When your child is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, deciding on the best form of treatment can be an extremely draining and intensely personal process. Recent headlines about dangerous side effects of commonly prescribed drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta can leave parents feeling ashamed of their decision to give their children these medications. It is important to remember that while some children who take these drugs do experience alarming side effects, many are treated effectively. But it is also important to be informed of alternatives, and to know about natural medications and ingredients that have shown to be both highly effective and safe.
In order to make the best decision about treating your child, you need to understand what the most commonly doctor-prescribed drugs are and what they do.
Stimulants (such as Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta) increase brain activity and tend to increase a child’s alertness and ability to pay attention. The most common side effects of these drugs are mood changes, headaches, irritability, insomnia and loss of appetite. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received reports that Concerta was producing more serious side effects such as psychosis, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts among some users.
Non-Stimulants, such as Strattera, increase attention and impulse control by monitoring a brain chemical believed to affect those behaviors. Side effects similarly include moodiness, fatigue and decreased appetite.
Anti-depressants, such as Wellbutrin, relieve anxiety and regulate mood by altering brain chemical composition. These drugs are commonly prescribed to children suffering from both ADHD and depression. Side effects can include dizziness, weight loss and suicidal thoughts.
Many natural remedies for ADHD and ADD have proven to be equally effective and can be excellent alternatives to prescribing Ritalin for children as the homeopathic medications do not produce the same disturbing side effects.
When researching natural remedies as a treatment for ADHD, look for ingredients which have been shown to be the most useful. One of these is Centella Asiatica (also called Gotu Kola), a natural ingredient known to reduce anxiety levels and enhance memory and brain function. Recent studies show that it may also help increase blood flow to the brain and improve general circulation.
Another popular ingredient, Green Oats (also called Avena sativa), acts as a nerve tonic whose calming effects grow with time and consistent use.
Panax Ginseng, a Chinese herb, has been shown in studies to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and fatigue, increase motivation, and normalize body functions.
There are many natural remedies available that focus specifically on child ADHD treatment. Every child is unique and will react uniquely to medication, so trust your instincts and give the remedy time to take effect. As always, consult a doctor if you have questions, but you may find that homeopathic medications provide your child with a safe and natural path to an ADHD symptom-free life.