It is estimated that up to one-in-ten American children are affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For many of these children, prescription medications are the standard treatment option, and healthcare professionals often give little thought to alternatives.
Medications commonly used for ADHD include stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidates. While these drugs may be effective in treating ADHD in some cases, there are still real concerns about the long term effects these potent medications may have on children.
With that in mind, it is important for parents to know there are viable, non-pharmaceutical alternatives for treating ADHD. Below are three effective interventions to help your child with ADHD.
Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep
One thing that many children lack in America is an adequate amount of truly restful sleep. For children that have ADHD, not getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep can greatly increase their inability to function.
In many cases, children with ADHD also have other problems that negatively affect their sleep. Such problems can include snoring, restless leg syndrome and nightmares. These problems make obtaining deep, restful sleep difficult for children with ADHD.
That means that parents of children with ADHD need to explore the root causes of sleep problems and find solutions that can help their children sleep more soundly. Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to improve sleep patterns in children with ADHD.
For example, parents can remove distracting elements from their children’s bedroom and keep the environment soothing and calming at night. In other cases, it may be beneficial to explore therapy options for children who experience nightmares and have anxieties about bedtime.
Increased Amounts of Exercise
Another positive intervention parents can make with children who have ADHD is increasing the amount of exercise children get during the day. Unfortunately, the schools have pared down or even eliminated opportunities to participate in physical activities during the school day.
Many children also don’t get to play outside or engage in other physical activities at home, and the rise of technology has also kept many children glued to a screen. This lack of exercise is not only tied to physical problems, such as weight gain and overall poorer health, but children with ADHD may also experience emotional distress if they don’t get a sufficient amount of exercise.
For example, both anxiety and depression may be connected to a lack of physical activity, and these problems are also related to ADHD. By addressing the underlying fears and worries that may bother a child with ADHD through increased exercise, the benefits will also carry over into improved behavior and a reduction in ADHD symptoms.
Implement Behavioral Strategies
Another non-prescription drug approach that may help children with ADHD is implementing behavioral strategies. Behavioral strategies rely upon monitoring behavior and responding in such a way to help a child with ADHD reshape their own behavior.
For example, behavioral strategies in the case of ADHD can include teaching a child to structure their day by using a planner or other self-organization methods. The parent or teacher can help the child achieve success by providing immediate feedback and offering tangible rewards whenever a child succeeds in selforganizing.
Another behavioral strategy that can help a child overcome their ADHD is to instruct them in coping and relational strategies. Children with ADHD can be taught how to process their own emotions and also learn appropriate ways to behave and act. Role-playing and coaching can both be effective means of helping children better understand their own actions and make their environment more predictable and orderly.
If you have a child with ADHD, then you will find the professionals at Integrative Brain and Body willing and able to help. Integrative Brain and Body offers unique perspectives for treating ADHD without the use of medications and will provide your child with new opportunities to move past their challenges.