Do you wish there was an alternative, safe and affordable remedies for ADHD? We can all agree that while there is a chance that behavioral therapy may work, the medication given to manage the disorder often comes with adverse and unfavorable side effects. Well, you are in luck because this article will help you explore some of the safe and natural remedies for ADHD. But first, an understanding of the condition is important.
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder refers to a brain disorder that involves and causes inattention, impulsive behavior, or hyperactivity, or even all the three.
Individuals who have ADHD find it hard to focus, and this also affects their organizational skills. They also find it hard to follow instructions, and they seem to make careless mistakes at school or work.
ADHD is a chronic condition, and its symptoms will last a long time. In severe cases, it interferes with daily function, relationships, and even learning habits.
About 11 percent of kids in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the rates have been increasing at a rate of about 5 percent annually. There are reports that that numbers could be higher.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, behavior therapy is the first line of treatment for kids aged between 2 and 5 years, but about half of the preschoolers take the prescribed medication in place of therapy. At the same time, about a half of the children aged between 4 and 5 years diagnosed with ADHD receive behavior therapy for management of the disease despite therapy being the recommended first line of treatment.
The CDC reports that approximates 6.4 million kids aged between 4 and 17 have ADHD, and the report also noted that more boys received the diagnosis, compared to girls.
To top it all off, there are many kids misdiagnosed, and that means that they are taking ADHD medication unnecessarily.
Besides misdiagnosis, there are risks associated with ADHD medication; kids and adults can experience seizures, sleep problems, and increase in heart rates.
Taking all these into consideration, it is only right to have an alternative treatment remedy that is safe, easy to use, and affordable. But, before we look at the treatment and management options for ADHD, more on the disorder.
Different Types of ADHD
There are three types according to the CDC.
1. Predominant Inattentive Type
Individuals with this type of ADHD find it hard to complete or even organize tasks. They also find it hard to pay attention to details, and they are unable to follow instructions or conversations.
2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
Individuals with this type of ADHD have a hard time keeping still. They fidget a lot, and they also talk a lot. For smaller children, they are superactive, and they continually jump, run or climb. These individuals are impulsive and restless. You may also find that these children or adults tend to interrupt others when speaking, they are always grabbing at things, and they speak at all the inappropriate times.
You will also realize that the individuals with this type of ADHD find it difficult to wait their turn or to listen to directions. Therefore, they are prone to injuries and accidents.
3. Combined Type
Persons who exhibit both types of ADHD above have a predominance of both symptoms.
Research on the causes of ADHD is inconclusive with scientists failing to reach a consensus on the specific causes of ADHD.
- However, scientists reveal that a person’s risk of developing ADHD increases if a close relative has or had ADHD. This means that the condition is heritable.
- ADHD is also more common in boys than in girls meaning gender plays a role too.
- The scientific community also agrees that ADHD is a biological condition caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
- Environment – studies are indicating that food additives, specifically colorings have an impact on ADHD behaviors.
- Mercury exposure during pregnancy – mercury exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD, but fish consumption during pregnancy lowers the risks.
Note that, sugar isn’t responsible for the symptoms of ADHD.
Symptoms in children
- Extreme restlessness, overactivity, and fidgeting
- Constant chattering
- Continuously interrupting other people
- Poor or limited concentration on specific tasks
- Impatience – the child will find it hard to wait their turn whether in plays, conversations, or even when queuing
Note: these signs could frequently be observed in children but, it doesn’t mean that the child has it. It is only when these signs are predominant in one child than in the other kids of the same age, or when their behavior undermines their social and school life, that a child is considered to have ADHD.
How can you tell if your loved one has ADHD?
Unlike other medical conditions, ADHD cannot be diagnosed through blood tests, brain scans or urine tests. And, since most children pose self-control issues, getting a proper diagnosis is a challenge.
You can only get conclusive results if a specialist like a psychiatrist, a pediatrician, or a psychologist observes your child or recognizes their behavior patterns.
Doctors can also diagnose it more accurately using an EEG (Electroencephalogram)
What happens if it isn’t treated or managed earlier?
Well, ADHD persists into adulthood in 75 percent of children with ADHD. If untreated, these adults lead chaotic lives, and they tend to lead chaotic lifestyles.
Essential Oils for ADHD
Essential oils are concentrated aromatic plant extracts from different parts of plants including barks, stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. The extraction of essential oils is often done through distillation and cold press extraction. The essential oils have the highest concentration of beneficial compounds.
In some studies, there is evidence that essential oils help with ADHD. Also, there is no evidence pointing that essential oils are harmful to individuals who may have it. With the identification of emotions as the first step to cultivating emotional intelligence, and also a great way of helping kids deal with their strong emotions like anxiety and anger. Essential oils are effective in managing emotions in the heat of the moment, and eventually in the long run as they calm angry, anxious and hyperactive kids.
