increase Protein, this is can help off set the blood sugar issues, eat high protein foods in the morning.
Increase intake of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, this was one of the major shifts for Adam, he isn't big on fish, so he takes fish oils, double the dose for a normal person, too many Omega 3 can't hurt anyone.
Avoid Pop and caffeine, this contradicts some reports that caffeine is okay, it's not. It may seem to help short term but comes with it's own problems and not worth having him addicted to antoher drug.
eliminate or reduce his intake of additives in food, yellow, red and blue dye can all effect a kid or adult with adhd, that shits bad you everyone, just not in the eensy bits we get, but on a whole, big picture level, they are bad bad bad.
Give him pro biotics, whether or not he takes any antibiotics, using pro biotics will help reestablish good gut flora, a lot of what happens in our stomachs affects our chemistry, often kids would have adhd have too much yeast growing out of control in their intestines which changes how your brain releases serotonin, increasing chances of mood disorders etc.
Exercise is of the utmost importance and I'm not talking about the hour of throwing a ball at each other in PE class, I'm talking cardio, chemical releasing exercise, either take him to a gym and let him go nutty on the equipment or set up a space in the house where can have a mini-tramp, a punching ball, a stationary bike, if he likes to dance, set it up so he has a mirror, if he likes sports, get him involved as much as possible.
Adam and Mike go for a run every morning before school, they do 2 km to his nans and back, they stop for a quick hello and a glass of OJ, she loves it and it seems to really put his head in a good space right before school.
Also we have used melatonin and valerian on the advice of our naturopath. This is to help hiim sleep right, if he doesn't get his 9 hours or so, he is wicked the next day, like the exorcist kind of wicked, lol but we love him anyways. :)
The best thing she can possibly do is make an appointment with a natural health practioner or a naturopath to discuss options. These initial appointments are often all that is needed, they are usually just a good way to get off to a solid start with good advice and support. Often you won't have to go back except maybe every 6 months or so if you need to, I can call my guy and he'll give me advice on the phone. Unlike the mainstream doctors who seem to just want to try the new, the best the most revolutionary drug on kids, cause they get kick backs from big pharma, naturopaths always have your kids best interests in mind, now and in the future.
Some of the drugs they have kids on can cause a lot of long term problems, they are seeing it now with the adults who were first given Ritalin and the ilk back in the day..
anyhoo, so much for not having time to write back, but that's all I can think of off the top, but if I think of anything else, I'll drop you a line.
How are the kids btw? And that new baby? Guess he's not very new now is he? Must be so nice to have a new one. I miss when they were small. Oh well have to wait for grandbabies. That I can wait a long long time for!!
Cheers hun.

Iridescent - posted on 03/25/2011




My son is 11 as well. He has severe ADHD, PDD-NOS and depression. They are all diagnoses he's had since 2, even the depression...

We've tried to go without medication most of his life. He was on an antidepressant from age 3-4. Sadly, we had to start him back on medications this last fall for his ADHD and depression again.

We are not going with only meds. He is seeing ST and OT to find comping mechanisms and ways he can safely use energy during class without being distracting. We're looking at getting him a weighted blanket for home use. He has a Theraband tied around the legs of his chair at school so his feet can press, pull, or rest on it. He also has a squeeze ball at school, but there are many other hand fidgets that are appropriate and not distracting. His desk is on the side of the classroom so he can stand up without distracting other students, since he learns best standing. OT gave him a pile of cards of ways to calm, and a small laminated card with just basic cues of how to calm yourself when you're struggling, but he's not cooperating with this portion very well yet (only just started 2 weeks ago).

We used to give the kid pop to calm him, and older, Red Bull. This past year it stopped working. The effect is identical to giving Ritalin - caffeine stimulates the system and helps focus. The side effects are also the same, and caffeine is addictive. I know about the diets and we have another child on a very strict diet for his health, but we have not messed with Josh's because we don't know if it's related, and if he's on a delicate balance, it could cause more harm than good. Josh's liver doesn't work quite right.

Tara - posted on 03/25/2011




Wow, I will contact a friend of mine who has had a similar problem with her son, who is now 13 and has been off his meds for about 2 years. He was on them since he was 7, again increasing the dosage or changing his meds at least once a year, sometimes more often.
She has been successful with treating him naturally, which includes some behaviour modification, but focuses a lot of teaching him to recognize when he is getting to the end of his limit and how to deal with it.
She found that despite being on meds, he was a handful anyhow, his teachers complained a lot that he needed more meds or different meds.
So my friend was like "Okay he's dosed up, he has all these horrid side effects and he's still a handful. So is any of it really working?"
She found a naturopath who specializes in adhd and add in children and adults. In addition to going off his meds she did a bunch of other things such as melatonin and valerian to help him get a proper nights sleep, diet restrictions and additions as well.
I'll email her and get back to you Kati. Hang in there, it will get better, and kudos for you for even thinking that his meds may be harming him or at the least thinking about alternatives. Many don't, many see all the problems and side effects but decide that it's not worth the risk of making changes.

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