Some people believe that medication is the first and only method of treatment for ADHD. The fact of the matter is that everyone is different, and some people can manage their ADHD without ever needing medication. If you don’t want to leap to using medication right off the bat, there are plenty of methods to try first. Below are some of the methods that may help you or your loved one manage ADHD without needing medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
An individual’s thoughts have a powerful impact on his or her actions and feelings. Oftentimes, patients saddled with ADHD have too many negative thoughts as a result of years of frustration and criticism that is both self-imposed and also external. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps ADHD patients defeat the critic within. This therapy heightens the patient’s awareness of his or her stream of thoughts. Addressing such thoughts, especially thought loops, has the potential to improve the patient’s condition. In fact, clinical research supports the use of cognitive behavioral therapy to treat those with ADHD as well as other mental health challenges.
Maintaining a Good Quality of Sleep
Many people dealing with ADHD face a heightened prevalence of sleep issues, such as chronic sleep deprivation, insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and night owl syndrome. Sleep deprivation exacerbates ADHD and also negatively impacts the patient’s life in several other ways. The bottom line is ADHD sufferers should be proactive in terms of managing their sleep quality and quantity. If you have ADHD and know or suspect you have a sleep disorder, it is important to take a closer look.
Improving Nutritional Intake
Evidence is mounting that a patient’s nutrition plays a meaningful role in the development of ADHD and also its severity. Alter your diet or your child’s diet, and you just might find the ADHD is no longer as severe. Experiment with the elimination of dairy, gluten, and corn. Zero in on basic nutrition by eating fresh fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals. It will also help to avoid processed foods and those chock-full of sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates to minimize the chances of a sugar spike/crash cycle that triggers hyperactivity and the ensuing reduction in attention.
It is also particularly interesting to note that research shows kids who have ADHD have reduced levels of Omega-3s in the blood and low levels of ferritin, a protein in the blood that stores iron. Omega-3 rich foods or supplements, along with iron supplements could prove helpful. Additionally, studies that analyze supplementation with zinc for ADHD treatment have shown varied results. Zinc is another supplement that might be worth trying. Consider working with a nutritionist or doctor before adding these supplements to your vitamin and nutrient-rich diet. Give your new diet some time to make an impact, and you just might find your ADHD is no longer as severe.
Parents of children with ADHD and those who do not understand this condition often plead with the patient to simply “pay attention,” as there is an assumption that mental laziness is the underlying problem. However, merely increasing one’s attention span does not fully address ADHD. Furthermore, expanding one’s attention span is easier said than done. Instead of criticizing an ADHD sufferer for a short attention span, it is better to suggest practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is sustained attention in the current moment that continues forward for an extended period of time. ADHD sufferers can boost their mindfulness by eliminating as many distractions as possible and zeroing in on one thing at a time. Resist the temptation to multitask, put the smartphone out of your view, remove the video games from the room, and focus on one single thing. Practice mindfulness every single day, and you just might find it makes a positive impact on your ADHD.
Prime Behavioral Health Is on Your Side
The brain is complicated, and so is ADHD. The above methods may help some people manage their ADHD, but others may need medication. It’s important to have an experienced psychiatrist on your side to help you determine the best methods for dealing with your ADHD. At Prime Behavioral Health, our staff understands that many wish to avoid taking medication. We can help you find methods that will let you live a full life without medication if possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Southlake office.