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Natural Ways To Treat ADD and ADHD

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Treat ADD & ADHD Naturally

The worst thing about taking a prescription drug to treat a disorder is the unnecessary side effects that go along with it! 

Sure, you can try to help ADHD symptoms with stimulant drugs like Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Strattera (atomoxetine hydrochloride), but you might end up with painful headaches, insomnia and maybe even depression too, among others! In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) warns us that,

There have been reports of sudden death in children and adolescents with pre-existing structural cardiac abnormalities or other serious heart problems who were taking stimulant drugs to treat their ADHD. Sudden death, stroke and MI have also been reported in adults… ADHD drugs increased risk for drug-related psychiatric adverse events, such as hearing voices, paranoia or mania.

The drugs might help you or your child to focus, but when you start hearing voices maybe it’s time to stop!

Or read 3 Reasons ADHD is Likely a Fake Disorder.

Sometimes we have to wonder, are all of those side effects really worth it? Or is there something else we could try?

Yes, there’s always a natural health alternative!

Here’s a bit about what ADHD is, what causes it, the symptoms and some natural ways to help.

What is Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder?

ADD is the general term used to describe people with ADHD. Both terms pretty much mean the same thing, however there are three types of ADHD. These include the Inattentive Type, the Hyperactive-Impulsive Type and the Combined Type.

The disorder is a genetic neurobehavioral problem that is most common among children, but also affects adults. Basically, our nerve cells or neurons send chemical messengers back and forth called neurotransmitters. These messengers are what tell our bodies how to think, how to act and how to feel.  Some research studies claim that ADHD is a genetic deficiency of these chemical messengers and they are not communicating like they should.

What Causes ADHD?

One of the causes for ADHD stems from problems in the gut (digestive issues) and food allergies or sensitivities.  The disorder is still being studied extensively and scientists really aren’t  sure yet what exactly causes it. However, they have found that hormones also play a role.

WebMD’s article regarding ADD and ADHD explains that the lack of dopamine in the brain may be linked to the disorder,

Recent studies show that the brain chemical, dopamine, may play a role in ADHD. Dopamine is an important chemical that carries signals between nerves in the brain. It is linked to many functions, including movement, sleep, mood, attention, and learning.

Also, Norepinephrine, a stress hormone, is known to affect the parts of the brain where attention and response actions are controlled. We do know that increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain have helped with ADHD symptoms.

There are also several environmental factors that are being studied such as:

Pregnancy

Cigarette smoke, drinking and drugs during pregnancy may cause ADHD in children. Difficult pregnancies, premature births and low birth weights have also been linked to the disorder.

Toxins

Children who are in contact with high levels of lead from paint, or in tap water for example, may be at higher risk for developing ADHD. PCB’s and other toxic chemicals are also believed to interfere with normal brain development in children.

Nutrition

Some researchers suggest sugar and food additives like preservatives and artificial colors play a part in developing the disorder. Specifically, Blue #1 and #2, Green #3, Orange B, Red #3 and #40, Yellow #5 and #6, and Sodium benzoate.

Brain Injury

A small percentage of children who have suffered frontal lobe injuries also have ADHD.

Whether it’s genetics, hormone imbalances, or environmental factors, it’s difficult to pin point the specific cause of ADD/ADHD. Probably because it’s a combination of these and other factors that contribute to the cause.  For now, let’s focus our attention on the symptoms of the disorder and how to help manage them, naturally.

Symptoms of ADHD

The list below outlines the symptoms of these three types of ADHD.

Symptoms of inattention:

  • Easily distracted
  • Bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  • Often lose things
  • Don’t seem to listen when spoken to
  • Easily confused
  • Difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  • Struggle to follow instructions

Symptoms of hyperactivity:

  • Fidgety and squirmy
  • Talk nonstop
  • Trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities

Symptoms of impulsiveness:

  • Impatience
  • Inappropriate comments
  • Show emotions without restraint
  • Act without thinking about consequences
  • Interrupt others
 source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 

All of us experience these symptoms once in a while. But, someone experiencing true symptoms of ADHD will be struggling with these issues more often than not. Some people may think their child has ADHD when in fact it’s simply misbehavior.

An article by Dr. Mercola states that 1 million children may be misdiagnosed with ADHD.

Natural Ways To Treat ADHD

Nutritional Supplements

There is a long list of nutritional supplements that may help with ADHD symptoms. And you can check out our health library for the complete list of helpful supplements. But be sure to find a functional medicine healthcare practitioner who can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing the ADD before you begin taking anything.

Here are a few supplements that may help…

Essential Fatty Acids

Supplement your diet with Essential fatty acids. Take approximately 186 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), 480 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), 96 mg of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), 864 mg of linoleic acid, and 42 mg of arachidonic acid. These are all vital when it comes to proper brain function.

According to a 12-week double-blind study, children with ADHD were given either a placebo or a fatty-acid supplement and 42 mg of arachidonic acid. Compared with the placebo, the fatty-acid supplement produced significant improvements in both cognitive function and behavioral problems.

Flaxseed Oil and Vitamin C

Supplementation with approximately 400 mg of flaxseed oil and 25 mg of vitamin C, each twice a day for three months, was associated with an improvement of symptoms in children with ADHD.

Magnesium

Some children with ADHD have lowered levels of magnesium. Supplement your diet with 200 mg of magnesium per day. In a preliminary, controlled trial, children with ADHD and low magnesium status were given 200 mg of magnesium per day for six months. Compared with 25 other magnesium-deficient ADHD children, those given magnesium supplementation had a significant decrease in hyperactive behavior.

B Vitamins, Fish Oil & Probiotics

Many parents have found adding B Vitamins, Omega 3s (fish oils) and Probiotics to their children’s diets positively help their child’s behavior. Take 50 mg of B-complex vitamins and 100 to 200 mg of fish oil. These supplements nourish and stabilize the central nervous system and help with mood stability, mental focus, and brain function. Probiotics will assist with a healthy balance of good flora, proper digestion and immune response.

Proper Nutrition 

It’s best to eat a healthy diet very low in sugar, high in vitamins and minerals and as close to raw and organic as possible. This means skip the sweetened drinks and processed foods! Also, steer clear of additives that preserve or color foods. Stick to eating meat from grass-fed cows, organic fruits and vegetables, and organic oils like coconut oil.

A Consistent Routine in a Relaxing Environment

Massage, structure and relaxation exercises are all helpful and natural techniques to use when you’re trying to provide a calm and relaxed environment for your child. Carrie Demers, MD, gives us more insight into how regularity and structure will help a child that has ADHD. She wrote an article to help answer a question for parents wanting to do the right thing for their son who was diagnosed with ADHD.

Children with ADHD are drawn to new activities, adventure, and change. Yet they’re balanced by the opposite: activities that are calming, relaxing, and nurturing. Your son needs regularity and structure to counter his natural tendency toward chaos: a regular time to do his homework, exercise, relax, eat, go to bed, and wake up to begin a new day.

Also, adding a full body or even just a foot massage to you or your child’s bedtime routine would be another great way to help calm your hyperactive child. Human touch has very powerful physical and emotional benefits. There are countless essential oils to choose from that have unique relaxing properties. Not all essential oils are meant for direct skin contact, so do your research before you begin use.

ADD and ADHD is a common disorder that affects the lives of many. But, the good news is, the symptoms are manageable without the use of drugs.

It doesn’t make sense to treat ADHD symptoms with medications that will give you a whole bunch of other health problems!

Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for treating these symptoms!

What natural methods have worked for you ? Have you experienced side effects from the common prescription drugs used to treat ADD? We want to hear your story!

These are three books that provide very good insight into how to help ADHD naturally rather than temporarily get rid of the symptoms with RX drugs.

