Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Strategies for Treating Kids with ADHD

According to The New York Times, "as many as two-thirds of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, have used some form of alternative treatment" in an effort to avoid stimulant drugs. The most common of these strategies involve dietary changes. So far the results are mixed. A trial of St. John's Wart showed that this herbal supplement performed the same as its placebo. Data on sugar is similarly inconclusive. While parents often believe that sugar can exacerbate their child's symptoms, no conclusive evidence has corroborated this. There is more hope for omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish-oil supplements. A review published last year in Pediatric Clinics of North America concluded that a “growing body of evidence” supported the use of such supplements for children with ADHD.

Since the research for non-pharmaceutical alternatives to treat ADHD is still in its infancy, finding a physician who is willing to explore options is crucial when embarking upon this path. For a list of pediatricians who offer alternative treatments, contact the Integrative Pediatrics Council at


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