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9 ADHD Products Reviewed
A review of 9 ADHD products known to help individuals with concentration and focus.
by Brad Chase
You'll often hear excuses of "kids will be kids" or "they're just over excited," or "the child just lacks discipline." But parents of hyperactive, inattentive kids know that there is something more going on. Kids with ADHD are not acting out of wrong intention, but they are biochemically out of balance, and it’s important for parents to identify this change of behavior.
Even though researchers believe ADHD has existed for over 100 years, it was only in the 20th century that scientists began researching into this behavior when a Dr. George Still met several young children who were having "defective moral control." Fortunately, today there are several medications and remedies available to treat ADHD and ADD.
Whether you are an adult with ADD or a child with ADHD, or a child struggling with a learning disorder, take a few minutes to examine the ins and outs of ADHD and how you can treat the condition and regain control of your life.
ADHD has three main forms. While hyperactive ADHD is most commonly recognized, there are two other forms of ADHD that are easier to miss. Learning to recognize the signs of ADHD in yourself and others can go a long way toward finding the right treatment and behavior therapies that can help individuals with ADHD.
An undiagnosed person with ADHD may feel like she/he is not as good as others, because it is harder to focus, pay attention, keep things organized, and stay on task. Left undiagnosed, there is no reason for the struggle, and the child or adult with ADHD is left thinking they are always wrong, which can cause problems in personal and professional relationships as well as lead to low self-esteem.
The symptoms of ADHD vary by type. A brief outline of the most common symptoms are outlined below:
This form of ADHD is often called ADD, because symptoms of hyperactivity are less obvious.
Still, it is officially included under the ADHD umbrella.
Symptoms can include:
The hyperactive type of ADHD is the easiest to spot and diagnose. Some research has suggested that since boys present with hyperactivity ADHD more often than girls, they are diagnosed more readily than girls, even though girls are just as likely to have ADHD.
Symptoms of hyperactive ADHD include:
Impulsivity is a symptom of most cases of ADHD. However, there is a form of ADHD that is more impulsive than distracted or hyperactive.
Symptoms can include:
Some children (if not most) will show signs of all three types of ADHD. However, symptoms from all three arenas do not have to be present to be diagnosed as ADHD. Symptoms do have to be present in multiple settings to quality for official diagnosis, including at home, school, and social activities.
Whenever there is an abnormal health condition or learning disability, most parents want to know cause of the condition. However, for most cases, the cause of ADHD is simple genetics. Still, some research has indicated that a few other issues may trigger or worsen ADHD symptoms. How ADHD Works ADHD is not a discipline problem.
Current research indicates that ADHD is not caused by laziness, lack of motivation, selfishness, or any other negative cause. ADHD is considered a medical disorder that affect how the brain functions. Research has shown that ADHD affects several main areas of the brain responsible for regulating behavior.
At its root, ADHD is an executive function disorder. Executive function controls areas of the brain including: Emotional regulation Planning Working memory Inhibition Verbal regulation Motor control Over the years, researchers have debated on if there is a true "cause" of ADHD. The most recent research is outlined below:
If you or your kids have ADHD, genetics is the most likely cause. Family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies have all suggested that if one person in a family has ADHD, other family members have an increased chance of also being diagnosed. 25 percent of family members of individuals with diagnosed ADHD also have ADHD.
In families without any diagnosed ADHD, the risk of diagnosis was only 5 percent. Your chances of having ADHD are five times higher if someone else in your family has it. 82 percent of identical twins were diagnosed with ADHD if their twin was also diagnosed. Genetic researchers have looked into the possibility of a gene causing ADHD. Dopamine genes have been identified as possibly relating to the disorder. DAT1 and DRD4 are associated with the condition.
As of yet, nothing has been proven, but researchers believe it may be possible to identify an ADHD gene in the near future.
Studies have found that exposure to tobacco and alcohol during pregnancy is more likely to cause learning disabilities and ADHD in children. Lead exposure also increases risk for developing behavior and neurological disorders. Brain Trauma and ADHD It was thought for some years that brain trauma might trigger ADHD, just like it can for cerebral palsy. But research has found that, while possible, brain trauma is not the most likely cause of ADHD or other learning disabilities.
The following "causes" of ADHD have been debunked.
