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ADD & ADHD Center

Natural Alternatives to Adderall

author image Barbara A. Smith
Barbara Smith is an occupational therapist who has more than 30 years of experience working with children and adults with disabilities. She is a public speaker and the author of "The Recycling Occupational Therapist," "Still Giving Kisses" and "From Rattles to Writing: A Parent's Guide to Hand Skills."
Natural Alternatives to Adderall
Natural Alternatives to Adderall

Adderall is the name brand of a prescription stimulant medication used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Side effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, insomnia, nausea, headaches and stomach pain. In addition, Adderall increases blood pressure, creating risks in individuals with cardiovascular disease. Natural alternatives to treat ADD and ADHD include improved nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and educational modifications--all of which produce no side effects and promote overall health.

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Additive-Free Diet

Provide an additive-free diet of natural foods to reduce the risk of food sensitivities. This includes eliminating sugary foods that make children hyper. It is common for children to have allergies to nuts, wheat, dairy, corn, chocolate, soy and citrus products. Sensitivities or allergies can be detected by using an elimination diet, where a food is completely eliminated for five to seven days. Then reintroduce one food at a time while watching for symptoms.

Vitamins and Minerals

Include foods in the diet with vitamin B, such as brown rice, brewer’s yeast and green vegetables, to help neurotransmitters work better and reduce stress. Provide citrus fruits (if the ADD/ADHD patient is not allergic to them) high in vitamin C to help release toxins from the body and should be offered to individuals who do individuals who do not have citrus allergies. Avoid iron deficiency that may cause short attention spans by adding molasses to snacks. The fatty omega oils found in fish, such as salmon, are known to promote good brain function. Tryptophan, found in poultry, aids in the production of serotonin--a brain chemical that promotes confidence, appetite and restfulness.

Exercise and Stress Reduction

Exercise reduces stress and promotes attention and feelings of well-being. It is an excellent alternative to medication, and exercise breaks should be built into every child’s classroom and adult’s work environment. Other methods of stress reduction include acupressure, massage, aromatherapy, yoga and meditation.

Educational Modifications

Most children attend and learn best when given hands-on instruction with student involvement rather than lecturing. When a child is disruptive in school, the cause must be determined and addressed. Children with ADD or ADHD usually benefit from structured environments, predictable routines, and limited visual and auditory distractions. Counseling may be helpful. Children and adults with ADD or ADHD can thrive when placed in the right stimulating environment.

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