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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Other Therapies

02/08/1998

Question:

I have a 9 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD this year. She is in third grade and not doing very well. The teacher has tried several interventions in school to no avail. I am afraid of medicines and would like to try other therapies. Any suggestions?

Answer:

You need to be aware that behavior modification and/or medication are the mainstay of treatment for ADHD. If your daughter is not responding to behavior management alone and medication is not an option you may choose to consider alternative therapies. Please be aware that there is no good scientific information available as to the success rates with other interventions. Some of these interventions include nutritional supplements such as primrose oil, zinc, and ginko biloba. The Feingold Diet, which is an elimination diet seems to be effective in a very small percentage of individuals affected with ADHD. Other possibilities include treating any specific allergies that may be present, evaluating for sleep apnea which can cause daytime drowsiness and difficulty with concentration, and making sure no other conditions may be affecting your child's concentration. Other such conditions include anxiety disorders, learning disorders, developmental delays, Petit mal seizures and medication side-effects (such as benadryl and other antihistamines.)

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Response by:

Margaret C Sweeney, MD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati