Alternative Therapies for ADHD Found to be Effective

An article entitled ├ČAlternative treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: does evidence support their use? (Altern Ther Health Med 2002;8:68-74) points out a need for alternatives to medication in the management of ADHD. Many children do not tolerate medications and the risks associated with long-term use have not been fully evaluated. The authors also noted that there are few studies validating alternative treatments, primarily because none of the significant financial interests that are likely to fund large-scale studies are backing them. Many alternative approaches are also individually tailored and do not lend themselves to current-day study designs in which all the participants must receive the same medication.

Nevertheless, the authors did find studies that support the benefits of a few alternative treatments. In particular, they reviewed studies validating the effectiveness of neurofeedback for AD/HD. One of these studies found it to be as effective as medication after 20 to 40 sessions, with no need for continued treatment. Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback designed to strengthen neurological pathways through repeated training. It can help in controlling impulses, increasing attention, and efficiently processing information.

The authors also discuss several nutritional treatments that have been shown to be effective. Included among these are essential fatty acids such as evening primrose oil and fish oil and the amino acid L-glutamine.

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