Non-Medicinal and Alternative Treatments
Alternative treatments for ADD is a catch-all phrase that refers to non-medication interventions.Here is a list of such treatments that I endorse.
I have found the following to be helpful in all patients:
- Love sustained over time.By far, the most important treatment for ADD.
- Using the “cycle of excellence.”See SuperParenting for ADD for a description of this reliable 5-step method.
- Daily physical exercise.As my friend John Ratey has shown in his book, Spark! The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, physical exercise may be the single most powerful somatic treatment for ADD that we have.
- Good sleep.Many people with ADD have sleep problems.See Delivered From Distraction for more on this.
- Proper nutrition.Eat whole foods.Avoid too much sugar or additives.I also suggest a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids.See the chapter in Delivered from Distraction for more on this.
- Mindfulness training, meditation, or prayer.See Delivered From Distraction for more, or see the outstanding research from Sue Smalley, a professor at UCLA.
- Daily doses of positive human contact.See my book Connect for more on this.
I also endorse the following treatments, but I have found that they are not beneficial to all patients, meaning they work for some and not for others:
- The movement and sound program developed by Integrated Listening Systems (iLs). This program stimulates parts of the brain and body which play a role in self-regulation and sensory processing. It is used by many top clinics in the U.S. and is now available direct. iLs is a pleasant therapy, has good research to back up its efficacy, and the program is only 2-4 months in length. Effective for processing, learning and attention issues.
- Cerebellar stimulation. Learning Breakthrough, the original physical exercise program to stimulate the cerebellum can be helpful in treating both ADD and dyslexia. “I
have seen firsthand the extraordinary power of the various physical
exercises Dr. Frank Belgau developed in improving concentration, memory,
reading, verbal fluency, and mental dexterity, as well as confidence… I
am happy to join in that effort.” –Dr. Edward Hallowell. See both Delivered from Distraction and SuperParenting for ADD for more on this.
Watch Dr. Hallowell Interview on: Treat ADHD, Dyslexia, and CAPD with Learning Breakthrough.
- Educational counseling and specialized tutoring – The right tutor or counselor can make a huge difference. Ask through your school.
- Coaching – I introduced coaching for ADD back in 1994 in Driven to Distraction. You can read about my HOPE model of coaching in that book. Now, there are many books about coaching, including an excellent one by Nancy Ratey called The Disorganized Mind.Coaching can help a great deal, as long as the person being coached wants to be coached.
- LENS, a special form of neurofeedback – See SuperParenting for ADD for more on this.
- Cogmed, a computer game that improves active working memory – Developed by scientists in Sweden, the research here is solid.Google Cogmed to learn more
- Kolbe therapy – Go to SuperParenting for ADD for two chapters on the remarkable work of Kathy Kolbe and her breakthrough treatments.
- Other nutritional interventions – You can read about these in Delivered From Distraction.