12 effective Ways to Help Your ADD/ADHD Child - Drug free alternatives for Attention Deficit Disorders by Laura Stevens

Is This Your Child? Written by leading pediatric allergist and NY Times best selling author, Dr. Doris Rapp, MD – How to pinpoint the reason why certain children or adults are unable to learn in certain rooms, outside the school, or at certain times after specific exposures at school, home or work.

What’s Eating Your Child? - Documented cases of children with all sorts of behavioral issues who got better once they got to the bottom of their allergies or sensitivities.
+Ashley Steinbrinck writes regularly about natural health and happiness for Natural Healthy Concepts. Visit the site today to browse a wide selection of herbal nutritional supplementsvitamins and homeopathic medicine.

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About Ashley Steinbrinck

I spent some time as an account manager and graphic design specialist for a dental supply company in Green Bay. I also worked as the Director of Sales for a Marriott hotel. Now a mama to my 2 young boys, I'm enjoying my time in the natural health field as a Marketing Specialist and graphic designer for Natural Healthy Concepts! Ashley Steinbrinck

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75 Responses to Natural Ways To Treat ADD and ADHD

  1. Amy S. July 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Good commentary, Ashley.
    These things should be discussed with all families before sending their children to daycare or school. Families’ lives just get too busy and hectic. Many children are not getting the quiet routines, rigorous outdoor play time and good nutrition at home. I wonder just how many parents actually know this is what children need to thrive physically and emotionally.

  2. Ashley Steinbrinck July 5, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks for the comment, Amy! You’re right, parents who feed their kids nutritious foods, let them be an adventurer outdoors and provide structure with some chill time, will notice a positive difference in their child’s behavior! The funny thing is, this is true for adults as well! But, it’s very important to get your kids on the right track to living a healthy life early on so they know how to make good healthy decisions on their own later. I’m willing to bet there are way too many parents that aren’t aware of this simple strategy! Keep spreading the word. Because, it’s the best way to help prevent health problems, kids will be happier and more obedient, and parents will be less stressed!

  3. kole October 2, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    As someone who has ADD I can attest that fish oils are incredibly helpful in controlling the symptoms.

  4. Ashley Steinbrinck October 2, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Hey Kole, thanks for the feedback! Very glad fish oils are helping you ; )

    • evita August 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Hello, my 12yrs old son was tested for ADD. He has it and has been taken medd once a day for it. Its a low dose. But it seems it helps sometimes. I didnt want him to be on any meds. And reading your blog makes me want to take him off. I want to try the natural way. What is best for my son. He’s really nice kid. He just lose focus in school. He’s not a busy body all the time. His mean thing is that he is side trackef alot, he needs to be reminded on things. He’s afraid to ask for help sometimes. He works better in a smaller group. Please help, thank you.

      • Theresa Groskopp, CN August 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

        Hi Evita, as we are not physicians, we cannot give advice or make recommendations – sorry! Certainly we have heard from other customers that a DHA supplement has been helpful for them. Had you looked at the Attentive Child or Focus for Children. Those are 2 popular options in this category.

      • Theresa Groskopp, CN August 2, 2013 at 8:12 am #

        I forgot to mention Evita, that many parents have noticed reduced symptoms by removing those artificial colorings mentioned in this post!

      • D August 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

        My son is in the same boat! He is ADHD-inattentive with PDD. We put him on low dose Ritalin 5mg for school. But he started to lose a LOT of weight, he looked like a skeleton. Then we noticed that he started to act depressed, which is quite concerning for the parents of a seven year-old!
        Over the summer, we took him off the meds because this is when he started to seem depressed. But after a month of no meds, he never went back to his old ways, ie, the reason why he was rx’d in the first place. He was more patient and didn’t flare up with his behavior. It was strange, but a nice relief. The doc thought that maybe he really didn’t have adhd.

        Then school started last week. Oh boy. His resource teacher called me and told me he is worse than ever in class. No hyperactivity, just always needed prompting, wandering around the classroom at inappropriate times, and acting ‘sleepy’. I don’t want to put him on meds again so I will try the supplements.

        We are also doing ABA at home, where they have a ‘drawer system’ for him to finish his homework. Five drawers; the first drawer has something fun he likes, next drawer has a page or half a page of homework, next drawer fun, and so on. it’s a way for him to learn to self start and motivate, knowing something good is coming when work is done.
        just some suggestions :)

        So, are these supplements good for the inattentive type as well? For example will the magnesium make him feel *too relaxed?

        Let me know!

        Thanks for the great post!!!!

        • Ashley Steinbrinck August 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

          Thank you, D.
          You are doing a great job being an investigator for your own son’s health! It makes me so happy to hear that you want to help your son without “drugging” him. (Come back in a week or so to read my post on Drugging Kids – you might find some info in there interesting too).

          First off, many kids who are actually very bright don’t do well in school because they get bored! And what kid wants to sit in a desk all day and be talked to. Too bad kids couldn’t be taught more hands on and outside of the classroom. Either way, check out this book Is This Your Child? by Pediatric MD Doris Rapp. She makes some good points about the classroom and schools in general that kids will have sensitivities to.

          One customer of ours uses Attentive Child – here’s the link… http://www.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/attentive-child-chewable-SN60-p-source-naturals.html She says “We’ve used this product for many months for my son’s ADD/ADHD symptoms. When we got to summer vacation I asked him if he still wanted to take it and he yelled YES!! He’s 13 and says it works GREAT!”

          Our Certified Nutritionist told me to ease into the supplements one by one when i gave them to my kids. You could try that? Also, check out my post on Elimination Diet – http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2013/07/27/an-allergy-elimination-diet-plan-health-benefits-recipes/ – even food allergies could be the cause for this type of behavior.

          And remember, there is no scientific evidence for diagnosing a child with these “labels” the Dr.s give them. It’s all opinion based.

          I’m sure you have a beautiful, bright boy who just needs to have some levels checked. You could see about finding a functional medicine practitioner near you who would be able to help you along. Functional medicine practitioners like Dr. Mike Hyman http://drhyman.com/ have cured little boys of “autism” and “ADHD” without any drugs.

          Thanks for reading and God bless!

          • D August 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

            Thank you for the encouragement! I looked into the supplements and I really want to try Attentive Child and Omega 3-6-9.

            Here’s my pickle: He just started school a week ago and the school as I posted are very concerned about his academic behavior. It’s not good.

            I know that it takes over a month to see results from the supplements.
            Today we had to put him on one dose of meds during school, to my GREAT dismay because I don’t want to risk any other unwanted behaviors or other infractions like last year, which was hell for us.

            So my question is, can we do both the supplements AND the (shudder) Ritalin at the same time then wean off the meds???

            I want to know what to do in this situation because time is not on our side, school has started already, I don’t want him to get into trouble again, and waiting a month to see how the supplements would work is a hard option to swallow.

            Please don’t judge me on this, we are very torn and only want the best for our boy!

            Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
            Thank you! :)

          • Ashley Steinbrinck August 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

            I will not judge you D! No worries. But the first thing I would do is Google “Functional Medicine Practitioner” along with the city you live in. That would be the first person I would ask about combining the meds with supplements. It is something you have to be careful with and I’m not certified to answer those types of questions ; ). I wish I could help you more, as I understand your dilemma as far as time goes.

      • Delbra August 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

        Your son sounds just like mine! The teachers are pushing me to get him tested and I don’t want to put him on anything! He makes some A’s and mostly B’s in school. He is 9 yrs old. They have been on me for a year now and I haven’t done anything. I think I might try some fish oil. It is nice to know I am not the only parent dealing with this when it doesn’t seem to me he really has that much of a problem. He is just a young boy and I think being side tracked is normal at this age but I worry I am wrong. I have to remind him of things all the time but my husband is no different! lol

        • Ashley Steinbrinck August 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

          Don’t give in to the opinion based marketing strategy for drugging kids! Kids will be kids – just as husbands with be husbands! ;) You could see a functional medicine practitioner who would check his toxicity levels as well as nutritional levels to make sure he’s not deficient in certain things. Also, you could test for food allergies – since these sensitivities can cause anyone to react. Thanks for your comment, Delbra!

