Great Alternatives: Therapies That Work

~ADDitude~ readers are curious, determined, and always looking for effective ways to control ADHD symptoms. Here's proof — and some new ideas.

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I boost my son's self-esteem by telling him he can make it with ADHD.

Dolly, California

ADDitude asked: Which therapy, other than meds, helps you or your child manage symptoms?

I boost my son's self-esteem by telling him he can make it with ADHD. Recently, I told him about a star baseball player who took ADHD meds before every game. -Dolly, California

A balanced approach helps me the most: cutting down on sugar and increasing protein; exercising outdoors and getting eight hours of sleep; and doing 10 minutes of meditation daily. -An ADDitude Reader

Cognitive behavioral therapy has given my daughter the responsibility to "own" her feelings and avoid meltdowns. -An ADDitude Reader

My boys speed-skate, play hockey, and take karate. The exercise, plus working on their balance and coordination, keeps them focused. -Gretchen, Wisconsin

I try to control my son's sugar intake. I don't buy foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, and I make sure he eats a breakfast full of protein and doesn't drink a drop of soda. -Christine, Illinois

I parent him differently. I don't make him go to bed at a certain time. I don't insist that he does his chores. I don't harangue him to join us at the dinner table. I expect his sister to do these things, but he is different, and so are my expectations. -Tara, Washington

My mom is a teacher. To get kids to calm down in her classroom, she has them do jumping jacks and pushups. -Meghan, Ohio

Nothing helps more than medication, although attending a military school for six months did a lot, too. -Sally, Oklahoma

Talking with a counselor and a good workout at Curves -- both do wonders for me. -Angela, South Carolina

Routine, routine, routine. I know we ADHDers don't want to hear it, but that is what helps us move forward. Plenty of sleep and time for myself work well for me. -Ben, Virginia

Structure is the key to managing ADHD. Therapists probably spend 90 percent of their time emphasizing positive parenting and medication, and 10 percent on structure and routine, to help organize the day. It should be the other way around. -Tonya, Utah

My daughter and I are taking a therapy course that gives her tools to regulate her moods. She learns to redirect her thinking with "self talk," to be more mindful and present, and to recognize ways to self-soothe when she is agitated or out of sorts. All I can say is that it works. -An ADDitude Reader We use omega-3's and a multivitamin. We also realize how important daily exercise is. A sense of humor helps an awful lot, as well. -Helene, California

Slowing things down and cutting back on activities helps my daughter -- and me -- calm down. -An ADDitude Reader

Taking a walk in the woods after school or on weekend mornings turns my son into a different person. -Brenda, Texas

Spending time with my son makes all the difference in the world. Also, setting limits for him that never change! -Lora, Florida

Positive reinforcement works wonders with my daughter. Even when she is in the middle of a meltdown, if I hold her and tell her I love her, she calms down. -Cynthia, Oregon

We swear by fish oil, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba. Exercise and working with an ADD coach are also key for managing many symptoms. -Barbara, Maine

Playing music for my boys while they work helps them focus. -Sue, Ohio

Keeping consistent sleep hours helps my children the most. There are times, though, when I have to give them melatonin to get them to fall asleep. -Linda, Texas

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