Guest Post by Kelli Cooper
We think of ADHD as something that affects children, and while many see their symptoms dissipate as they get older, 50 percent diagnosed will continue to struggle with this condition well into adulthood. While problematic at any age, ADHD can seriously interfere with the world of adulthood and the responsibilities and challenges present here. Medications often form a cornerstone of treatment, but may leave something to be desired; behavior modification strategies may only take you so far. Holistic approaches that attempt to go deeper and address all aspects of your being may be a good addition to your treatment arsenal.
Eastern traditions have embraced meditation as a core component of mental and physical well-being for thousands of years; it has grown in popularity in the West, and a growing interest from the medical community has produced numerous studies that seem to be confirming what anyone who regularly practices can easily tell you—it works. It appears to benefit a range of conditions, both mental and physical, from depression to hypertension. Research into its effects on ADHD is encouraging. Participants in numerous studies have reported decreased anxiety and depression as well as improvement in executive functions, such as concentration and organization. The results of these studies lead many researchers to conclude that ADHD is largely driven by stress, which people with this condition do not cope with as effectively as ‘’normal’’ people. In one study, all it took was two 10-minute sessions a day, so hardly a huge time commitment.
Like meditation, deep breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety, and keep you focused in the moment. Physician Richard Brown of Columbia University, reports that several studies have found deep breathing to be beneficial for people with ADHD; he notes that coherent breathing, which he has used in his own research, appears to be particularly beneficial. This type of breathing is coined such because it synchronizes the rhythms of the heart, lungs and brain. The autonomic nervous system of people with ADHD can be a bit out of whack, which explains heightened responses to stressors, and reduced ability to calm down again. Deep breathing helps recharge the brain, enhance oxygen delivery throughout the body, improve functioning of the heart, lung and blood vessels, and induce a relaxation response. It has also been linked with improving function in the part of the brain that is involved in dealing with complex problems. When practicing, aim for five to six full breaths a minute; also, use this technique proactively, not just when the stress has already hit.
The role of diet in ADHD is highly debated; though many studies have found links between symptoms and food additives, the medical community maintains there is no link. While study quality and other factors may make it hard to draw any definitive conclusions, enough research and anecdotal evidence is floating around to make it worthwhile to at least experiment with dietary changes to see if any benefit you. Besides cutting back on additives, reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Basically, aim to include foods that have been minimally processes and are as close to their natural form as possible. You might also consider supplements that can help balance the central nervous system, such as fish oil and a B-vitamin complex.
To learn more about some more great natural alternatives to the commonly prescribed pharmaceutical, Adderall, make sure to check out this article.
When it comes to managing symptoms of ADHD, there is really no one-size-fits-all approach. Different things work for different people. Some may find all natural strategies work best, while other find a mix of natural remedies and medications provides optimal symptoms control. Be diligent in experimentation and make an effort to consistently apply the strategies to get the full picture of their effectiveness.
Author Bio: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer, who enjoys discussing natural ways to cope with health conditions.