Attention Deficit Disorder affects children, teenagers, and adults. It makes certain parts of life, like school and work, extremely difficult. Most of the medications for ADD include strong drugs and chemicals, which have their own negative effects. If you are looking for a more natural approach to ADD management, you may find success with herbal remedies.
Understanding the Problem
ADD is classified as a psychiatric condition. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes it as a pattern of lack of attention and/or high energy that is more severe and more frequent in an individual than is typically observed in other individuals of the same developmental level (source: Psych Central).
Doctors are unsure exactly what causes this psychiatric condition, but many of them believe it could be linked to genetics. Environmental factors such as family conflict or poor discipline don’t necessarily cause the disorder, but can make it worse in children.
Diagnosing the Problem
Symptoms of ADD can be confused with general forgetfulness and restlessness. Work with a doctor to be sure the symptoms you are noticing really do add up to ADD. If a doctor makes a quick diagnoses after one appointment, be skeptical. A good doctor will test for medical conditions that could be causing the problem (such as a thyroid condition) and will conduct an in-depth investigation of the behaviors.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of the disorder. A person with ADD
- has a hard time focusing and makes careless mistakes.
- is easily distracted.
- is forgetful and loses things.
- avoids schoolwork or other tasks that require concentrated attention.
- doesn’t listen when directly spoken to.
- interrupts others.
- doesn’t like to wait his or her turn.
- answers questions before they’ve been spoken or read completely.
- is unorganized.
- has a difficult time sustaining attention during a task or activity.
Remedying the Problem
Drug therapy for children and adults with ADD usually includes use of stimulant drugs. These drugs can be efficient in helping with attention problems, but they come with a list of side effects including stunted growth and development, insomnia, depression, agitation, nervousness, and confusion. Some people believe that the treatment is worse than the actual disorder.
The herbal remedies that can potential help a person with ADD are those that stimulate the nervous system or help with attention and concentration. They can be found as either herbal supplements or essential oils from companies like Herb Affair. Some of these herbal remedies include the following plant extracts:
- Ginkgo. Ginkgo leaves increase local blood flow to the brain, which increases circulation. They act as antioxidants and improve brain glucose metabolism.
- Siberian Ginseng. This herb helps with stress management. It also helps the body evenly burn energy and keep an even energy output. Siberian Ginseng stimulates brain activity and positively affects growth rates as well.
- Gotu Kola. This plant also helps reduce stress. It has been shown to help with cognitive and nervous disorders.
- Brahmi. The Brahmi herb is known for its enhancement of cognitive function. It acts as an antioxidant for the brain and stimulates improved learning.
Some natural approaches to ADD management include the use of formulas and tonics. An example of such a tonic is found in Chinese medicine. One version of the Chinese formula includes the following ingredients:
- Chinese thorowax root
- skullcap root
- Piniella rhizome
- oriental white ginseng root
- calcined oyster shell
- dragon bone
- cinnamon twig
- poria sclerotium
- red jujube fruit
- gardenia fruit
Other formulas from other parts of the world are also available. (Information from this section from Healing Arts.)
If you or your child are suffering from ADD, you have several options for symptom-management. If you are weary of stimulant drugs, talk to your doctor about natural remedies. Every case is different and will respond to different treatment approaches. Remember to keep an open mind in order to make the best choice—whether that means herbal remedies or prescribed drugs.