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Tips for Treating Child and Adolescent ADHD

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It is estimated that about 9% of children and adolescents struggle with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, also known as ADD). ADHD/ADD can manifest in many ways including troubles with attention/focus, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. Treatment is only needed if symptoms are inhibiting or problematic. ADHD/ADD treatment can include focusing on the individual’s sleep hygiene, nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. Treatment for ADHD/ADD may also include medications and/or supplements. Untreated ADHD/ADD can lead to substance misuse and abuse, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Starting with Sleep

Many individuals with ADHD/ADD struggle with sleep. Quality sleep is important for ADHD/ADD symptom control. Starting with implementing a consistent bedtime routine and set bedtime can help improve sleep and reduce ADHD/ADD symptoms. Other tips for improving sleep include: providing a dark and quiet environment, using white noise if helpful, discontinuing use of all electronics one hour before bed, limiting exercise in the evening, aiming for 9.5 hours of sleep, no daytime napping, and focusing on not watching the clock!

Exercise helps minimize ADHD/ADD symptoms!

Exercise does not only boost neurotransmitters but it also boosts BDNF, both of which enhance executive functioning. Enhanced executive functioning means the individual can more easily focus, concentrate and stay on track. In addition, exercising outside can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Focus on 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day to help lower ADHD/ADD symptoms.

Nutrition’s Role in ADHD/ADD Management

What we fuel our body with helps minimize ADHD/ADD symptoms. Maintaining a consistent blood sugar level, and focusing on foods high in protein can help with attention and hyperactivity. Consistent meals and snacks throughout the day can also help minimize ADHD/ADD symptoms. Certain vitamins and supplements are also very important to an individual’s management of their ADHD/ADD symptoms. Studies have suggested increasing iron may improve ADHD symptoms in children. Ideas for quick, healthy snacks throughout the day include: apples with peanut butter, carrot sticks, dried fruit, nuts, cheese, energy bars (without preservatives).

Genetic Testing

MTHFR is an enzyme in the body that can play a role in ADHD. A gene mutation at the MTHFR enzyme can influence ADHD symptoms. Testing for this is easy–a quick cheek swab! Testing for and treating an MTHFR gene mutation can help treat underlying symptoms of ADHD! Treating the MTHFR genetic mutation is done so by taking a medical food supplement, that is available at almost all pharmacies.

Therapy for ADHD

There are many different types of therapy that can help children and adolescents manage their ADHD symptoms. Two of the most common types of therapy are behavioral therapy and executive functioning therapy. Many therapists specialize in this type of therapy, so it is important to find the right therapist. Social skills groups can also help individuals who struggle with ADHD symptoms, including hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Supplements to help manage the symptoms of ADHD

Dietary deficiencies can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD. Completing laboratory work and/or starting supplements can greatly reduce ADHD symptoms. Research has supported the use of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats for the improvement of ADHD symptoms.

Medication to help Manage ADHD symptoms

Many individuals find that medication greatly helps them manage their ADHD symptoms. There are many different types of medication options, including stimulant medications and non-stimulant medications. There are pros and cons to both medication options, which can be discussed with your provider.

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Tips for Helping your Child/Adolescent Manage ADHD Symptoms and Feel Successful

  • Keep structure and routine
  • Use clocks and times
  • Keep instructions simple
  • Help your child stay organized
  • Provide a quiet space for learning

Positive reinforcement plays a big role for individuals with ADHD. Many children and adolescents with ADHD are victims of consistent criticism. Helping your child/adolescent feel successful and acknowledging those successes is important!

If you feel your child or adolescent would benefit from a supplement treatment plan or medication treatment plan please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment, at 303-747-5051 or