Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, making it difficult for them to concentrate and perform their daily tasks effectively. While conventional treatments like behavioral therapy and medication can improve the symptoms for many patients, some others may require innovative and alternative treatments to speed up the improvement. Whether you or your loved one has ADHD, or you’re just interested in the latest developments in treatment options, you’ll find this blog post helpful. It explores some of the most promising alternative ADHD treatment options and sheds light on their potential benefits and drawbacks. Let’s dive in.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the ability of individuals with it to focus and control their impulses. In many cases, it manifests itself in childhood and sometimes lasts into adulthood. Research shows that around 9.4% of children and 4.4% of adults worldwide have the condition. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to low self-esteem, poor performance at work or school, and unstable relationships .
Symptoms and Causes of ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD can vary from one individual to another. Some people have fewer symptoms as they age, but some others continue to experience major symptoms well into adulthood. There are 3 main types of ADHD, and the symptoms may vary based on the type one is experiencing. They include :
- predominantly inattentive type: Symptoms may include forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention, disorganization, and trouble focusing and completing tasks;
- predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: It is characterized by restlessness, fidgeting, and interrupting others;
- combined type: It is marked by a combination of the symptoms of the first two types of ADHD. Individuals with it typically find it difficult to maintain attention and put their behavior in check.
The causes of ADHD are not fully understood, but researchers believe that genetics and environmental factors play a huge role. Some risk factors for developing the condition include premature birth, smoking, drug/alcohol use during pregnancy, and exposure to toxins during pregnancy or in early childhood.
Many people with ADHD do not know they have it; they simply notice that they struggle to execute everyday tasks that some others execute comfortably. If you feel this way or have other reasons to suspect you have ADHD, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. Early detection and treatment may help ensure a better outcome.
ADHD Treatment Options: Therapy, Stimulant and Nonstimulant Medication
Several treatment options are available for ADHD, including medication and behavioral therapy. However, one of the most common treatments involves the use of stimulant medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. This type of medication works by raising the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including norepinephrine and dopamine, which influence cognitive function and mood. They are known to improve short attention span and reduce fidgeting, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Treatment of ADHD with stimulants has shown to be about 70% effective in adults and 70% to 80% in children. However, they are serious meds and require a doctor’s instruction for use .
Stimulant-like meds such as ModaXL (modafinil) and ArmodaXL (armodafinil) also work effectively. The ModaXL review shows that when used correctly, the drug can help improve cognition and boost mood without causing side effects.
On the other hand, non-stimulant medications such as Intuniv and Strattera are also often used to treat the disorder, but they are not as strong as stimulant-type meds. As a result, they are considered a second- or third-line treatment. They have a slow onset of action and are mostly prescribed to individuals who find stimulants ineffective or too sensitive .
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is also an effective treatment option for ADHD. Children and even adults with the disorder often display behavior that can be disruptive to others. This treatment option is designed to help reduce such behavioral patterns in children. CBT is often employed to help adult patients identify and change negative thinking patterns. It has been shown to be an effective treatment option for the disorder, but it works best if started early .
New ADHD Treatments: Alternative Methods, Devices, and Digital Therapeutics
Besides the traditional treatments listed above, there are a couple of alternative and innovative ADHD treatment options. They are all designed to improve the neurological and behavioral factors associated with people living with ADHD. These treatments can be used without medication or in conjunction with medication and therapy. Let’s take a look at some of the best new treatments.
Monarch eTNS System
The Monarch eTNS System is a non-invasive, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medical device that uses electric signals to stimulate brain areas that regulate behavior, attention, and mood. The device connects to a disposable patch to be placed on the forehead before going to sleep. It is convenient to use, and studies have shown that it works well for both children and adults .
Fisher Wallace Stimulator
Much like the Monarch eTNS System, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator is an FDA-cleared device that uses electrical stimulation to treat ADHD. It is also worn on the head and works by sending electrical signals to the brain to change the levels of certain neurotransmitters. The device works for children and adults alike.
EndeavorRx is a therapeutic treatment for kids aged 8–12, delivered through video games on mobile devices. Created by world-class neuroscientists and award-winning game designers, the games are specifically designed to target and stimulate brain areas that influence attention span. The games feature various tasks that require sustained attention and executive function .
This is an ancient type of treatment that involves inserting needles into specific points on the body to send the body into a state of accelerated natural healing. Some studies have shown that this treatment method is capable of improving ADHD symptoms in both children and adults. One of the studies showed an improvement in the attention and reaction inhibition of children with ADHD who received a combination of acupuncture and psychotherapy. It also showed that combining it with methylphenidate drugs improved the symptoms in adults .
Hypnotherapy is a treatment that involves using a trained therapist’s verbal repetitions and mental images to help people with ADHD to learn to regulate their thoughts and behavior. While this form of treatment is still being studied, some studies have shown that it may be able to help some patients improve their symptoms, increase focus, and establish healthy habits. Manchester’s leading hypnotherapist may be able to provide this type of treatment .
There are several innovative and new alternative treatments for ADHD. While some can be administered alone, others prove more effective when used in conjunction with traditional treatments like behavioral therapy and the use of medications. More ADHD devices and techniques are currently being developed and studied for better treatment outcomes. But in the meanwhile, if you’re interested in getting ADHD treated in a more holistic and natural way, the alternatives listed in this blog post make a good starting point. Feel free to discuss them with your doctor or healthcare professional so they can help you determine the best option for your specific needs. With the right ADHD treatment and support, it is possible to manage symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
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- Hypnotherapy for ADHD Symptoms: Can Hypnosis Help? By Beth Guadagni. Retrieved May 16, 2023. Additudemag.com.