Natural Ways to Help ADD

Blog-Natural Ways to Help ADD

In the traditional medical and psychiatric communities, stimulant medications are considered first-line treatments for attention-deficit disorder (ADD), also known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). From 2006-2016, total stimulant usage doubled, according to a study in Plos One. Many people with ADD/ADHD think medication is the only solution, however, there are many proven natural strategies that can help.

Many people with ADD think medication is the only solution, however, there are many proven natural strategies that can help. Click To Tweet

Many alternatives to ADD medication have been found to reduce ADD symptoms, which include short attention span, distractibility, procrastination, disorganization, problems with follow-through, and poor impulse control. This is good news for the 6 million children and 4.4% of adults who are affected by this common condition. In some cases, natural solutions can complement prescription stimulants and allow for reduced dosages. For other people, taking a natural approach is enough to keep symptoms at bay. Talk to your healthcare provider before making changes to your medications.

Here are some natural tips to start helping ADD/ADHD today:

1. Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement every day.

Research shows that people with ADD/ADHD often have nutritional deficiencies, including low levels of vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, and magnesium. Taking a supplement helps replenish levels of these important nutrients. Studies have reported that daily multivitamins/minerals help people with learning and help prevent chronic illness.

2. Take omega-3 fatty acids.

Multiple studies, including a 2020 trial in Translational Psychiatry and a 2017 study in the Journal of Lipids, show that taking omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for symptoms related to ADD/ADHD, such as attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. There are 2 active compounds in omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Research suggests that fish oil higher in the EPA form of omega-3s may be the most helpful, but it depends on your type of ADD/ADHD. Dose suggestions for adults are 2,000 to 6,000 mg of high-quality fish oil a day (1,000-2,000 mg for children.)

3. Eliminate everyday stimulants.

Avoid consuming caffeine or using nicotine products. The brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics—over 160,000 functional brain scans and growing—shows that caffeine and nicotine decrease brain activity over time, sometimes, significantly. In addition, both interfere with sleep, and people with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty sleeping.

4. Exercise daily for 30-45 minutes.

The neuropsychiatrists at Amen Clinics have seen a direct relationship between the level of exercise a patient gets and the severity of their symptoms (more exercise = less severe symptoms). Physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain. In addition, when ADD patients are playing sports, such as basketball, where there is intense aerobic exercise, they tend to do better in school or at work. For kids, if you can’t find a safe exercise (no brain injuries please from football, hockey, or soccer headers), take them on long, fast walks.

5. Limit screen time.

Keep television, video games, and device time to no more than 30 minutes a day. This may be hard for kids and teens, but it can make a huge difference. In a 2019 study on preschoolers in Plos One, when screen time exceeded 2 hours a day, there were “clinically significant” increases in attentional problems and other symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD.

6. Think of food as a drug.

Most people with ADD/ADHD do best with a higher-protein, lower-simple carbohydrate diet. This isn’t true for all types of ADD. People with Type 3: Over-Focused ADD tend to respond better to a more balanced diet with more complex carbohydrates.

7. In dealing with kids, employees, and spouses with ADD – NO YELLING!

Many people with ADD have low activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) due to lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. To feel more alert, they often find themselves seeking conflict or excitement. They can be masterful at making other people mad or angry at them. Don’t lose your temper with them, because it often makes things worse. If they get you to explode, their unconscious, low-energy PFC activates and unconsciously, they come to crave it. Never let your anger be their medication. They can get addicted to it.

8. Get screened for other issues.

Up to 60% of people with ADD/ADHD also have learning disabilities, and they are particularly common in Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD. People with ADD/ADHD should also be screened for Irlen Syndrome, a visual processing problem that is commonly seen with the condition.

9. Never give up seeking help.

If you aren’t getting the results you want from your treatment plan, keep investigating. Other issues, such as head trauma, co-occurring conditions like depression, or hormonal imbalances may play a role in the severity of your symptoms. Brain SPECT imaging and lab testing may be helpful in determining if other issues are at work.

10. Know your (or your child’s) ADD Type.

The brain imaging work at Amen Clinics has shown that there are 7 types of ADD/ADHD. Knowing your type is critical to getting the right treatment plan. You can begin with our ADD Type Test to discover your (or your loved one’s) ADD Type and get a personalized overview on what to do about it.