      • Francine October 9, 2013 at 7:44 am #

        Hi Evita,

        When I read your post its sounds like your are talking about my son.
        My son is 11 years old and its super sweet, but is having trouble at school on his first year of middle school. Lose focus, needs to me reminded, …
        I am taking him today for a counselor and she will test him for inattentive ADD.
        I was at another doctor who prescribed Comcerta to him, but I am afraid of giving him medication.
        I bought all the natural supplements and I am studying with him everyday.
        She recommend 18 mg to start (1st week) and then 36 mg for the second week.
        How is your son doing with the medication? Any side effects?
        Good luck to you.
        I know exactly what you are going thru.
        Francine

  5. Lauries Barry October 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Families with a child with ADD/ADHD can be frustrating and overwhelming, but there is so much we can do to help control and reduce the symptoms.

    Alternative therapies can help you learn all about toxic environmental exposure to certain substances, nutrition and how to reduce stress and anxiety, help improve sleep quality. How implementing a daily routine and consistent discipline at home can help your child become more organized and self-disciplined.

    Relaxation Techniques will Improve concentration, improves self-esteem, promote a feeling of calm, resulting in better mood.

    Supplements can help nourish, stabilize and improving mood, mental focus and brain function.

    Natural home remedies are effective with no side-effects.

    • Ashley Steinbrinck October 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Lauries Barry!

    • Ann Evans May 28, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      Hi Lauries
      I agree with you totally. im now turning our home into a chemical and nasty stuff free home and also with our bodies.

      I know that by doing this and using the guide above under the guidance of our natropath I know that my son who has asd, inattentive adhd, separation anxiety and sever’s will only benefit us all.

      Im watching my son’s performance at school and hope like hell that it will help him and he can start learning again.

      thanks for your post and to Ashley for this site its great value.

      Cheers
      Ann

      • Ashley Steinbrinck May 28, 2013 at 9:04 am #

        That’s great to hear, Ann! Let us know about your son’s progress in school as you rid the toxins from your home and diets ; )

  6. Renee October 26, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Hi! I love all your info, and will add the link to my site if you don’t mind. Here is a link to my success story with my son. I started blogging about our journey just recently because I feel that it could benefit others. I love the info you have on your site!

    • Ashley Steinbrinck October 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you for reading and sharing!I will definitely read about your success story with your son as well as check out the rest of your Blog. You’re doing an awesome thing that will for sure help others – keep it up! ;)

  7. Renee October 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Thanks so much Ashley, would you mind if I added your link to the side of my blog? would you also add mine to my comment to share a success story? http://jodren11.blogspot.ca/ Thank you.

  8. Ashley Steinbrinck October 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Yes, absolutely you can post the link to the side of your Blog. For everyone else, if you want to read a great natural success story check out http://jorden11.blogspot.ca – her son, just 10, does an amazing job communicating how he feels. After cutting out the sugar, modifying nutrition & adding supplements, rejecting Dr. recommended meds, and using NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) this child is on the path to a healthier life journey, naturally.

  9. Ashley Steinbrinck January 15, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Thanks, Kevin! ; )

  10. james January 25, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    There is a book called “untapped brilliance” written by an adIhd coach. I don’t what its all about, she’ll be happy I mentioned about it though. I think it has something to do with making lemonade out of the lemons or the disorder. Im certain theres more to it than that though. I suggest people give it a read…and seek out the montreal based author/coach. Im certain she can do a lot to help this disorder out. I mean she specializes in it, must know all the nutritional stuff to it, and the medication too. Jauqline Seinfeld is the name. (I wonder if I should charge her for pushing her services and book)..ahhhhhh not worth it. but if you know anyone who needs a mentor for OCD, look me up…at ether.com “the listening ocd man”….

  11. What is ADHD January 25, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when
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    even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, awesome blog!

  12. Laura January 25, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in grade 4 , she is now going into grade 10 in the fall. I recently took her off of her prescribed Strattera as the side effects were becoming unbearable at times for her (as well as the entire family). The longer she has been on it the worse the side effects seem to get. EXTREME anger , agitation , frustration etc, drastic increases in sleep, loss of appetite , very irritable, headaches at least 3 or 4 days a week, increasing tummy troubles, the last year she has become physically aggressive when bothered or angered , irritated etc ( to the best of my knowledge before this last year my daughter has never hit anyone) depression is setting in & I’ve just recently discovered 2 letters in her room that I’m pretty sure are suicide letters ( when they were written I don’t know as there were no dates on either of them). I wish I would’ve never put her on medication to start with. The psychiatrist that she was seeing for the first year praised Stratterra like a miracle drug. I started giving it to her & did some research on it and was very concerned about the side effects which I brought up several times to him on our regular visits to him. He told me they were very rare to occur, and would take years & years & years of very long extended use to see such side effects if ever. Well on the Strattera my daughter did seem to have some benefits , her grades improved quite a bit , she was able to focus & concentrate better, she was a lot calmer , & had finally started to keep a group of friends as she never could before because eventually the kids would just get annoyed & irritated by her hyper, loud , extreme ways. She still has these benefits from taking the Strattera , but the side effects have grown so extreme it’s hardly worth it. I want to go natural but I am so overloaded with info from all these sites , I don’t know where to begin.

    • Suzanne August 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Hi Laura,

      My son had similar issues from too high of a dose of Vyvanse. Check out Dr. Charles Parker’s corepsych website–very informative.

  13. greg February 21, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    I have adhd and im tired of it but dont wanna take medicine.

  14. Rick April 22, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    How come nobody has ever discussed using caffeine to address ADHD symptoms? Its generally recognized as safe and is available in natural form like coffee and tea.

    • Mary Bloomer May 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Good point, Rick. When I was in college interning with adolescents with ADHD, the kids had coffee breaks every day and it calmed them down. For individuals with ADHD, stimulants calm them down instead of getting them wired. Thanks for your input!

  15. That Guy May 14, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    FYI, Strattera is neither a stimulant nor an amphetamine; Strattera is a Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI). It is the first in it’s class of drugs used to treat ADHD. It is not the same thing as a stimulant or an amphetamine. They do not do the same thing, nor do they have the same exact side effects. Just a warning to readers: If the author of this article really knew about ADHD and the treatments for it, she would have known the difference. Be wary of what information you subscribe to on this page.

    • Mary Bloomer May 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback, correction noted! But, perhaps you should do your homework, too? The point of the article is to stress the fact that Rx meds should be avoided whenever possible as very often the causes for ADHD are often overlooked by doctors and the drugs only treat the symptoms. The side-effects from the drugs given for ADHD then compound the problem.

