Common alternative therapies for ADHD: nutrition, vitamins, meditation

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August 4, 2022

According to a new study published in the Attention Disorder Diary.

Nutritional changes; natural products, such as herbs, vitamins and minerals; and mind-body practices like mindful meditation were the most reported CAMs. The use of alternative therapies was higher in families where the caregiver preferred natural therapies for ADHD and believed that CAMs could synergistically boost conventional medicine.1

In addition, the researchers found two predictors for the use of alternative therapies: parental education level (the more educated the parents, the more alternative therapies are used) and female sex.

“Parents with college education appear to be open-minded,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, they usually try internet sources, books and even magazines and other sources of information to treat their children.”

The study found that more women opted for complementary and alternative medicine than men. “One of the most important reasons for the higher use of CAMs among female patients is the fact that they generally use more healthcare services than men,” the researchers said.2

For the study, researchers searched The Web of Science Core Collection, PubMed, and Scopus databases from inception to February 10, 2022, looking for reports of patients’ use of complementary and alternative medicine. with ADHD. The data came from 12 original articles, which included a total of 4,447 patients, all under the age of 18.

To the researchers’ knowledge, this is the first systematic review to examine the prevalence, possible determinants, and type of alternative therapies used by patients with ADHD.

They recommended educating health care providers about the most common CAM therapies and possible adverse effects or interactions with conventional medications. “They [healthcare providers] should have a deeper and more informed dialogue about this with ADHD patients, which encourages them to disclose their use of CAM,” the researchers said.

This study had several limitations, such as only including articles published in English and the fact that most of the studies were from the United States and Australia.

View article sources

1Wu, J., Li, P., Luo, H. & Lu, Y. (2022). Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with ADHD: a systematic review. Attention Disorders Journal. doi.org/10.1177/1087054722111155

2Lorber, J., Moore, LJ (2002). Gender and the social construction of illness. Rowman Altamira.

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