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Treatments for ADHD
By Sheflynn S. on Tue Jan 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM EST
I have read and felt all the heart-wrenching struggles of the posts in this group. I, too, have ADHD children. Each with their own set of issues. When we noticed how difficult reading was for my 2nd child, even with a specialized reading and spelling program that I taught her myself, I knew that it was not just a matter of her needing more practice. I had her evaluated for learning disabilities, not even suspecting that it would be ADD. Of course, that is what was going on with her, and I was completely ignorant of what exactly ADD is. This is the main problem with the general public, including our well-intending, but clueless relatives and friends. I tried the medication route, simply because there is no other way to know if it will be beneficial unless we tried. While I saw a moderate amount of self-control return to my daughter, she still struggled with reading (and memorizing math facts!) Two of my other children showed varying degrees of ADD and we started them on meds with bad results. Both of them had big mood swings, no matter which medicine we tried. All through that time period I was trying to read and research as much as I could to learn about ADD. The best author on the subject that I highly recommend to everyone is Dr. Ned Hallowell. He has written several books and has a great website - www.drhallowell.com

What I learned from him has done more to help me than any doctor's office we've been to. I learned from him about several alternative treatments that I explored once we saw that the medication wasn't as helpful as we had hoped (and it was a relief to know other options are out there - I didn't particularly like using them). I chose to do neurofeedback therapy, of which there are many types. I was fortunate enough to have someone near where I live that does LENS treatments. You can research LENS for yourself to see what it is - Low Energy Neurofeedback System. It is painless, and had no side effects for my children.

My second child was the one we focused on for LENS treatments. After one month of treatments, she could answer any multiplication fact all the way up to the 12's. Now, this was a big deal. She had been working on her math facts for YEARS, and never could recall long term memory information. Here's why - it has been observed that a child with ADHD has low brain activity - it looks like a normal brain when the person is asleep. That is why there has been some benefit found in giving these kids stimulates - it is basicly telling the brain to wake up for a little while. What LENS does is it sends a low energy signal directly to a part of the brain and tells it to wake up. Over a period of time of the brain receiving that signal, the brain finally "gets it" and functions more at the level of a person that is awake and alert. At that point the person is done with treatment. It's not a life long dependency. It was the "sleeping brain" condition that blocked my child from being able to access all those math facts that were in her brain all along - we really hammered those facts for years in many different ways.

My daughter did the treatments slow - about once a week for a year (some have done the treatments and a faster pace and responded well too). The end result - not only has she retained the math facts, she is in the advanced math class and she reads at an age appropriate level AND she even reads for pleasure. I would never have seen that before the treatments. I cannot say that LENS will cure every case of ADHD (and I cannot say my child is perfect now), but any type of neurofeedback offers the potential for improvement without the nasty side effects. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrians have recently listed neurofeedback as a "good" form of treatment for ADD. There is research out there that is also exploring the benefits of neurofeedback for autism.

I hope this encourages you in knowing that others have shared in your struggles and there are options out there.
 
 
By Kim S. on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 1:35 AM EST
Hi Sheflynn,

I have one child suspected to have ADHD. We are currently going through testing with our medical providers.

I've looked into neuro feedback. In our area it is extremely expensive, and does not have long lasting results. I've read that the benefits subside/results diminish shortly after treatments are stopped. So, it seems like in order to realize long-term results from neuro feedback, you have to continue the costly treatments indefinitely? Please let me know if that is your understanding.

I've also heard that diet can impact ADD/ADHD. I've been advised to remove dairy, sugar, food coloring/dyes and caffiene from my child's diet. I have another close family member with ADD and making these changes helped him tremendously.

Finally, I have a close friend who is into "oils." These oils can be applied like lotion, used as aromatherapy, or digested. There are a variety of them and they have different effects on different individuals. Sounds a little wierd, but the oils seem to help my child.

I'd be interested in any feedback on these or other alternativess to pharmaceutical medications.

Thanks!
 
 
By Kim S. on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 1:40 AM EST
Hi Sheflynn,

I have one child suspected to have ADHD. We are currently going through testing with our medical providers.

I've looked into neuro feedback. In our area it is extremely expensive, and does not have long lasting results. I've read that the benefits subside/results diminish shortly after treatments are stopped. So, it seems like in order to realize long-term results from neuro feedback, you have to continue the costly treatments indefinitely? Please let me know if that is your understanding.

I've also heard that diet can impact ADD/ADHD. I've been advised to remove dairy, sugar, food coloring/dyes and caffiene from my child's diet. I have another close family member with ADD and making these changes helped him tremendously.