      All medications have side effects and the side effects from Strattera are quite significant. People should do their own research on anything they consider taking – even when it’s prescribed by a doctor. We’ll let the studies on Strattera dangers speak for themselves. It might be first in its class, but it’s still dangerous! Here’s just a sampling of studies from multiple countries:

      Drug Warning, November 01, 2011Australia
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Adults (18 and over), Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: High Blood Pressure, Heart Problems,
      Summary: The Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) advised health professionals and patients of important safety information regarding the risk of increased blood pressure and/or heart rate with the use of atomoxetine. These effects could represent a risk for some patients.
      Source: “Atomoxetine (Strattera) – risk of increased blood pressure and/or heart rate” TGA, November 2011, http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-atomoxetine-111102.htm

      Drug Study, December 01, 2010United States
      Drug Class: Mood Stabilizer, Antianxiety, Antidepressant, Antipsychotic, Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine, Venlafaxine, Desvenlafaxine, Sertraline, Escitalopram, Citalopram, Amitriptyline, Bupropion, Trazodone, Mirtazapine, Duloxetine, Amphetamines, Atomoxetine, Methylphenidate, Levetiracetam, Oxcarbazepine, Topiramate, Lamotrigine, Valproic Acid, Phenytoin, Carbamazepine, Aripiprazole, Ziprasidone, Risperidone, Quetiapine, Olanzapine, Paliperidone, Clozapine, Triazolam, Zolpidem, Eszopiclone, Diazepam, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Midazolam, Lorazepam,
      Brand Name: Prozac, Paxil, Seroxat, Luvox, Effexor, Pristiq, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Elavil, Endep, Vanatrip, Wellbutrin, Zyban, Desyrel, Oleptro, Remeron, Cymbalta, Strattera, Ritalin, Concerta, Keppra, Trileptal, Topamax, Topiragen, Lamictal, Depakote, Depakene, Depacon, Epilim, Di-Phen, Dilantin, Phenytek, Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Abilify, Geodon, Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Invega, Clozaril, Halcion, Ambien, Lunesta, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, Ativan,

      Age: Adults (18 and over), Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Violence, Homicidal Ideation, Homicidal Actions,
      Summary: The authors of a study in PLoS One took the Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System data, and extracted all “serious adverse event” reports for drugs with 200 or more cases received from 2004 through September 2009. They identified 484 drugs, which accounted for 780,169 serious adverse event reports of all kinds, including 1,937 cases meeting their violence criteria. Of the 484 drugs identified, 31 drugs were disproportionately associated with violence. These drugs, accounting for 79% of all the violence cases, included 11 antidepressants, 6 sedative/hypnotics and 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The specific cases of violence included: homicide, physical assaults, cases indicating physical abuse, homicidal ideation, and cases described as violence-relates symptoms. The authors concluded, “These data provide new evidence that acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event that is associated with a relatively small group of drugs.
      Source: Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, Dec. 2010.

      Drug Warning, March 05, 2009Ireland
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Suicide Risk, Suicide Attempts, Suicide,
      Summary: Irish Medicines Board reissued the following safety information to healthcare professionals about Atomoxetine (Strattera) in lieu of recent concerns about its increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior associated with its use. It reminds Healthcare professionals that when Atomoxetine is used, patients should be monitored for signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts/behavior.
      Source: “Medicines for the Management of ADHD (I) Atomoxetine (Strattera),” Irish Medicines Board, March 2009.

      Drug Warning, March 01, 2009United Kingdom
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Mania, Psychosis,
      Summary: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (UK) published in their Drug Safety Update newsletter new information about Atomoxetine (Strattera). They warned that Atomoxetine is associated with treatment-emergent psychotic or manic symptoms in children without a history of such disorders.
      Source: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Drug Safety Update newsletter, Vol. 2, March 8, 2009.

      Drug Study, February 01, 2009United States
      Drug Class: Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Dextroamphetamine, Atomoxetine, Methylphenidate,
      Brand Name: Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Strattera, Daytrana,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Hallucinations, Mania, Psychosis,
      Summary: Pediatrics published a study that found that upon reviewing spontaneous case reports of patients treated for ADHD with amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall), atomoxetine (Straterra), or methylphenidate (Ritalin/Concerta/Daytrana) indicated a likely causal association between each of these drugs and treatment-emergent onset of signs and symptoms of psychosis or mania, notably hallucinations, in some patients. The authors concluded, “Patients and physicians should be aware that psychosis or mania arising during drug treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may represent adverse drug reactions.”
      Source: Andrew D. Mosholder, MD, MPH, et al, “Hallucinations and Other Psychotic Symptoms Associated With the Use of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Drugs in Children,” Pediatrics, Vol. 123, No. 2, pp. 611-616, February 2009.

      Drug Warning, November 20, 2008European Union
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Hallucinations, Delusional Thinking, Sensory Disturbances, Mania, Psychosis, Agitation, Irritability,
      Summary: Eli Lilly included in their Strattera label in Europe warnings that Strattera causes “hallucinations, delusional thinking, mania or agitation in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania…”
      Source: “Official warnings issued: The ADHD drug Strattera CAUSES psychosis, hallucinations, mania and agitation” TransWorldNews, November 20, 2008.

      Drug Warning, July 01, 2008Canada
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Self-Harm, Suicide Risk, Suicide Attempts, Suicide,
      Summary: Health Canada’s Adverse Drug Reaction Newsletter issued a report entitled “Atomoxetine (Strattera) and Suicidal Behaviour: Update.” This report reviewed the recent activities involved with warning the public about the risk of self-harm and the necessity of monitoring suicidal behavior while on this drug. Further, “Health care professionals should remind patients, family members and caregivers to monitor moods, behaviors, thoughts and feelings when ADHD medications are used.”
      Source: “Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter,” Health Canada, Vol. 18, Iss. 3, July 2008.

      Drug Warning, February 21, 2007United States
      Drug Class: Antidepressant, Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, Methylphenidate, Methamphetamine, Dextroamphetamine, Dexmethylphenidate, Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Adderall, Concerta, Daytrana, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate CD, Methylin, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Strattera,

      Age: Adults (18 and over), Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Mania, Psychosis, Stroke, Cerebrovascular Events, Heart Problems, Cardiac Events,
      Summary: The FDA directed ADHD drug manufacturers to distribute “patient friendly” guides to consumers warning about serious psychiatric and cardiovascular problems, including stroke, heart attack, sudden death and psychotic reactions caused by ADHD drugs.
      Source: “FDA Directs ADHD Drug Manufacturers to Notify Patients about Cardiovascular Adverse Events and Psychiatric Adverse Events,” FDA News, February 21, 2007.

      Drug Warning, October 18, 2006Australia
      Drug Class: Antidepressant, Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine, Methylphenidate, Dexamphetamine,
      Brand Name: Strattera, Ritalin,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Headaches, Nausea, Vomiting, Depression, Sleepiness, Drowsiness, Fatigue, Agitation, Irritability, Insomnia, Disturbed Sleep, Heart Problems, Cardiac Events, Abnormally Tight Muscles,
      Summary: The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ordered manufacturers of Ritalin, Strattera and dexamphetamine to add stronger warnings to their information packaging after receiving 200 complaints about the drugs. The TGA had received 123 reports of adverse reactions involving Ritalin, including complaints that it caused headache, nausea, anorexia, somnolence (sleepiness) and depression; 23 reports about atomoxetine (Strattera), including aggression, and 60 reports about dexamphetamine, including seven of agitation, five of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and four reports each of hypertonia (abnormally tight muscles), hyperkinesia (muscle spasm) and insomnia.
      Source: “ADHD drug risks for kids”, The Australian, Matthew Franklin, October 18, 2006.

      Drug Warning, September 21, 2006Canada
      Drug Class: Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Methylphenidate, Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, Atomoxetine, Dexmethylphenidate,
      Brand Name: Adderall XR, Attenade, Biphentin, Concerta, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Strattera,

      Age: Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Death, Sudden Death, Agitation, Irritability, Heart Problems, Cardiac Events, Stroke, Cerebrovascular Events, Hallucinations, Delusional Thinking, Sensory Disturbances,
      Summary: Health Canada increased warnings on ADHD drugs due to the “potential for psychiatric adverse events” including agitation and hallucinations. This is in addition to earlier Canadian warnings of cardiovascular risks from ADHD Drugs including cardiac arrest, stroke and sudden death.
      Source: “New Information Regarding Uncommon Psychiatric Adverse Events For All ADHD Drugs” Information Update, September 21, 2006.

      Drug Warning, May 26, 2006Canada
      Drug Class: Antidepressant, Stimulant,
      Generic Name: Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, Dextromethylphenidate, Methylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine, Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Adderall XR, Attenade, Biphentin, Concerta, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Strattera,

      Age: Adults (18 and over), Children (under 18)
      Side Effects: Death, Sudden Death, Blood Pressure Changes, Heart Problems, Cardiac Events, Stroke, Cerebrovascular Events,
      Summary: Health Canada issued new warnings of rare heart risks for all drugs prescribed for ADHD, including the risk of sudden death. The public advisory cautioned that the stimulants can increase heart rate and blood pressure and that this can result in “cardiac arrests, strokes or sudden deaths.” This warning applies to both adults and children.
      Source: “New cautions regarding rare heart-related risks for all ADHD drugs,” Health Canada, 2006-35, May 26, 2006.