However, it is important to note that essential oils turn poisonous if consumed directly or if one gets exposed for way too long.
Some studies showing that women exposed to the fruity scent of oranges became calm and they had reduced anxiety. In other studies, the scents of lavender and oranges, as well as tea tree and rosemary essential oils bring about feelings of calm and they uplifted moods.
Some of the essential oils that help with ADHD include:
Studies show that if a person has ADHD, then using vetiver essential oil could help in alleviating the effects, and to keep you or your child alert and focused on a task. Vetiver essential oil has a sweet-woody and a rich earthy aroma.
Inhaling vetiver essential oil results in an increase in the levels of attention as seen in studies that measured brain activity in kids with ADHD inhaling vetiver essential oil.
Studies also show that inhaling vetiver enhances learning and memory processes. It would appear that this essential oil has a stimulating effect even when inhaled in low concentrations as it increases alertness and task performance even on little exposure.
Though you can add the oils to a diffuser, you could dilute vetiver with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil and then apply it to the base of the neck or behind the ears. Topical application of vetiver essential oil helps to calm nerves and also improve focus.
2. Lavender essential oil
Since individuals who have ADHD have problems relaxing, staying awake or falling asleep, it is helpful to have a natural remedy that is safe. Lavender essential oil is this natural, safe and effective remedy.
Studies prove that the sweet-scented lavender essential oil that is often used in aromatherapy improves sleep by relaxing the nerves and the whole body. Inhaling lavender essential oil improves sleep.
If you have ADHD and you could use help getting quality sleep, then you might want to try diffusing lavender. Note that you should set the diffuser on a timer for about 30 minutes. Taking this precaution is necessary because overexposure to lavender, or any other essential oil for long hours isn’t safe.
Lavender essential oil is also effective in reducing inflammations, and it also boosts mood. Lavender essential oil helps to manage the symptoms of ADHD by affecting the release and the absorption of the positive neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These biomolecules are necessary for the body to relax.
You could add a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you relax, fall asleep and to wake up to a clear mind. Alternatively, you could also apply diluted lavender essential oil with a carrier oil and then apply it topically on the skin behind the neck, wrists or the ears.
3. Lemon essential oil
Lemon oil is one of the most invigorating essential oils that improves focus and also boosts cognitive function. Therefore, it prevents a child or an adult from getting distracted. Lemon essential oil is also linked to balancing your mood, and preventing emotional reactions, things that are common with ADHD.
Besides inhaling lemon essential straight from the bottle, you could diffuse the oils using a room diffuser.
4. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang-ylang essential oil is better known for its soothing properties. It is commonly used to manage depressive episodes as well as anxiety. The oil is great for calming down persons with heightened emotions, or the ones with high energy levels because of its sedative effects.
You can use ylang-ylang through inhalation, diffusion, or through a topical application where you add a few drops of the diluted oil on your child’s wrist or the back side of the neck.
5. Basil Essential oil
Basil essential oil is a spicy essential oil known for its calming effects. Besides helping you to relax and sleep, basil essential oil is helpful in calming people suffering from nervous disorders like depression, headaches, sleep disorders and anxiety. It is ideal for use by hyperactive people especially the ones with ADHD because they cannot relax, and they are often restless.
For use, diffusion works best as it spreads the microparticles in the oil throughout the room.
6. Cedarwood essential oil
The woodsy aroma of the cedarwood essential oil and its richness in active ingredients that balance hormones and influence the central nervous system directly is the reason why this oil comes highly recommended for ADHD patients. It also reduces mental fog, lowers stress levels, and it reduces inflammation. The oil also warms up the house.
You can add this woody-scented and calming essential oil into a room diffuser. You could also add some drops into your steam inhaler for that body, mind, and soul soothing.
7. Myrrh Essential oil
This spiritual essential oil is effective in treating and managing ADHD because it induces the release of dopamine and serotonin, the two feel-good neurotransmitters. Serotonin also plays a role in making you sleepy, and that could be all you need to put to sleep a child with ADHD.
The neurotransmitters also help in calming nerves and, it lowers stress levels. While calming down is an almost impossible task for people with ADHD, myrrh essential oil makes it possible by influencing and rebalancing the hormones.
You can use it in a diffuser by blending it with lavender essential oil. For topical application, dilute it with carrier oils like almond oil. You can apply it on the wrist or behind the neck.
8. Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot essential oil impacts the central nervous system directly. It also reduces the concentrations of neurotransmitters that cause stress, anger, and anxiety. This oil is an antidepressant and a sedative.
It also helps in calming the mind, making it easier for one to remain focused and attentive in tasks and conversations.
It is effective when applied topically or when added to the diffuser – the aroma is soothing, and the microparticles are absorbed into the body through the skin where they have a positive chemical effect on your internal organs.
9. Frankincense essential oil
This essential oil famed for its ability to improve mental focus and the fact that it aids in meditation and mental clarity make this an important essential oil for managing ADHD. The old has received praises for its impact on the brain, as well as its positive impact on the function of the central nervous system and the regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters.
