ADHD diagnoses have risen dramatically in the past twenty years, and it’s no surprise that prescriptions are the first—and perhaps easiest—way to help individuals suffering from this disorder.
While limiting our media consumption may help to manage the symptoms of ADHD, numerous lifestyle changes can help us take a stand against ADHD—and they don’t involve a prescription.
Who Is Affected?
In 2016, Attention Hyperactivity Inattention Disorder (ADHD) affected approximately 9.4% of children across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The factors that were taken into account for determining children’s health were economic status, parental and family health, school experiences, and safe neighborhoods. These factors are still used today to assess the likelihood of adolescent ADHD continuing into adulthood. For those who wish to seek alternative means of treating the disorder, here are some key strategies to manage ADHD without a prescription.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for patients suffering from mental and emotional issues and is often used in conjunction with life management strategies. Years of conducted clinical research has shown CBT to be very beneficial in identifying the underlying thought processes that lead to a myriad of mental and emotional disorders such as ADHD, along with phobias, panic attacks, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Being able to build positive, healthy thoughts and to relieve oneself from their inner critic can prove to be very soothing for the individual suffering from ADHD.
Being able to build positive, healthy thoughts and to relieve oneself from their inner critic can prove to be very soothing for the individual suffering from ADHD.
The role of sleep in patients with ADHD is extremely important in aiding the healing process. Sleep disorders can often go unnoticed in individuals who have ADHD as the question of what caused what arises: Did ADHD cause the sleep issue, or did the sleep disorder contribute to the emergence of ADHD? People living with ADHD have been found to have an increased risk in acquiring delayed phases sleep disorder, or “night owl syndrome,” and sleep apnea. It's of paramount importance to treat sleep disorders in patients with ADHD, and non-medication treatments consist of behavioral modifications, CBT, and improving sleep hygiene such as going to bed at the same time every night.
Sugar continuously remains the culprit in many diseases and health afflictions since it majorly sabotages brain health. Sugar and often the preservatives in processed food induce worsening symptoms of ADHD and should be avoided in every possible way. It's recommended patients stick to a well-balanced diet of protein-rich foods, complex carbohydrates, and a healthy helping of fruits and vegetables.
Sugar, and often, the preservatives in processed food induce worsening symptoms of ADHD and should be avoided in every possible way.
Additionally, nutritional supplements play a pivotal role in managing the disease:
Iron is essential for making dopamine which creates a feeling of well-being.
Zinc helps to maximize the performance of dopamine.
Magnesium is also critical in forming neurotransmitters responsible for cognition and attention.
All three nutrients can be found in lean meats, poultry, and nuts.
Other nutrients such as B Vitamins, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, gingko, ginseng, and Rhodiola Rosea can also increase mental attentiveness and provide overall feelings of well-being in people who have ADHD.
Creating Structure in Daily Life
As a result of under-achievement in school and work, individuals labeled as having ADHD often develop poor time-management and organizational skills. The ability to plan, manage time, initiate tasks, and follow-through are all part of executive functioning skills. These skills can be strengthened by creating lists and calendars to help people suffering from the symptoms of ADHD to feel calmer and enjoy their daily life.
ADHD can feel overwhelming and resorting to medication may be the first line of defense, but if you find taking medication is not enough, consider these extremely beneficial therapies. Also, consider having an accountability partner to discuss any setbacks and successes to help create that support system that is so crucial in overcoming any mental and emotional stressors.