Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

There's little research that indicates that alternative medicine treatments can reduce ADHD symptoms. Before using any alternative interventions, talk with your doctor to determine risks and possible benefits. Some alternative treatments that have been tried but are not yet fully proved scientifically include:

  • Yoga or meditation. Doing regular yoga routines or meditation and relaxation techniques may help you relax and learn discipline, which may help you manage your symptoms of ADHD.
  • Special diets. Most diets that have been promoted for ADHD involve eliminating foods thought to increase hyperactivity, such as sugar and caffeine, and common allergens such as wheat, milk and eggs. Although studies have not proved a consistent link, some diets recommend eliminating artificial food colorings and additives. If you notice that a certain food causes a change in your symptoms, you may want to try eliminating it from your diet to see if it makes a difference. However, consult with your doctor or dietitian before starting a limited diet. A diet that eliminates too many foods can be unhealthy because it may lack necessary vitamins and nutrients.
  • Vitamin or mineral supplements. While certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for good health, there's no evidence that supplemental vitamins or minerals can reduce symptoms of ADHD. "Megadoses" of vitamins — doses that far exceed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — can be harmful.
  • Herbal supplements. Talk with your doctor before taking supplements. Scientific evidence on effectiveness is lacking, and some products may damage your health.
  • Essential fatty acids. These fats, which include omega-3 oils, are necessary for the brain to function properly. More research is needed to say whether they may improve ADHD symptoms.
  • Neurofeedback training. Also called electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback, this treatment involves regular sessions in which you focus on certain tasks while using a machine that shows brain wave patterns. Theoretically, you can learn to keep brain wave patterns active in the front of your brain — improving symptoms of ADHD. More research is needed to determine whether this treatment works.
Mar. 07, 2013

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