7 Natural ADHD Treatments: How Medical Cannabis, Supplements and Mindfulness Can Help Regain Focus12 June 2023
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental condition that causes someone to have difficulty paying attention and staying focused. It is often characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattentiveness and restlessness.
- ADHD affects millions of children and adults worldwide, with symptoms starting young. Current treatment involves medications, behavioural therapy and various lifestyle changes.
- Prescription medication for ADHD can help control symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with the condition. However, these medications have many side effects, including weight gain, insomnia and fatigue.
- Some home remedies for ADHD (e.g., yoga, mindfulness meditation and vitamin supplementation) show promise in addressing attention deficits.
- Medical cannabis may help with ADHD by addressing focus, anxiety and stress, and sleep quality. However, discussing this natural option with a professional is important, as those with ADHD may develop a dependence on cannabis.
The brain is a delicate organ, and its neurons are even more so. When you have ADHD, it can feel like your brain is constantly being bombarded with environmental stimuli and thoughts running through your head.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by persistent inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The condition can interfere with an individual’s daily functioning and development. Common symptoms include difficulty staying focused, excessive fidgeting and impulsive-decision making.
In the UK, ADHD remains widely undiagnosed, with only 10-20% of individuals likely to be treated. Traditional treatments for ADHD often involve medication, behavioural therapy or a combination of both.
Medications for ADHD, mostly stimulants (e.g., amphetamine and methylphenidate), can leave patients feeling tired, irritable and depressed. Behavioural therapy can effectively improve symptoms of ADHD, but it is often time-consuming and difficult to access.
As such, many people with ADHD are not receiving appropriate treatment, and there is a clear need for more effective alternatives to traditional treatments for ADHD. This article reviews the current literature on alternative treatments for ADHD, including dietary modifications and herbal supplements.
At Lyphe, we understand that your health is important to you, and we are here to help. If you suffer from ADHD symptoms and cannot find relief with traditional treatments, we encourage you to discuss alternative treatments with a trained professional. Book a call today and see if medical cannabis may be right for you.
1. Medical cannabis
As the use of medical cannabis becomes more prevalent in treating various health conditions, its potential role in managing ADHD symptoms has garnered significant interest. While research on cannabis as a treatment for ADHD is still in its early stages, some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that it may offer certain benefits for those affected by the disorder.
Medical cannabis may help improve focus and concentration
Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has been found to influence the dopamine system in the brain. This system plays a crucial role in attention and focus. By modulating dopamine levels, CBD may help improve focus and concentration in individuals with ADHD.
Medical cannabis may reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity
Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis, particularly those with high CBD-to-THC ratios, may help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity in people with ADHD by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. A 2019 review suggests that medical cannabis helps alleviate patients’ ADHD symptoms, especially those related to poor tolerance, frustration and difficulty concentrating.
Medical cannabis alleviates anxiety and stress
Medical cannabis has been widely recognised for its potential to reduce anxiety and stress. Since anxiety and stress can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, using medical cannabis to manage these issues may indirectly help with ADHD management.
One 2020 study found that medical cannabis intake led to a reduction in the use of traditional ADHD medication. The research reports that a high dosage of cannabinoids and terpenes leads to lower anxiety scores, which is a leading cause of ADHD medication intake.
Medical cannabis promotes better sleep
Sleep disturbances are common among individuals with ADHD, and poor sleep quality can worsen the disorder’s symptoms. Medical cannabis has been shown to promote better sleep by increasing the time spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which may help improve attention span and focus.
While the potential benefits of medical cannabis for ADHD are promising, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before considering it as a treatment option. The long-term effects of medical cannabis on cognitive development in children and adolescents, are not yet fully understood.
If you’re looking for a medical cannabis prescription, there are various ways to go about it. However, your safest option is to get it from a medical cannabis clinic backed by qualified doctors. A medical cannabis clinic will provide you with the best advice on properly dosing this ADHD natural treatment.
At Lyphe, we aim to provide patients with a safe and comfortable environment. We are committed to providing the best medical cannabis services, including consultations with our highly qualified physicians. Book an appointment now!
2. Physical activity
Physical activity has long been known for its numerous physical and mental health benefits. For individuals with ADHD, incorporating regular exercise into their daily routine can be a game-changer.
One of the key benefits of physical activity for individuals with ADHD is its positive impact on brain function. Exercise increases the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which are essential for attention, focus and mood regulation.
Executive functions are cognitive processes that help us plan, organise and complete tasks. Individuals with ADHD often struggle with executive dysfunction, making daily life challenging. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve executive functioning, allowing those with ADHD to manage their time better, prioritise tasks and follow through on their commitments.
A 2015 Journal of Attention Disorders review suggests that mixed exercise programs and fine motor precision are best for individuals with ADHD.
Meanwhile, a 2015 trial involving 28 adolescents with ADHD found that intense physical activity improved concentration. The group who ran the five-minute relay with no rest showed improvements in tasks that require attention by a difference of 30.52% compared to volunteers with ADHD who did not run.
Biofeedback is a therapeutic technique that helps individuals learn how to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and muscle tension. This emergent therapy uses sensors and electrical signals attached to the patient’s body.
A computer screen displays the data being collected. The patient can then see how their body reacts to different stimuli and learn how to control these reactions.
Neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback, is mainly used with children with ADHD to help with their executive functioning skills, working memory and organisation.
EEG biofeedback, in particular, has been evaluated as a treatment for ADHD, with sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) training reinforcing EEG activity. This means that the brain is receiving more signals from the body and thus learning to control itself.
A 2021 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology suggests that biofeedback with virtual reality (VR) has beneficial effects in treating attention deficits. The study found that VR-based biofeedback led to better attention spans than biofeedback alone.