In the early days of ADHD research, it was thought there might be a connection between diet and ADHD symptoms. Sugar, allergies, and food sensitivities were attributed to cause ADHD symptoms, but the link has since been disproved. However, there is some evidence that higher intake of vitamins like zinc and B vitamins can help lessen some of the symptoms of ADHD and improve focus.
Researchers hypothesized that trouble in the vestibular system may cause ADHD. It was suggested that taking anti-motion sickness medicine could alleviate ADHD symptoms. This has been proven to be false.
No studies have shown that hormone imbalances worsen ADHD symptoms. Poor Parenting ADHD is not controlled or eliminated by stricter discipline. However, working with children to control and harness ADHD symptoms can be a positive way to deal with the worst symptoms of ADHD. Positive behavior therapy, for example, has been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD.
How much screen time a child gets does not affect whether they have ADHD. A child with ADHD usually gets no more screen time than a child without ADHD.
There are many treatment options for kids with ADHD. While some parents chose to medicate children with ADHD, not all parents are happy with that idea and seek a natural treatment route. Studies show that a combination of medication and behavior therapy is the best combo for treating ADHD symptoms and helping children with ADHD live a normal life.
Many families of children with ADHD use a combination of medicine or supplements, family therapy, behavior therapy, and social skills training. Mind/body techniques, like biofeedback, may also be effective in reducing some of the symptoms of ADHD. Children and adults with ADHD may benefit from the following treatment options:
Many cases of ADHD are treated with drug therapies (usually stimulant medications). Research suggests that stimulant medication can boost how much dopamine and serotonin are in the brain, which help regulate the mood, control impulses, and facilitate concentration. The most common medications used for ADHD include:
Methylphenidate (Ritalin or Concerta): This stimulant is the most commonly used in children with ADHD and is effective in about 75 percent of children and adults with ADHD. Children under 6 should not use this form of medication.
Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine): This is another stimulant medication that works slightly different from Ritalin. Its effective rating is about 70 percent and it is not recommended for children under age three. Most children younger than five are not diagnosed with ADHD due to the difficulties identifying the condition at such a young age.
Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine (Adderall): Adderall is a popular ADHD medication that is now a problem in high school and college campuses. Adderall is designed to help children with ADHD focus clearly on one subject, but some children who do not have ADHD take Adderall under the table to boost test performance. Adderall has about a 70 percent effectiveness rating and can be habit-forming.
Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse): Vyvanse is a type of simulant salt medication like Adderall, but slightly weaker and less habit-forming. Some parents start with Vyvanse and move on to Adderall if the medication does not work. Vyvanse has about a 70 percent effectiveness rating.
Atomoxetine (Strattera): Strattera is the first nonstimulant medication that is FDA approved for ADHD. Strattera increases how much norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Strattera works similarly to an antidepressant to help the neurotransmitters in the brain process nerve impulses correctly. Strattera may cause suicidal thoughts.
Antihypertensives (clonidine and guanfacine): These two medications are not approved for ADHD by the FDA. Still, some doctors prescribe them to ADHD patients. The medications work to counteract tics and insomnia often caused by ADHD medication.
Often, a family will not know how to face the difficulties of ADHD alone. Studies show that a multi-tiered approach to ADHD therapy is the most effective in providing life-long results. In addition to medication or natural diet or supplement changes, parents should consider behavior therapy for their entire family and the child with ADHD. The therapist can help the person with ADHD learn coping mechanisms to help prevent meltdowns, facilitate concentration, and improve their quality of life.
The biggest danger of long-term use of ADHD medication is that it can be habit forming. If a person with ADHD cannot focus without the medication, then they are at a severe disadvantage when they must work without medication. The person with ADHD may never work out how to use coping mechanisms to control their ADHD symptoms, which could leave the person at a disadvantage in the workplace and school.
Additionally, ADHD medication also carries some risk. For example, non-stimulant ADHD medication carries the risk of increased suicidal thoughts. Stimulant medication can cause symptoms such as:
A large portion of ADHD parents supplement medication and behavior therapies with natural treatments for ADHD. Some parents chose to not medicate at all, but instead, use behavior and supplement treatments only. Some evidence suggests that children with ADHD are often low in certain vital nutrients, although the exact link for this is unknown. Some studies have shown that improving the diet can help a child learn to focus and control their behavior without the need for medication. The following natural treatment options are the most common for ADHD:
ADHD isn't so much a brain disability as a brain difference. A parent (or spouse) can help a person with ADHD by making a few lifestyle changes. Many therapists specialize in working with kids and adults with ADHD and can help offer lifestyle coping mechanisms both for the person with ADHD and their family to prevent conflict and help the person with ADHD live normally.
