ADHD Treatments To Consider Before Trying Medications

Health & Medical Blog

When your child is diagnosed with ADHD, your assumption might be that they'll be prescribed medications right off the bat. Sometimes, doctors do take this approach — particularly if the symptoms are really serious and the child is truly struggling in school. But if your child's case is not as serious, you may be surprised to find that the doctor is open to trying some other treatment approaches before turning to medications. Here are some ADHD treatments they may recommend.

Behavioral Therapy

One of the first steps your doctor may recommend is enrolling your child in therapy with a practitioner who has experience treating kids with ADHD. This therapist will meet with both you and your child. They'll help you devise strategies to deal with your child's symptoms. For example, they may show you some techniques to help re-direct your child's attention when you notice them starting to get distracted. They may also teach your child some techniques to keep their mind focused in school.

Sleep Therapy

For many kids with ADHD, poor sleep habits make the symptoms worse. In fact, ADHD and sleep disturbances often go hand-in-hand. As such, your child's doctor will probably recommend implementing some better sleep hygiene habits, such as always putting your child to bed at the same time, taking away their screens an hour before bed, and perhaps using some natural sleep aids, such as chamomile. If changing sleep habits alone leads to an improvement in ADHD symptoms, your child may not need medication.

Dietary Therapy

There are many different diets that have been proposed for the management of ADHD, and the consensus seems to be that each of them works for some kids. There is no magic diet that works for everyone. However, there are some changes that are likely to improve your child's ADHD. Those changes include:

  • Eating more omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fatty fish, flax seed, and nuts
  • Eating fewer processed foods with artificial dyes and flavorings
  • Eating more leafy green vegetables

Since making dietary changes can be tough, your child's doctor will probably recommend working with a dietary counselor or nutritionist. They may also recommend that the whole family make these diet changes, which will make it easier for your child to stick to their newly prescribed eating plan.

Many children with ADHD do benefit greatly from medication, but they do not all need meds. If your doctor recommends trying one or more of these approaches first, go for it!


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