      Drug Warning, April 25, 2006Russia
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Adults (18 and over)
      Side Effects: Suicide Risk, Suicide Attempts, Suicide,
      Summary: Russia’s Ministry of Health and Social Development issued a ban on Strattera (atomoxetine) because of its ability to cause suicidal inclinations.
      Source: R. U. Khabriev, “On suspending the state registration of Strattera medication,” Ministry of Health and social development of Russia Federation, #970-pr/06, April 25, 2006.

      Drug Warning, February 16, 2006United Kingdom
      Drug Class: Antidepressant,
      Generic Name: Atomoxetine,
      Brand Name: Strattera,

      Age: Adults (18 and over)
      Side Effects: Heart Problems, Cardiac Events, Convulsions, Seizures, Muscle Spasms, Liver Problems, Liver Failure, Liver Toxicity,
      Summary: UK’s Department of Health’s Commission on Human Medicines issued a warning to health professionals that the antidepressant Strattera can cause seizures, a potentially dangerous lengthening of time between heartbeats, increase risk of suicidal behavior and can cause severe liver disorders.
      Source: Gordon Duff, “Message from Professor G. Duff, Chairman, Commission on Human Medicines,” Commission on Human Medicines, CEM/CMO/2006/3, February 16, 2006.

    • Ashley Steinbrinck May 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Hmmm… Somebody@someone.com and “That Guy” – so why are people supposed to believe you? Might you be one of those trolls hired by Big Pharma to destroy good knowledgeable information that will actually help people? What are your credentials and who’s paying you to make unnecessary comments on natural health sites?

  16. Sally August 20, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I just wanted to say that I am an adult with ADD… I an currently taking Concerta and it is working just great without any side effects…. But I knew when I started taking it that if I had any negative reaction to it that I would stop it. Please know that meds CAN work if it is your only choice, but know your child… maybe keep a journal of side effects or problems and report to your doctor…Don’t let your child’s school guilt you into taking it either… I am currently looking into going on a gluten free diet, and cutting out processed foods… I want to go off my meds and live a healthier life, and hope that I feel better in the process- It is very hard living with ADD and I am willing to change my lifestyle to get the results I want

    • Ashley Steinbrinck August 20, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Best of luck to you Sally! We very much hope you can get off of those meds and live a healthier lifestyle ; ) Thanks for sharing!

  17. Cyndi Smith August 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    My son is 13 and weights 80lbs. He has been on ADHD medication since he was 6. And DDAVP for bed wetting (yes at 13!) Recently I took him off all meds. I do not see the point in continuing the meds that do not help him. He will be having a sleep study in October. I am extremely interested in a natural approach. I will defiantly be taking this article to heart to help him. Unfortunately his father and step mother do not agree and said they will continue the meds one the 1,3 &5 weekends. It makes me so mad. Is there anything that helps with anger?

    • Ashley Steinbrinck August 23, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Good for you Cyndi! Unfortunately, we can’t always make our parents happy – and you have to make the best decisions according to your gut feeling on things. Sorry, rents! ; ) And just be sure to read the article on “elimination diet.” I think that would be a great start for your son. Simple food sensitivities and allergies can cause worse symptoms. He could even be allergic to tomatoes or oranges! You just never know… My suggestion would be to Google “functional medicine practitioner” around where you live. If you go to a Dr. that has nutrition and your biochemical make up in mind – he or she will guide you through a more natural process for keeping your son off meds for good. Check out what Dr. Hyman has to say about functional medicine. You might like what you read. As far as getting your parents on board – just wait until after your son starts doing way better! Then they won’t know what to say ; )

  18. Cynthia August 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    I have a brand-new kindergartener who I expressed concerns about right when school started, but hoped that the change in routine might be what he needed. The first week of school, awesome (hooray! sleep patterns improved, behavior great!)….second week, a couple of issues including impulsivity issues (my expressed concern)… this week, he was removed from class and can’t return til I attend a conference tomorrow..he was playing and trying to poke another student in the face – with scissors. He is very tired today (he fights sleep like no other warrior ever fought!), so I’m sure this contributed a little, but doesn’t explain it away since his behavior is always impulsive. I’ve expressed to the school personnel that I’d like him evaluated for an educational plan to help him.

    I am going to start right away detoxifying and naturalizing everything he eats as soon as possible; this is not the way I want him to start his school experience, but peds wont evaluate much for ADHD prior to school (grrr). I worry about the period of time when I’m “waiting” for the supplements to kick in – anyone have any “interim” suggestions?

    I’m also looking for a good article on the use of caffeine in kids with ADHD/Impulsivity, if anyone can share.

    I have 3 older boys who had zero problems, this little one seems to have taken the role of “making up for it” :) He’s absolutely brilliant (and will be tested for gifted services as well), affectionate, silly… just can’t control the impulses. Poor lil man…. :(

    Thanks everyone for sharing… would love to hear your individual successes with kindergarten age children. ~Cynthia

  19. Aliya Funda September 6, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    I love what you have shared here regarding signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism that is very helpful not only to me but also to many people who are having problem with the condition of their thyroid.

  20. Roberta September 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I am so happy to come across this site and the posts by other parents.

    The teachers today have no idea what is best for children, they just jump to Drugs! Well I say no to Drugs, but they put demands on me, pretty much make me feel like a bad parent that doesn’t understand what my child needs. News Flash this is my child, not yours so back off and watch the way you talk to my child.

    My son has been in Catholic School since kindergarten. They have been on me for years to put him on meds, which I didn’t believe in. Two years later I caved! The stress of working 6 days a week, being a single mother, parenting his father and his father’s family on how to handle our son, along with my hyperthyroid disease was to much. So I gave in and put him on meds. The pediatrician assisted with a treatment plan and after a few tries we got a dose that was ok for him, but really hasn’t made a damn difference! I felt like I gave up, I wasn’t happy with myself as a parent, more disgusted daily when giving my son his pill or as I call it a “drug”. I kept my son on the pills through school to make them happy, but heard feedback from them that there hasn’t been a big change. They said maybe I should up the dose! Really, lol that is not happening! I ended up actually taking my son off the medication during summer and he was great! He even said he never felt so good, he felt horrible on the pills and didn’t want to be on them.

    My son has said the school doesn’t like him, the teachers don’t talk nice to him nor do the children! Pretty bad coming from a 8year old! No wonder he acts out, you treat him like a black sheep!

    So this Tuesday was the start of school! Day 2 ring, ring! I get a call, “Your son is being defiant and not coming in when recess is over Roberta. Is your son on his medication? asks the teacher. Note: I starting giving my son a cup of coffee in the morning during summer which I seen it has helped a lot. I didn’t notify the school of this. So the teacher says to me your son said he is now on caffeine, is this right Roberta? I kind of laughed cause it was cute how he said it. She said this not a joke! I said listen I understand this and yes he is right, and I wont be putting him back on medication anytime soon. He doesn’t need it, until I speak with the pediatrician in Nov this is how it is. She says “I am concerned about your the health of your son having caffeine, he should be on medication!” I said so you think my son having a small cup of coffee in the morning is not good, but him being addicted to drugs is OK?? She said yes cause that’s what he needs. I ALMOST LOST IT, but kept cool.

    Where does teachers get the authority to make your child and you feel like crap. My son is so smart, intelligent, creative, cute, excellent at math, has such a big heart, loves helping out and being a big boy. I can go on and on as he is a great kid! So I am having a meeting with the teacher next week. I want to go over different strategies to help him as well help them out through the day to manage my son. In the meantime we are looking for a new school, but more of less switching him to public.