Another 2016 study created a biofeedback game to help children with ADHD follow through with breathing exercises. The game creators report that the game had a calming effect on the study’s population.
Biofeedback can help individuals with ADHD learn to control their bodily functions and improve cognitive functioning. By incorporating newer technology into biofeedback, it may be possible to improve the outcomes of this therapeutic model.
Certain vitamins and minerals can help alleviate ADHD symptoms such as inattention, memory, mood and cognitive function when combined with ADHD medication. These natural supplements for ADHD include the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential acids play a crucial role in brain development and function. Studies have found lower levels of omega-3 in individuals with ADHD than those without the disorder.
- Magnesium is vital for various bodily functions, including neurotransmitter regulation and nerve cell communication. Research has found a correlation between magnesium deficiency and ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.
- Zinc: This natural ADHD supplement is critical in brain function and neurotransmitter production. It’s also known to have a modulatory effect on dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in ADHD.
- Iron supplementation can help increase dopamine production, thus positively impacting focus, attention and overall cognitive function.
5. Yoga or tai chi
Yoga and tai chi can be beneficial for ADHD as they can help decrease some of the disorder’s symptoms. They are considered movement-based therapies and have been shown to improve concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate mood. Furthermore, both practices increase dopamine levels, which can help strengthen neural connections in the brain and improve attention.
Yoga is a meditative exercise that can help you to relax and focus your mind. It is also a great way to get some physical activity into your daily routine, as many yoga classes include a warm-up and cool-down period.
Regular yoga may lower stress levels, relieve pain and improve sleep quality. All these can help alleviate ADHD symptoms. A 2018 trial published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics found that yoga helped improve attention in preschoolers with ADHD.
A multimodal behavioural program incorporating yoga was also found to improve ADHD symptoms in adolescents with the condition, according to a 2011 clinical study published in the International Scholarly Research Network Pediatrics. The researchers found that after a six-week program, 90.5% of the highschoolers saw an improvement in academic performance.
Tai chi is a form of qigong that focuses on coordinated movement, breathing and meditation. It is thought to improve focus and mental clarity and reduce stress levels.
A 2014 Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study found that tai chi training reduced inattention in young adults. The students who participated in this study entered a 15-week introductory tai chi course. At the end of the course, the students reported an improvement in focus and attention.
In a 2020 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, researchers found that tai chi training decreased inattention. The study also noted that those who started the training program had a high retention rate, meaning the use of this intervention is feasible for young adults with ADHD.
6. Music therapy
Music therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses music to address individuals’ physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic, music therapy can help with memory, lower blood pressure, improve coping, reduce stress, improve self-esteem and more. This evidence-based treatment shows promise in alleviating various disorders, including ADHD.
For children with ADHD, this non-medication treatment for ADHD can bolster attention and focus, reduce hyperactivity and strengthen social skills. A 2020 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found that music promotes attentiveness and focus in children.
The study compared a single 30-minute interactive music intervention to a 30-minute interactive video game intervention. At the end of the trial, the researchers found that the music intervention significantly improved the children’s ability to control their attention.
Many people with ADHD gravitate towards instrumental music because it generally has a structured rhythm that helps people focus. Music therapy influences mood and reduces restlessness and impulsiveness. It also soothes anxiety and stress in the body, which is important for children with ADHD who often feel anxious and stressed.
7. Pine bark
Pine bark extract has been suggested to be helpful in managing ADHD symptoms. Pine bark contains neuroprotective polyphenols that can improve cognitive function, memory and learning.
Additionally, pine bark extract contains a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and phenolic acids that offer extensive natural health benefits, such as improving attention and visual-motor skills.
A 2021 randomised placebo study published in Phytotherapy Research found that pine bark extract supplementation caused a significant reduction in inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. The study involved 20 children diagnosed with ADHD, each given 25mg or 50mg of the extract for four weeks. At the end of the treatment period, those that received the medication reported improved outcomes as opposed to the placebo group.
Conclusion – Natural remedies for children with ADHD
The journey to managing ADHD symptoms can be a challenging and individualised process with no one-size-fits-all solution. However, natural remedies can offer valuable alternatives for individuals seeking a more holistic approach to ADHD management.
Incorporating mindfulness practices like yoga and tai chi and considering dietary supplements and the potential of medical cannabis may all help. These natural cures for ADHD can provide additional tools to help enhance focus, reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being.
It’s important to remember that each person’s experience with ADHD is unique. What works for one individual may not necessarily work for another.
As with any treatment, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action tailored to your specific needs. By staying informed and open to exploring various natural remedies for ADHD in adults and children, individuals can empower themselves and gain control of their lives.
Lyphe is the most trusted medical cannabis clinic in the UK. Our medical cannabis experts have extensive experience in helping patients manage their symptoms. If you have ADHD and want to learn more about our medical cannabis treatments, book an appointment today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it possible to treat ADHD naturally?
Lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments and meditation can help address many of the woes children or adults with ADHD face. However, these natural treatments do not address the underlying neurological cause of ADHD.
What vitamins help with ADHD?
Supplements containing vitamin B3 and vitamin D are some of the best vitamins for ADHD. Children with ADHD have lower levels of these vitamins than those without the condition.
What herbs calm ADHD?
Several herbs have been suggested to help calm hyperactive minds, including ginkgo biloba, ginseng, chamomile, pine bark, medical cannabis, Brahmi and more.
What is a good natural supplement for ADHD?
Omega-3 fatty acids may help address a number of ADHD symptoms. Various studies suggest that this natural ADHD supplement can help with hyperactivity, impulsivity and even attention.
What foods calm ADHD?
Research suggests that certain foods may benefit people with ADHD. Protein-rich foods, carbohydrates with low-glycemic indices, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids may help calm ADHD symptoms.
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