Beyond Meds

Considering alternative treatments for ADHD? These safe, sensible remedies won't hurt — and could help ease the symptoms of attention deficit.


Filed Under: Alternative Treatments for ADHD, Brain Training for ADHD
Mother presenting hand puppet show to ADHD daughter

If you insist on double-blind studies and reject anecdotal evidence, you risk losing out on some potentially worthwhile therapies.

— Edward Hallowell, M.D.

When it comes to alternative or complementary therapies, my advice is to retain your common sense. On one side, academics say that because many of these therapies do not have prospective, double-blind studies to back them up, one should avoid them. Remember, though, that the only organizations that can afford the expense of such studies are pharmaceutical companies. Good for them — because meds are key to reducing symptoms. But if you insist on double-blind studies and reject anecdotal evidence, you risk losing out on some potentially worthwhile therapies.

I've seen some patients benefit from LENS, a form of neurofeedback. I've seen other patients benefit from iLs, Integrated Listening Systems, a music-based therapeutic listening program. I'm a big fan of the Cogmed program for improving working memory, because it has more research behind it than other alternative therapies. My favorite "alternative treatments" are free: sleep, exercise, nutrition, meditation, stretching your brain with stimulating exercises, and positive human contact — known as love.

My motto for using alternative treatments is: "Try whatever might work, as long as it's safe and legal."

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This article appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ADDitude.
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