    The teachers need to take their shoes off and understand to have patience with children as all children are the same. Drugs is not the damn answer.

    I am frustrated but ready to stand up! You will not put my son on drugs when really he is good without them. He doesn’t need to have health problems when he is older. I will look into fish oil and vit c to put him on. The diet I already have restricted for years, no sugar, no processed food etc etc.

    P.S. The pediatrician pointed out to me last time that maybe the school was the problem not my son.

    Thanks for listening, glad to hear I am not alone as it feels like this!

    Sincerely,
    Roberta

    • Steve October 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      I’m with the doc on this one – I think the school is the problem. We put our kids in alternative schools where the kids have more say-so about what activities they get to be involved with, and he has done amazingly well there. Our son’s nickname was “Wild Boy.” He would have been a total disaster in a regular classroom, we didn’t even bother. There’s actually research to back me up on this – professionals can’t even tell the difference between the “ADHD” and normal kids in an open classroom, even though they were right like 90% of the time in a standard classroom.

      My opinion: ADHD is caused mostly by inflexible school classrooms and bad teachers. Find a school that feels like it’s their job to adapt their approach to your son, rather than making your son have to adapt to their rigid expectations. It will make all the difference.

      — Steve, Portland OR

      • Ashley Steinbrinck October 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #

        Thanks for your great insight and sharing your personal experiences concerning ADHD and your son, Steve. I really enjoy your input and am so glad to hear you’re making things work well without the use of drugs. I will do some research regarding genetics as it pertains to ADHD. I do know that everyone’s biochemical make up is different and genetics do play a role. But, so do many other things. Like you mentioned, the environment, toxins, etc. Keep up the good work – love that you love home school – I totally agree with you there!

  21. Dewayne September 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    My 13 y/o son has adhd and was on concerta well it just got when he’d take it he’d have these mood swings he’d tell his mother and me he hated us he wished we would die and then break down and start crying afterwards so we took him off of it which his mood swings are better but he’s staying in trouble in school to the point that if he don’t change he may get in serious trouble. I don’t know what to do here. I just wanna sit down and cry I feel so helpless.

    • Ashley Steinbrinck September 24, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Dewayne, I wish I could flip a switch and make everything okay for you and your son! Having 2 young boys myself, I know that parenting alone is a challenging and difficult job. To add the stress of ADHD symptoms on top of that – I can’t even imagine… If I were you, the first thing I would do is Google “Functional Medicine Practitioner” along with the city you live in. These are the natural minded Doctors who know that nutrition is a therapeutic tool. They take your biochemical makeup into consideration and test for food allergies/sensitivities, toxicity and nutrient deficiencies. These 3 things could all be contributing to your sons symptoms. Things like ADHD, Autism, auto-immune and other mental disorders are almost always stemming from an unhealthy gut. A detox, supplementing with magnesium & other vitamins/minerals and an elimination diet may all be very helpful for you and your son as well. I hope the best for you and your family and would love to hear your son’s progress. ; ) Hang in there and remember to take deep breaths daily!

  22. Rachael October 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Hello Im a concerned mom. My son is 3 years old and even though all the symptoms are there yet the Dr. says he is to young to be diagnosed with A.D.D. When I took him to the Dr. he advised me to give him coffee. But my son now has been having really bad headaches and throwing up when I give it to him which makes me want to stop giving it to him. I feel so bad for him and wish I knew what he was going through. I get called everyday from daycare and now I’m even needing to put him up at 12pm everyday. This is not possible I have to work. Please help me to find something that may help him..

    Thank you
    Rachael

    • Ashley Steinbrinck October 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Rachael. If I were you, I’d try to find a holistic minded Dr in your area first. Try Google searching “Functional Medicine Practitioner” along with your city to see what comes up. These Doctors understand the therapeutic role that nutrition plays on our health. As a mom with a 3-year old boy myself, that is the first thing I would do. Otherwise, I’d stop the coffee (D U M B) in my opinion for the Dr. to recommend that. Your son could be experiencing these issues simply from food sensitivities alone! Either that, or nutrient deficiencies, toxic accumulation in his body or all of the above. That is where the function medical Dr. would be able to help. He would pin point the exact issues with his biological make up in mind and figure out the best way to get him healthy naturally.

      You could try an elimination diet with your son. See my post here http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2013/07/27/an-allergy-elimination-diet-plan-health-benefits-recipes/

      And you could also get him a multivitamin, some Omega 3′s (Naturalhealthyconcepts has free shipping and the Nordic Naturals Omega 3 gummies are delightful), probiotics to help put good bacteria in his gut. (The gut is usually were the issues stem from) and make sure he’s getting enough magnesium. NHC also carries magnesium supplements. But I’d begin by contacting that functional medical practitioner to help guide you through!

      Good luck, I wish you the best of luck and health.

  23. Steve October 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Hi, Ashley!

    Thanks for publicizing some of the many alternatives to stimulant treatment, as well as being very direct and straightforward about their adverse impacts. I have raised two (of three) boys who had all the classic “ADHD” symptoms (one pretty severe), and both are healthy, functioning adults who did well in school and developed a wide range of skills, and we never even considered resorting to medication.

    I would encourage you to do some more research into the belief that ADHD is a “genetic disorder” as you state above. Almost all of the intensive genetic research being done is telling us that while genetics may contribute to mental/emotional/behavioral problems, our very genetic code is highly modifiable in how it is expressed, based on the environment we encounter, especially as young children. I don’t want people to get the idea that there is necessarily something genetically defective about their child just because s/he acts in an intense and active or even oppositional way.

    One more alternative you might mention that many of us have used successfully is homeschooling or alternative school environments. A good study done in the 70s showed that “ADHD” kids are indistinguishable from “normal” kids in an open classroom environment, where they maintained some control over which activity they did and when they started and stopped these activities. Much of the difficulty these kids present is that they fit very poorly into a traditional classroom setting. Finding and/or creating an more child-centered alternative can save tons of hassle and make medication completely unnecessary.

    Finally, I want everyone to be aware that the impact of stimulant use on long-term outcomes has been studied extensively, and found to be completely absent. All the scare talk about your child becoming a criminal, getting hooked on drugs, or being unable to finish high school or find employment – none of these outcomes have been shown to be positively affected by stimulant use over the long term. This should be another really strong reason to look for alternatives, as it’s clear that if we want to change the outcomes we really care about, those that affect the long-term quality of our children’s lives, stimulants are at best a waste of time. To assume the risks you outline for no long-term benefit just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Thanks again for the helpful article, and keep spreading the word!

    —- Steve

  24. MMarti October 25, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I just stumbled upon your site, and I’m really thankful I did. My daughter hasn’t been formally diagnosed with ADHD – inattentive type, but when I took her to a neurologist last spring to get her tested, he said she had the classic symptoms of inattentive type. It was close to summer, so he suggested that she’d have a normal summer, and if her symptoms were still present in the fall bring her back to get formally evaluated. Well, here we are in the fall, and her teacher tells me that she zones off a lot and doesn’t complete her class work. The teacher also says that my daughter is very bright. She can carry on a conversation like an adult and passes all her tests without even listening in class. Her problem is that she is easily distracted and is a chatterbox. Well, after briefly considering taking her back to the doctor, I decided to look up the side effects of the meds that they would most likely put her on and there is NO WAY I can do that to her. I know some people respond well to medication and there are never any side effects present, but I don’t want to take that chance. You mentioned that there could be a connection with the gut (digestive problems) and I have been reading a lot about this issue due to my own autoimmune disorder and was considering the Paleo diet for myself, but now I see that she may be able to benefit from this as well, so now I’m def going to try it.
    But my question to you, and I apologize for the long winded comment, is out of all the supplements that you noted above, which do you think would be the best to start off with? I don’t want to give her too many all at once. Again, she seems to have the inattentive type. Currently, I am giving her the Bach Daydreamers drops I purchased at Whole Foods, but I just started and I have not seen a huge improvement.

