Discovering your child has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be unsettling. A psychiatrist is the most qualified doctor to treat ADHD. However, if you’d rather make some changes at home, try these treatments. They will not cure the disorder, but they can make it easier to manage.
1. Drink Coffee
Joseph Stromberg published an article in December 2013 stating that the idea of coffee stunting growth is a myth. If you feel comfortable with your child drinking coffee, I recommend at least two cups in the morning. While caffeine makes many people hyperactive, it usually has the opposite effect on people with ADHD.
I’ve used coffee with teenagers with very positive results. However, the effects will diminish after a couple of hours. Teenagers can benefit from another cup when they arrive home, especially if they need to complete homework.
2. Cut the Sweets
Sugar usually increases hyperactivity and distractibility. I strongly recommend everyone in the household stop eating sweets. When everyone commits to this, the diet is easier to follow and there are fewer arguments. If you must sweeten food, try using Splenda or another sugar-alternative. Also, try to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other additives found in canned fruit and caffeinated beverages.
3. Eat Less Fruit
Fruit is important in a diet, but it can also increase the symptoms of ADHD. This is because fruit is high in fructose, which is a type of sugar. Some fruits contain less fructose and Heather Dale published an article in 2011 listing fruit by sugar content. When you consume fruit, eat fruits that are lower in fructose.
One man I know with severe ADHD limits his fruit intake to blueberries or a banana in the morning. He gets the rest of his vitamins through vegetables. When in season, he’ll also eat other fruits, (such as strawberries, peaches, and watermelon). However, he always moderates this intake and eats them with his breakfast, (while he’s drinking his coffee).
4. Wiggle Your Toes
Kids with ADHD often find sitting through a long class unbearable. They constantly fidget and distract other students. However, studies have shown that movement can increase one’s ability to focus. Therefore, I’ve taught teens to wiggle their toes when they’re listening to teachers. Generally, they start with one toe and alternate pressure until it becomes a habit. They can also tighten and loosen their thigh muscles. Kids tell me these movements are very effective and rarely noticed.
5. Chew Gum or Sit on a Ball
If the child is alone, let him or her be productively hyperactive. Chewing gum can improve attention span just like wiggling one’s toes. In addition, my Title I tutoring program bought large “fitness balls” for our ADHD kids. While completing homework, kids sit on the balls rather than regular chairs. Constantly moving and having to balance themselves, helps them study and we don’t nag them to be still.
Over the last six years, I’ve seen a dramatic difference in the kids with whom I’ve worked when I’ve used these methods. Use these five home remedies with medication, (or as an alternative,) and make ADHD symptoms easier to manage.
For more information on ADHD, read Abnormal Child Psychology by Eric J. Mash and David A. Wolfe (2010) pages 118-150. You can also visit the Mayo Clinic or the National Institute of Mental Health.