Finally, I have a close friend who is into "oils." These oils can be applied like lotion, used as aromatherapy, or digested. There are a variety of them and they have different effects on different individuals. Sounds a little wierd, but the oils seem to help my child.

I'd be interested in any feedback on these or other alternativess to pharmaceutical medications.

Thanks!
 
 
By Tabitha E. on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM EST
Hi,
I to have a daughter with ADHD combined as well as anxiety. We have chosen to go with Straterra due to her lack of attention when eating. This seems to help a lot. As far as other routes go I am interested in learning more about them. I to have ADHD and it has been interesting to see some of my same struggles as my daughters. I noticed that someone posted about caffiene. This will have no effect on a child with ADHD in terms of making them hyper. It will in fact work the opposite way. I do not use it for my daughter because I feel that children should not have it due to the addicting nature of it. I use it and I notice I am able to sit still more but it does not help with attention. What I try to inform parents is that medications and other things can help a childs life but it will not "cure" thier child. Thoughts??
 
 
By Sheflynn S. on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 2:24 PM EST
Hi Kim,
I know there are multiply forms of neurofeedback, some which is more like training sessions where the person is actively using mental strength to get a result on a computer program and are expensive. I was able to use LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System, orginally began by a Dr. Ochs). I was fortunate enough to have someone near me that provides this form of neurofeedback. My child did not have to "do" anything unlike the other forms of treatment. She simply sat in a chair. The cost was reasonable - $250 for the first visit - when a "map" of the brain is done to see how the brain is currently operating, then the sessions were $65 after that. We went about 1 time a week for about 10 months. We could have done more frequent sessions and finished sooner - she would have gotten the same results.

It was June 2012 when we stopped her sessions. Now, almost 2 years later, she is getting straight A's in school, homework is never a problem, and she is retaining what she learns. I am not seeing any loss in the benefits of the treatment. There is no expectation that my daughter would regress and require further treatments - although her lack of organizational skills sometimes makes me wonder if we missed something which further treatments could help :)

I have heard about being careful with the diet, and it certainly does not hurt to try to cut out the "trigger" foods. We try to eat healthy anyway, so we already have eliminated the dyes, caffiene, and most sugar. It would just have to be something that you try for yourself to see if there is a benefit. I would recommend trying the eliminations for a month to see if there will be a change. I also recommend providing your child with regular doses of protein, starting with breakfast and then all through the day. Protein has been great at helping to keep my daughter's temperment even. Find any and every form of protein that your child likes and keep them handy for anytime they need a quick snack or pick-me-up.

I don't know anything about the benefits of oils, but it doesn't seem like there is any harm in it. It would be interesting to know how much success is seen with it.

I am also exploring the importance of nutritional supplements. Many have said Omega III is important (not easy though to find it in a form that kids like to take - any suggestions?). Also, there are recommendations for good digestive support using probiotics and digestive enzymes (going back to the concerns of certain foods irritating the digestive track). Give them good multivitamins (the one I use has no artificial sweeteners, processed sugar, dyes, etc.). Now, I've added in my new favorite weapon on the health war - aloe juice. I don't use it specifically for ADHD, but it is great for 2 reasons. It soothes the whole digestive system, providing good relief from any irritations, and it is an anti-viral. We have had our healthiest winter ever from it! Dealing with sick kids is very stressful!! The aloe has been great at reducing symptoms and duration of viruses.

One last helpful tip is physical activity. It's not as easy in the winter, but I've found that the more physically active my daughter is the better she feels. Her moods are better, less likely to get irritated by others, etc. Last fall, she ran on a cross-country team and loved it. She came home with so much of that excess energy burned off. It really was nice to see her in a more relaxed state.

I'd love to hear what others have learned and tried! Anyone else have ideas??
 
 
By Jennifer J. on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 3:03 PM EDT
My son had many diagnosis as a child: ADHD, the onset of bi-polar and Aspergers. When he was 12 we sent him to www.campbuckskin.com and he came back a much better kid. Soon after my son wasn't on any medication and when he started 9th grade he no longer had special education at school, he is on the B honor roll with no assistance and right now is at State for DECCA (OUR MISSION -
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.)

A few small but important items that helped my kid is more hugs, love, attention, good nutrition, and a lot more sunshine. Golf is a great sport to get both exercise and sunshine. Building his self esteem and encouragement that he is normal helps any teen but especially for a struggling teen.

Don't give up on your kids and they won't give up on themselves. It will get better! Medication can be helpful but do your research and make sure you don't just take your doctors advice. Google the drug and lawyer and see if there are any pending law suits against the drug manufacturer.

I hope some others can give some encouraging stories for the parents working so hard to give their kids a better quality of life.