    Thanks for your help.

  25. Stacey D November 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I stumbled upon your site last night when I was unable to sleep thinking about how to help my son focus better in school and running through all the information I learned from my new holistic friend at our local health food store. My 6 year old son was diagnosed as having ADHD a few months ago. My husband and I have seen traits for ADHD with him since pre k. We started trying to modify things with diet and supplements and they seemed to work for a while, well that is until we started him in 1st grade public school, instead of a small private school environment. We were called in the very first week of school for a parent teacher meeting where we felt more pressure to lean towards medication. I immediately made an appointment with his pediatrician who suggested we try Ritalin 10 mg once per day. It worked in some ways for a short period of time. I took him back to the pediatrician who suggested we try 20 mg once per day. This entire situation has been absolutely heart breaking. Other than being a typical 6 yr old boy who has energy to burn (as we all did as kids in a very different time than now) he just loses focus in school. It really makes you wonder why the teachers are so intolerant these days and so quick to suggest “drugs”. Most classrooms are overloaded (26 kids in my son’s class). I am pretty sure I would also lose focus with the classroom observation I recently had a couple of weeks ago. He was working in a small reading group in another room. In that room he was focused, worked hard and followed direction, possibly because he is familiar with working in small groups. We moved back to his regular class where there were several different groups of kids doing different things. I immediately saw him lose focus, there was so much going on at once. Even I had a hard time keeping up with the chaos. Not to mention I have written his teacher several heart felt emails (anger gets nowhere) asking for her understanding and support. She has yet to respond to any of them. I appreciate teachers and my sister in law was teacher of the year for Maryland and is now a vice principal so I understand the challenges faced in our education system.
    Yesterday I stopped at my local health food store and stocked up on 100% natural multi vitamins, omega 3 and a magnesium supplement. Also Newtons homeopathic for kids called Hyper calm, mental focus drops. I have always been a naturalist and would always prefer all natural to harsh chemicals. We all only get one body and we should treat it with care. It breaks my heart to feel like I am feeding my son poison everyday and setting him up for future health issues later in life. I did not give him any ritalin this weekend and started on the Newtons Hyper calm mental focus. I am not expecting instant results but I have hopes for a natural effective way to help my son. Thank you for this site and all the information. It is such a huge relief to know that I am not alone.

    • Ashley Steinbrinck November 11, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Thank you so much for your comment, Stacey. Sounds like you are a very good mama and your boy will thank you someday for that! Keep up the good work ; ) I wish the best for you and your family.

  26. Tanya November 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I am so excited to find this website and others that are dealing with the same struggles. My son is 11 and in the 6th grade, Every year I get the same response from his teachers…he is very smart, but cannot stay on task, never has a pencil, the last one to complete anything, loses assignments, spaces off, etc. I sat and cried during his last parent/teacher conference. He was there too and I felt so bad, but I just lost it. I had no idea how to help him and know he is not doing it on purpose. When he was in 4th grade his teacher suggested I get him to be evaluated for ADD. I was not surprised as I heard the same story (minus ADD label from teachers) since kindergarten. I took him to the pediatrician and a physiciatrist trying to find out if he was ADD and came to the conculsion that he has many characteristics of ADD, but could not find much help since he did not meet all the requirements and is getting good grades in school, with the help of his teachers. He does not have any of the hyperactivity, he is actually too laid back. I do not want to give him medicine and am trying to find some type of supplements to try. My constant nagging him is not helpful! Thank you all for helping me to feel that I am not alone.

  27. Rj November 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Hi, I just pulled my son off of concerta…the highest dose and put him on intuniv to try to work through the problems from concerta withdrawal. I hate to have him on the intuniv even but I didn’t give it to him last night and today was crazy, even after I gave him four gaba calms and four Cal mag zinc, he was bouncing off the walls so I finally gave him a 1 mg intuniv. He was begging for something to help him. I wonder what is the best fish oil. I bought some krill oil pills but they smelled rancid. I’m so irritated with all this. I hate to see him struggle :(

  28. keri December 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Hello, I’ve got some concerns about my 8.5 yr old.. he’s showing signs of ADD .. he’s a very young for his age group in school and I know that can play a factor on his learning levels .. but I’ve been told my his teacher he’s very antsy in his seat at school and always wanting to get up and move around or ho get something .. but he’s a very sweet pleasant little boy no behavior problems at school other then he can’t focus on a task for a long period of time . I’m needing advise on home remidies of vitamins to give him..I’ve read that dha extra for kids work and also vitamin b and fish oil helps … Thanks.

    • Mary Bloomer December 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks for commenting on our post, Keri! Your son sounds like many boys we know! We’ve attached a link to another post on natural supplements that may help with ADD/ADHD. Everyone is different and what works for one child may not work for another. In addition, if at all possible, you might consider having him tested for food sensitivities/allergies or try an elimination diet to see if this helps. Many parents get results from eliminating food additives, artificial colors and sugar (as much as possible!) from their children’s diets. We hope this helps!
      http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2013/10/17/natural-supplements-that-may-help-with-adhdadd/

  29. judy December 28, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    My boyfriend has add but no longer can afford the medication he has no insurance and they are 400 dollars Rx he sleeps all day if he doesn’t have the meds what can I do to help this

  30. Leah January 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m currently a junior in highschool and I was diagnosed with ADD in eighth grade. I began taking concerta, but due to it making me sweat a lot, my doctor (not very helpful) switched me to adderall in 9th grade and I have been on it ever since. I have never really noticed many side effects of my adhd medicine besides dry mouth and sweatstains, that is until this year. I did some research and pieced it together. Whenever I take breaks in school and go off the medicine and come back on it, i get so depressed the first week and i’m generally a super always happy type person. It wasn’t till over Christmas break when I went off it that I noticed how miserable the medicine made me. I get stomach aches when i’m on it, i’m not as friendly, i’m quieter, i’m sadder, i sweat a ton, i’m way more irritable, and almost in a sense it makes me so much more focused on myself. I have been crying the past few days over how much I hate taking the miserable drug, but half way through my junior year in highschool is no time to start experimenting i feel like because I need to get good grades so I can get a scholarship but at the same time I can’t stay on this drug that changes who I am…. I’m nervous about letting it go what if the remedies don’t work? Please help me out/contact me/ give me any more advice I’m desperate to be care free again!!

    • Ashley Steinbrinck January 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your story, Leah! I wish I could tell you exactly what to do. You’re in a tough position and I know it must be very hard to decide what route to take. One thing I’d tell you to do is find a “functional medicine” practitioner in your area. That person would be certified and tell you exactly what you’d need to do. The doctor could test you for food allergies and sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies you might have, etc. Everyone is made differently so one person might need something different than another. Remember, what you eat is very important. Staying away from sugar especially and preservatives, artificial ingredients, dyes, etc. Fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds are so beneficial for good nutrition. And good nutrition is key. Don’t worry yourself too much about school ;) you have plenty of opportunities in life – you’re just getting started. In my opinion it’s not always about grades. I bet you are one bright and very creative girl! Hang in there. I hope you are care free again soon!

    • Blog Guest January 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      Leah (and ALL),

      I have an 18 year old son who just entered college and he himself just realized he has ADHD. Long story that I don’t want to bore everyone with, but I’ll just say he figured it out after taking a Ritalin given to him by another student. Looking back, and now that I’ve been educated on ADD/ADHD, he had certainly exhibited many of the classic signs throughout his life. Problem was I just wasn’t smart enough to recognize it. Grant it he must have a mild case and since he is very bright he was able to do well in school.