It also has a sedative effect meaning that you can use it if your child with ADHD gets too worked up and unable to sleep or control their anger and impulses.
It works well when added to a diffuser or when inhaled directly from the bottle.
10. Rosemary essential oil
The sweet, spicy scent of rosemary essential oil is soothing. The oil also improves cognitive abilities because it increases concentration levels in persons with ADHD. The active ingredient in Rosemary oil is 1,8-cineole which is responsible for the improved concentration.
For that quick boost in mental clarity and concentration, you can mix rosemary oil with lavender or vetiver oils and then apply the oil blend to the neck, chest, or wrist.
Using essential oils for kids with ADHD
Since kids have developing immune systems and they may react adversely to some things introduced into their bodies, you have to ensure that the oils used are safe for babies. You might also want to wait until your baby reaches the age of two before you introduce him or her to essential oils.
That said, here are the precautions you should take before and when administering essential oils to kids with ADHD.
- You should never give essential oils to kids orally.
Like chemical substances, you should keep all essential oils out of reach of kids. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, you should treat them with caution. Even when applying the oils topically, ensure that you use a carrier oil to dilute the concentrated essential oil.
- Test the oils first
Even though essential oils do not have allergens, essential oil sensitivities are common, and they are experienced as itchiness, swelling, skin reactions or digestive issues.
- Use the oils sparingly
You shouldn’t expose your child or yourself to essential oils for long even when diffusing the oils. Although a diffuser presents a safe way of using essential oils, exposure to essential oils, even for more than one hour isn’t safe.
- Use pure oils
Besides using the essential oils sparingly, you should also use pure essential oils only. Note that the oils only help in managing ADHD but, they are not a cure.
Even though you have to take the precautions above, essential oils are effective in managing the behaviors of persons with ADHD.
Other Natural Remedies for ADHD
Essential oils work like pure magic in containing individuals with ADHD. However, the oils aren’t the only available natural remedy for ADHD. In this section, we look at other natural remedies.
Even though poor nutrition and poor eating habits do not cause ADHD, nutritional changes play a role in managing ADHD.
From scientists’ point of view, this is the case because what you eat has a direct correlation to your brain function. Nutrition has a direct effect on attention, cognition, mood, and sleep.
Eating whole and clean foods like fruits, lean meats, unprocessed grains, and vegetables lead to an improved emotional and mental health, unlike eating processed foods.
Protein is essential in the diet because it triggers alertness. On the other hand, carbohydrates cause drowsiness. Therefore, individuals with ADHD have an improved brain performance when they eat breakfast or lunch enriched with protein.
Best foods for ADHD are additive-free, high in B-vitamins, poultry, and salmon. Eating breakfast is also crucial.
Foods to avoid: conventional dairy, gluten, food dyes and colorings, caffeine, nitrites, MSG/ HVP, and soy. You should also watch out for individual sensitivities.
Most individuals with ADHD receive stimulation treatment. However, exercise is seen to be a preferred medication option. Exercise improved attention spans, and it also improves mood.
Exercising stimulates the attention systems in the brain, which are also called the executive functions for sequencing, prioritizing, working memory, inhibition, as well as sustaining attention.
Also, exercising stimulate the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone-like compounds known to regulate mood, pain, and pleasure.
At the same time, the burst of activity elevated the levels of the brain’s dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These biochemicals are essential for the maintenance of focus and attention. Studies show that these hormones are in short supply in individuals with ADHD.
Increasing the dopamine lees in the brain increases an individual’s attention system, as well as the ability to be consistent and regular.
You could say that exercise has an inhibitory control on children and adults with ADHD.
Besides walks, hikes and simple runs, yoga and tai chi classes come highly recommended in managing hyperactivity and anxiety.
Iron supplementation to low-birth-weight infants reduces the risk of ADHD. Iron deficiency increases the risk of impairment in neural development.
Intake of about 1000mgs of fish oil rich in omega 3 oils is beneficial to ADHD patients. The omega 3 oils are critical for normal brain function, and they also fight inflammations. It also improved learning by reducing the symptoms of the condition.
Children with ADHD need B-vitamins, especially vitamin B6 for the synthesis of serotonin which is needed for soothing and calming them down.
This is a calming amino acid which affects the functioning of the central nervous system. You should, however, talk to the doctor about this before you introduce it. GABA may have negative interactions with other medications.
Supplementation with calcium, magnesium, and zinc is important in ensuring that the nervous system is relaxed. These minerals also exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD.
ADHD could be connected to digestive issues. Therefore, intake of high-quality probiotics will improve gut health, and brain health too.
Finally, spending time outdoors is important in improving concentration.
This is the other safe and the most effective treatment for ADHD. It works well for children as it resolves specific problematic behaviors and the solutions to the problems. Parental therapy is also helpful.