Medication is often the first line of treatment for ADHD, but psychotherapy and home remedies can also manage symptoms of ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involves trouble focusing or inattention, hyperactivity, and impulse control. A person of any age may have ADHD.
Medication is the first-line treatment for older children and adults, but therapy, natural remedies, and even lifestyle changes can all help manage symptoms associated with ADHD.
Non-medicinal therapies may be effective for some people. For others, additional therapies may help enhance the effectiveness of their medication.
Limited evidence suggests that discontinuing stimulant medications for ADHD may help some people. Despite the potential, the researchers of a 2021 study noted that more research is needed to determine which groups may most benefit from discontinuing their medication.
In other words, using non-medication therapies and home remedies may work without the need for medication for some people. Other people may need both forms of treatment.
They suggest a starting point for diagnosis is examining whether a person presents with attention, impulsivity, or both symptoms when diagnosing and treating a person.
Before starting ADHD treatment, you may want to consider speaking with your doctor about your concerns with taking medications, no matter what your hesitation is.
And if you have started taking medications and notice a side effect, you should let your doctor know so they can adjust your dosing or which medication you take.
For some, treating ADHD without medication may be possible.
In fact, the
Therapies, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or neurofeedback, as well as lifestyle changes such as exercise and elimination diets, may allow you or a loved one to avoid taking medications for ADHD altogether.
But everyone is different and will not have the same level of success with each treatment or lifestyle change. It may take some trial and error to find what works.
Many studies looking at alternative therapies don’t have the participants discontinue the use of medications. Instead, they study them as an add-on treatment.
For example, in a
While both noticed improvements, neither were completely independent of the use of medications.
How you or your child responds to stopping medication for ADHD may vary. You may find symptoms return or worsen without medication.
On the other hand, you may also notice your side effects from taking the medication will start to go away once you stop.
Doctors will work closely with you or your loved one to find the right balance between benefits and side effects. You may find that the combination of behavior therapy and the correct dose of medication may provide the best therapy for you or your child.
Natural remedies, including lifestyle changes and alternative treatments for ADHD, may help with ADHD symptoms. Though you may still need medication, these natural remedies and alternative therapies may help.
Exercise may provide some benefits to ADHD symptoms and your overall health in general.
They also noted that it may help people with or without taking medications, though they did note that additional research is still needed to prove the effects.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other therapies
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping a person identify how their thinking influences their behavior.
The goal is to help change a person’s thinking so that they can make positive changes to their behavior. For some with ADHD, this may help them with some of their symptoms.
Other therapies, like “talk” therapy, may also help address behaviors, negative feelings, and help with relationships.
Neurostimulation works by stimulating part of the brain that shows unusual activity in people with ADHD. There are several types, including:
- deep brain stimulation
- transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
- vagus nerve stimulation
Though the use of neurostimulation is a promising new therapy, more research is needed to fully test its safety and effectiveness.
Some evidence suggests that the foods you eat may influence ADHD and other behavioral disorders. An elimination diet removes food items you may be allergic to that may cause your symptoms to worsen.
In a small 2020 study, researchers found that children following an elimination diet saw notable improvements in their symptoms.
But they acknowledge the need for larger, controlled trials to fully understand how effective an elimination diet may be for larger groups of people.
ADHD is a common condition that impacts the daily lives of people of all ages. While medication is the first line of treatment for older children to adults, other therapies and natural remedies may help.
Before getting started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- don’t just stop taking your medication, instead try talking with your doctor about your concerns (side effects, how it makes you feel, etc.) and their thoughts on other therapies
- consider adding therapies instead of viewing medication and home remedies as opposing options
- try reaching out to your therapist about options they think may work better for your needs