      Fast forward to becoming a freshman in college and the scenario changed a bit.
      Again, I won’t bore everyone with the details of my son’s revelation other than to say he’s been taking relatively high doses of Fish Oil (specifically EPA//DHA Omega-3) and has been experiencing dramatic improvement in a relatively short period of time. He started to take them over the Thanksgiving holiday and within a week or two had experienced changes that he never even knew could exist. All the research I’ve done says it takes several months for a good dosage of EPA/DHA to work, and it appears to be helping my son. I’m now at a point where I’m going to have him alter his EPA/DHA Ratio from where it is now (almost equal of each) to a almost a 3:1 Ratio in favor of EPA. All my research suggests ADHD people need more EPA than DHA.

      Perhaps you should try taking an Omega-3 Supplement (likely about 2-Grams of EPA/DHA per day) and see if that helps you. May take several weeks to a month before you start feeling any changes but maybe you can slowly lower your dosage of Adderall once the Omega-3 kicks in. Please do not do any of this without the guidance of your parents (or potentially your doctor), but maybe it’ll help you too.

      • Cindi K February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

        Blog Guest, so happy to hear your report, that is exactly what worked for my 11 year old neice. The docs wanted to put her on Adderall but I asked for 6 months to try natural alternatives. The Fish Oil in a 5:1 EPA:DHA ratio took right at 3 months to kick in, but when it did, it was so amazing I cried. She went from taking literally hours to do 15 minutes of homework, to maybe 20 minutes. Her ability to focus increased exponentially. Unfortunately, at 16 she left to go live with her biological parents and didn’t continue the Fish Oil and is now on Straterra(sp?).

  31. Amelia January 27, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    Thank you for doing such a comprehensive research. I believe it is so important to try the natural approaches before starting medical treatments. Too bad most doctors don’t think twice before subscribing drugs to our kids.

  32. Sarah February 13, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    I teach 9-12 year olds and a lot of them are getting diagnosed with ADHD.

    I’m not a doctor but I feel it’s getting over diagnosed. When I speak with the parents, most of them say those children have the most trouble sleeping.

    I wonder if helping them sleep would solve some of the problems for at least some of the children. I’m not sure if ADHD causes the sleep problems or if it’s the other way around, or somewhere in between. Or if something which would calm them down significantly during the day.

    Does anyone here have experience giving children herbal sleep supplements or extended time periods? Or herbal anxiety supplements? Is it safe? I can’t find a lot of reliable info on weather or not powerful herbal supplements are safe for children. There seem to be people on both sides.

    I was looking at these 2 I came across when googling something like “powerful supplements for sleep and anxiety) They are coming out soon and apparently targeted for adults, but I wonder if a half dose of something like these would work for children, and of course be safe.

    http://88herbs.com/products/sleep-x (sleep)

    http://88herbs.com/products/zen-x (anxiety)

    Dose anyone have experience with this kind of thing or an herbal supplement combination that would have both less side effects than the big pharma meds but would still be powerful enough to be effective.

    Thanks so much everyone!

    Thanks Ashley! You have such a wonderful blog!

    • Shelley March 9, 2014 at 12:05 am #

      Sarah,

      Omg… you are certainly on to something & are a very observant & intelligent woman.
      Wonderful name, by the way…. it’s my daughter’s name too. I’m SO super happy that finally a TEACHER agrees that ADD/ADHD is being diagnosed way too often and seems to be the first conclusion that teachers & doctors want to jump too when dealing with a child who finds it boring to sit completely still for 6 hours a day. Hello, what person (adult or child) wants to be made & expected to be sedentary ALL day, but yet pushed to be “more productive”. It’s so nice to know that not ALL teachers are against parents who refuse to drug their child just to try to make it easier on them (the teachers). Honestly, I do respect teachers and I know their jobs can be very hectic & even difficult… but what happened to people going into a profession that involves interaction with children because they love dealing with children, are naturally compassionate, caring, and patient (especially with children)??? Is that so much to ask for? In my opinion, too many teachers that we have nowadays are not cut out for the job & don’t have the patience or even the right personality to deal with kids all day. Heck, I couldn’t, which is exactly why I’m not a teacher.
      Sarah, you seem to be a great teacher, and a kind person who is more concerned about the well being of her students than she is about having an easy classroom to deal with. I WISH my son had a teacher like you.
      I won’t bore anyone by giving all the details of our struggle with our child being diagnosed with ADHD (or put myself into tears just thinking about the horror it has put our poor son through). Let’s just say I pray constantly that our child doesn’t have emotional scars because of all the crap he’s been through (sorry, no better word to describe… it’s really a bunch of junk, craziness, Crap!, etc..). I have done tons of research & there’s still tons more to do. Last year, while I was attending college, I wrote an essay, based on some of the research I had conducted, about there being a link between Sleep Apnea or difficulty sleeping and ADD/ADHD. It seemed that many children were being misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD, when in actuality, it was discovered after having sleep studies done, the children were suffering from Sleep Apnea, or some other sleep disorder instead. Once the sleeping disorder was treated, the majority, if not all, ADD/ADHD symptoms completely disappeared.
      Please, Sarah, don’t give up searching for more answers to your very thought provoking questions… and for the children’s sake, please don’t let other, less patient, teachers/colleagues pressure you into jumping on their bandwagon. Refuse to be a teacher that is so ready & quick to suggest parents drugging their child, especially when so many of us (parents) are totally against it & feel bullied to do so, regardless of how apprehensive we are about it.

      Thank you for being compassionate & being a great advocate for our children. You can really help change the world’s view of ADD/ADHD children and of teachers too!

  33. Emily H March 19, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    hi I’m so glad I came across this blog. I have always been fully against giving my son DRUGS and he is have a hard time at school and home. He is always saying he’s bored with school work, he loses EVERYTHING, gets distracted very easily, talks nonstop, can’t sit still, etc. I could go on and on. He is very smart even though he’s having problems this year in school with incomplete work his test score are perfect. He’s testing 2 grades higher. But yet the teacher placed him on academic probation due to incomplete work, and shes pushing me to put him on meds. Which is very irritating because she knows how I feel about them. Anyways I am defentialy going to try these supplements and get the books you mention, I need to find something to help my son without giving him meds.

    • Ashley Steinbrinck March 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      That’s so good to hear, Emily! You are a good Mama! Keep up your research and let us know how it goes ; ) I wish you and your son the best!

  34. Anna April 5, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Thank you so much for all the useful knowledge. Is there a supplement(s) that are combined so that I won’t need to take so many different ones?

  35. Shermeeka April 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    For one, thank you for posting this article. It was very informative! I am a 32 year old adult who I was recently diagnosed with Inattentive ADD–about a month ago at least. I was prescribed Strettera, but had to stop taking it because of the side effects. I don’t want to take any medications, due to being highly sensitive to medications. I want to try the remedies you’ve suggested.

    However, I’ve noticed that you recommended supplements containing fish oil. I am a vegetarian and therefore don’t consume fish in any form. Are there any other supplements I can take suitable for vegetarians?

  36. monique May 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    A recent article in the New York Times, Exercising the Mind to Treat ADHD, discusses meditation as a natural way to help with ADHD. It may be difficult for some kids and adults to learn meditation. I’m a Mom and my kids learned kelee meditation. It takes 5 minutes to do, is simple & healing. Even if you started out doing it for 1 minute you would see the benefits.

  37. Valerie May 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    My son (just a few hours ago) was given Adderall to help his issue of ADD. At 17 my son has went his entire life as a healthy young man and now that he is able to speak for himself a medical Army professional advises him that he needs to be medically treated for a disease that he does not have. What surprises me the most is the Doctor listened to the “opinions of his teachers” and my sond own assessment of things and not my husband (his Father) nor myself. I am OUTRAGED at the findings on Adderall. I am shocked that the Government will find some way to make us crazier and addicted to substances that will leave us bruised and unable to perform as HUMAN beings. I am sick to my stomach and I need help on how to encourage my son that HE does not need this crap. Thanks

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