New Effective, Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD


Children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulty paying attention and controlling their behavior. Many also suffer from sensory processing disorder, a neurological underpinning that contributes to their ability to pay attention or focus.

Experts believe both genetic and biological components contribute to the cause of ADHD. And while treatment options typically include medication, behavior therapy or a combination of the two, researchers may have discovered an effective, non-drug option for the disorder: sensory intervention.

According to preliminary findings from a study of children with ADHD, sensory intervention significantly improved problem behaviors such as impulsivity, hyperactivity and restlessness.

ADHD Study

The study involved 88 children taking medication for ADHD. Of the 88 participants, 63 underwent 40 one-hour sensory intervention therapy sessions, while 25 did not. Therapy techniques appealed to the three basic sensory systems: Tactile (the sense of touch), vestibular (controlling sensations of gravity and movement) and proprioceptive (regulating the awareness of the body in space).

Individual therapy sessions were tailored to each child's needs and involved techniques that included:

  • Moving on swings
  • Working with an exercise ball
  • Lightly or deeply brushing the skin

Positive Results

Researchers found the therapy sessions put children more at ease, which helped them to better focus their attention in a noisy classroom and more comfortably participate in family activities. Changes in behaviors were seen in just six months.

Medical News Today May 13, 2005

Gary Craig's comments:

EFT can be of substantial aid here. Let me emphasize the last sentences in the above article, namely: "Researchers found the therapy sessions put children more at ease, which helped them to better focus their attention in a noisy classroom and more comfortably participate in family activities. Changes in behaviors were seen in just six months."

Obviously, putting an ADHD child at ease is going to help the symptoms. However, the therapy sessions mentioned above take hours to perform while EFT, which also puts people at ease, can often be done in minutes. Further, using EFT on bothersome emotions may bring more permanence to the improvement. For a good example of this see "An ADHD case" on the EFT website.

I also find that the ADHD symptoms are sometimes caused by an allergic type reaction to certain substances. Examples, in my experience, are sugar, wheat and household chemicals. A few years ago a mother brought her 5-year-old ADHD son to see me. He roared in the door, knocked over lamps and proceeded to terrorize my home until we took him out on the porch. Without his usual Ritalin, which was required for him to attend school, he was impossible to manage. Even the most casual observer would agree that this little boy was acting like something was irritating him BIG TIME. He was behaving as though someone was constantly sticking him with thumb tacks.

His mother told me that he was always calm at bedtime so that led me to suspect that there was something about his daytime clothing that was irritating him. Sure enough, we removed his clothes (he didn't care, he was only 5) and within 30 seconds he calmed down, curled up into his mother's lap and began sucking his thumb. He remained calm for the next 40 minutes while I counseled with his mother. However, she put his clothes back on him just before leaving and, within 30 seconds, he was yelling, screaming and kicking again. In cases like this look for reactions to soap residues, fabric sensitivities and the chemicals made in the manufacture of certain clothing. This could be the difference between needing or not needing Ritalin.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Many children with ADHD receive Ritalin to control it, and Ritalin is not a weak stimulant -- it is actually more potent than cocaine. Newer drugs being used for ADHD are potentially even more dangerous and do absolutely nothing to treat the underlying cause of this condition.

As is the case in many psychological disorders, there are a number of natural treatment options available that can provide significant relief to ADHD sufferers. Some particularly effective alternatives include:

Additionally, many of you will enjoy the interview I did with Lendon Smith, MD in 2001 about non-drug options for ADHD. Dr. Smith died from complications of heart surgery at the age of 80 a year after this interview.

Related Articles:

Adults With ADHD: Don't Become the Next Drug Target ... Here's How to Treat it Naturally

Ritalin "On the Ropes"

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