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Attention Deficit Disorder: Lifestyle Changes


Exercise is important in developing general well-being, especially for children and adults with ADD/ADHD. But other lifestyle changes are equally important. Children 

with ADD or ADHD often qualify for free services at their schools and may be eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Parents must communicate effectively with a child’s teacher(s) and receive daily report cards to coordinate a plan to reward good performance in school. Summer and Saturday programs at school, special classrooms that use intensive behavioral modification, and specially trained classroom aides are all a part of the overall treatment plan for those with ADD or ADHD.

If you suspect that your child may have ADHD or ADD, make an appointment to see your doctor, psychiatrist, or behavioral pediatrician. You should also talk to other parents who have ADD/AHDH children but be patient with your child. Progress may not happen overnight. Emphasize your child’s talents and feelings of self-worth.

Scientists have actually been able to photograph and pinpoint differences in the brains of ADHD versus non-ADHD patients. The use of herbal remedies is one of the important components (along with other lifestyle changes) in changing one’s lifestyle to alleviate symptoms of ADHD. 

In a report released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1999 referred to as “Diet, ADHD, & Behavior: A Quarter-Century of Review”, it was concluded, based on 17 clinical studies, that food dyes and certain foods can adversely affect a child’s behavior. A few weeks later, Georgetown Medical School held a conference, referred to as “ADHD: Causes and Possible Solutions.” The evidence presented at the conference encourages the use of nutrition to treat ADHD. Presenters and participants also discussed the harmful effects of low-level exposure to chemicals, food additives, delayed hypersensitivity to some foods, and the effects of consuming junk foods.

To treat ADD/ADHD, certain lifestyle changes must be accepted including limiting the intake of artificial flavoring, coloring, and other food additives. It is important to avoid processed sugars and consume as many natural foods as possible. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has reviewed clinical studies and reports and has stated that many ADHD children did very well with behavioral therapy alone. Clearly, the overall consensus is that there are several methods that can be implemented independently or in conjunction with other methods to combat ADHD including lifestyle changes, discipline, diet, nutrition, medication and/or herbal remedies. Behavior therapy is, however, as most parents would agree, one of the most difficult alternatives to implement without other traditional treatment methods.



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