ADD/ADHD—as well as anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions—can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.

15 Comments

  1. Thank you for helping . Your Information so valuable to me. Best wishes.Halina

    Comment by Halina lipowska — July 23, 2018 @ 2:47 AM

  2. Your site is fabulous for receiving the right information regarding health….

    Comment by Cecilia Davidson — July 23, 2018 @ 6:59 AM

  3. Dear Dr. Amen, you are the only doctor I’ve heard speak that make sense. I have been a faithful follower of your site and enjoy reading every single article. I am a 62 year old woman and have chronic brain damage situation among other things. My family history, like many of us, has involved alcoholism, and other forms of physical and psychological abuse and addictions, diabetes and cancer. Now Alzheimer’s. I would be interested in a SPECT SCAN ( so bad) Money is very tight here and at the present I am trying to work and take care of husband (17 yrs) in his own failing health. Met when we were 15 then dated briefly at 21. So many of us are dying.

    Comment by M.E. Sherman — July 24, 2018 @ 3:32 AM

  4. Dr. Amen, how are you, you’re a very interesting person and I’m glad to have come across your commercials and websites, I’m a 61 year old African American male, and I have chronic Migraine Headaches all the time, I do admit that I played various contact sports to include football being the favorite so I’ve just been taking the over the counter Advil Migraine gel capsules. I’d like to see you about a Brain Scan being that I’m preparing for retirement I’d like to really know how healthy I can be. Well actually I’m just ready to address and get proper treatment for this issue. Is this possible?

    Comment by Odie George — April 15, 2019 @ 3:32 AM

  5. Thank you for helping. Could you recommend suplements?

    Comment by MARIA ANGELICA BERNARDES PAULINO — April 15, 2019 @ 10:16 AM

  6. For Dr. Amen’s brain directed supplements, please visit: https://www.brainmdhealth.com/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 16, 2019 @ 1:02 PM

  7. Need to know what’s best to work around my child with add his can’t get him to focus for long or he’s gets over excited starts to rush his task plz need ure help

    Comment by Saika — June 30, 2019 @ 12:39 AM

  8. Good day,
    It would be great if more I tests and I formation becomes available online free for unique add types.

    Comment by Werner — August 9, 2019 @ 3:15 AM

  9. I’m in the same boat Saika. I just want my son to get the help he needs. He’s very smart. He just has trouble staying focused.

    Comment by Lynette — August 22, 2019 @ 5:41 AM

  10. My daughter is 23 and has struggled with ADD since childhood. she has been treated with medication which temporarily helps but she hates the way it makes her feel. Without the medication she struggles in school, work and in learning anything new. We are open to any help-she is very discouraged,

    Comment by Sandra Nolen — September 30, 2019 @ 10:49 AM

  11. Hello Sandra, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly about your daughter and how we can provide assistance.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 8, 2019 @ 6:44 AM

  12. Sorry but just NO.. Nicotine has been shown to improve cognitive function is every possible way (Hence why so many people with ADD smoke because they are self medicating with nicotine which helps their cognitive function). There is even nicotine based drugs for ADD on the horizon.

    Comment by Phil Richard — November 29, 2019 @ 5:47 AM

  13. Hello to the Support Team !
    I just was reading the article above and want to make the test to find out what kind of ADD I have , but I only could get to the 2. question
    and then it jumped back to the 1.
    Can I find the test anywhere else ?
    I am on ADD Medication .Have I stop taking them if I take the multivitamin , mineral supplements and fish oil ?

    Another question : What would be the cost for a first consultation and diagnostic with or without Brain scan ?

    I am looking forward for your answer and thank you .
    Monika Bartelt

    Comment by Monika Bartelt — March 2, 2020 @ 11:51 AM

  14. Limit video games to 30 mins a day? So the one thing that actually makes me happy because I can concentrate on it needs to be limited? no thnaks

    Comment by mack — July 10, 2020 @ 8:40 AM

  15. Well, it might sound like that in theory, but in reality, it only helps short-term (while smoking), but in between the cigarettes, it only gets worse.

    Comment by AXdxw — July 24, 2020 @ 2:57 PM

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