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Overcoming ADHD Without Medication

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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    Taking as its premise the idea that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyp

    Taking as its premise the idea that ADHD (Attention Deficit
    Hyperactivity Disorder) is currently too frequently diagnosed (the
    authors tell us that three to ten percent of children in every state are
    diagnosed with the disorder) and that medications, specifically
    stimulants and antidepressants, for the condition are over-prescribed,
    Overcoming ADHD Without Medication argues that the disorder can be
    treated and even possibly prevented by carefully attending to children's
    educational, spiritual, dietary and parental needs. In presenting
    sobering statistics from current research, such as the possibility that
    up to forty-two percent of ADHD patients who take medications for the
    condition do not respond positively to them, the authors leave readers
    hungry for alternative solutions, which they supply in abundance. The
    authors do go over basic information concerning the more commonly
    prescribed medications and discuss their side effects, although they do
    not dwell on the negative aspects of medicating for ADHD as a scare
    tactic. One theme heavily present throughout the first few chapters
    concerns the relationship between media and ADHD. Children's increasing
    reliance on video games, particularly ones involving violence, and
    television for their daily entertainment (and some parents' apathetic
    resignation to allow this trend to continue and manifest itself in the
    symptoms of ADHD), the authors assert, is contributing not only to the
    ADHD epidemic but also to poorer scores in math and reading. Though the
    authors do not present any one solution as a panacea (and it is
    understandable that they would not—they admit upfront that ADHD is
    brought about by a still misunderstood combination of genetic, social,
    and environmental factors), the authors provide a more realistic and
    palatable constellation of ways that parents and teachers can actively
    combat ADHD symptoms and perhaps prevent their onset. Good parenting,
    the authors argue, is key to confronting ADHD symptoms—with the right
    amount of one on one attention and unconditional love, parents can
    create an environment that will allow their children to thrive—in fact,
    all of the specific solutions offered in the text follow from this basic
    principal that every child requires and deserves the devotion of at
    least one dedicated adult in his or her life; without such attention,
    the stage is set for ADHD, as well as depression, to develop. The
    authors share one particular conviction: reading on a daily basis and
    participating in art will help children focus and learn well as give
    them a needed benefit of quiet time, which is something that children
    with ADHD need. Additionally, the authors recommend that parents
    reconsider their children's often high-sugar diets and replace them with
    a “restricted elimination diet”. “Green time”, activities such as
    camping, playing in a park, and jogging, is also touted as a means of
    getting children to exercise outdoors and learn to enjoy nature. An
    impressive list of online and print resources (for introducing children
    to art projects, for example) is offered with every solution, which
    gives parents and teachers avenues for more practical guidance. The
    authors also provide a helpful annotated bibliography of sources related
    to treating ADHD, and the index and bibliography is an invaluable
    resource for parents and teachers who wish to read further about a range
    of ADHD related issues, including clinical trials and sources concerning
    “green” therapy. Though the authors acknowledge their bias towards
    treating ADHD without resorting to the front line drugs such as Adderall
    and Ritalin, their presentation of the material is balanced and offers
    the audience numerous citations within each chapter to allow readers to
    conduct their own outside research. Overall, the text offers a nice
    combination of theory, science, and practical guidance that
    optimistically and credibly argues for an alternative to medicating
    children with ADHD.

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