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What Are the Pros and Cons of Alternative Medicine and ADHD?

By Sarah Kay Moll
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by inattention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. There are several pros when considering alternative medicine and ADHD, such as the lack of side effects for most treatments, the health benefits of some interventions, and the fact that most treatments are inexpensive and easy to access. The main cons of alternative medicine and ADHD are the possible danger of some treatments and the fact that no alternative treatments have been proven effective for ADHD.

ADHD starts in childhood, but symptoms may persist into adulthood. Boys are most often affected, but it can affect girls as well. It can cause impairment in school, work, and daily life.

This disorder is most often treated with medications and psychotherapy, including behavioral therapies. People with ADHD should see a physician before trying alternative medicine treatments. Alternative medicines are typically intended to be used alongside traditional treatments such as medication. They are not meant to replace medical treatments.

Alternative medicine for ADHD has both pros and cons. One of the main pros for alternative medicine is the minimal side effects of alternative treatments such as vitamins or yoga. These types of alternative treatments also improve overall health while being relatively safe. Another pro is that alternative medical treatments are usually cheap and easy to buy. Vitamins, for example, can be found at any grocery store.

Often, alternative medicine and ADHD go together when conventional treatments are not effective. However, one of the main cons of alternative medicine is that there are no alternative treatments that have been proven effective for this disorder. Replacing conventional treatments with alternative medicine can be problematic because alternative medicines may have a small effect or no effect at all.

There are other cons associated with alternative medicine and ADHD. Some alternative medical treatments, such as “megadoses” of vitamins or herbal stimulants, can have dangerous side effects. Special diets that eliminate sugar, caffeine, or artificial dyes can be problematic if they are too restrictive and prevent the person from receiving necessary nutrients. Before beginning any alternative treatment, it is important to consult with a physician.

Using alternative medicine alongside conventional treatment like psychotherapy and medication can have pros and cons. Alternative medicine and ADHD treatment may interact, causing problematic reactions. This is most likely to happen with herbal supplements or stimulants. On the other hand, safer alternative treatments such as yoga or vitamins may work with conventional treatment to make it more effective.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Mar 30, 2014

I have no problem with using alternative medicine to treat ADHD, as long as the parent clearly understands the consequences of the treatments.

Since many children don't get much benefit from conventional medicine, I can see why they would look at alternative medicine to help their child.

However, with little boys especially, before I considered too much in the way of medication or alternative medicine, I'd get a referral to a pediatric ENT and see if I could get a sleep study done on my child. I saw a news magazine that covered a little boy who was seven and barely reading on a kindergarten level. He was diagnosed with ADHD and his mother noticed he was snoring a lot. She took him to a pediatric ENT, who ordered a sleep study. The child was waking up something like 20 times an hour. Turns out, his tonsils and adenoids were greatly enlarged.

The ENT scheduled him for surgery and removed the tonsils and adenoids. In six weeks, he was reading above grade level and was off all medication.

Seems like the ADHD diagnosis has become much more common as the incidence of removing tonsils and adenoids has decreased. But I'd check that first. Sleep deprivation can cause the same symptoms as ADHD.

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