A few commonly-implemented behavior therapies for the home include:
The first ADHD diet was created in the 1970s by a man named Benjamin Feingold. The diet was based on several studies that indicated that food dyes and preservatives could affect behavior. Since the 1970s, it has been found that while some children with ADHD show improved symptoms after removing food additives, it does not work for all children with ADHD. However, there is no reason not to try the diet for a few months to see if eliminating unhealthy food additives benefits your family. At the worst, it makes no difference, and at best, significant symptom reduction can occur.
Other diet changes that are popular suggest eliminating processed foods, eating more omega 3 fats, reducing sugar intake, or eating more protein. All of these steps will benefit the health of any child, so many doctors will recommend trying this diet, at least on a temporary basis, with ADHD patients. Food allergies have also been linked with some cases of ADHD.
You can talk with your doctor about trying a food elimination diet to determine if your child has any hidden allergies that may be making ADHD symptoms worse.
Massage can help just about any condition, but for ADHD, it can help regulate anxiety and reduce activity levels. One study found that boys with ADHD who received a 15-minute massage for 10 days had both improvements in concentration ability and in behavior.
Although homeopathy is a highly contested field of medicine, there is some evidence that it may be helpful for children with ADHD. One study found that children with ADHD who received an individualized homeopathic remedy showed significant improvement in their daily behavior. The ingredients found to have the most benefit included:
Biofeedback is the practice of employing a variety of strategies like mindfulness, hypnotherapy, meditation, and progressive relaxation. These strategies are used to help children develop coping mechanisms that help them act less impulsively. These techniques help children feel in control of their lives, reduce stress, and can improve self-esteem. Multiple studies have found that these techniques can have a lasting effect on ADHD symptoms.
Supplements are another common method that parents and adults with ADHD use to help alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD without the need for medication. The following vitamin and herbal blends address some of the nutrient deficiencies that are common in children with ADHD.
Adding these supplements to the diet may help alleviate some of the worst ADHD symptoms and help a person with ADHD focus and control behavior.
This is a natural supplement used to control the symptoms of ADHD in children and adults. The natural ingredients in Listol aid to restore the levels of nutrients in the body, increase mental focus, consistency, and reduce impulsiveness. The ingredients include Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphatidylserine, Iron, Zinc, Dimethyl Glycine, Glycine, Copper, DMAE Bitartrate , GABA Powder, and Huperzine A Extract.
Developed by Natural Factors, it is known to help children with attention disorders. It contains essential fatty acid (EFA), evening primrose oil (GLA), thyme oil, vitamin E, and dolphin-friendly tuna oil (EPA and DHA) . Learning Factors is a product line of natural ADHD medications. The most popular is Learning Factors: School Aid.
These formulations are mixtures of essential fatty acids including EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid, DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid, AA or Arachidonic acid and GLA or Gamma Linolenic acid. These fatty acids have been proven to promote brain and eye health. Of these fatty acids, DHA is the most prominent since it is the one found in the highest proportion in structures of the brain and eyes. Generally, the fatty acids prevent oxidative damage to the neurons, they stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, they regulate the functioning of the neurons and they boost the immune system.
The supplement supports brain health, boosts concentration and attention, and improves mental focus in children. It does not contain any added colors, artificial preservatives, corn, gluten, dairy, starch, or yeast.
It is a natural homeopathic remedy to help children and adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). It provides effective support for the symptoms of ADHD. Add-care offers a range of formulas including Pure and Pure with Bacopa, Original Formula, and Original Formula with Bacopa. Besides the homeopathic base in ADD-Care products, they also contain GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), L-tyrosine and extracts of Bacopa monniera.
GABA is an important neurotransmitter which is responsible for reducing the excitation of neurons firing excessively. It does this by hyperpolarizing the neurons. GABA also releases growth hormone in the brain and, therefore, promotes normal brain development especially in children. L-Tyrosine is an amino acid needed for the syntheses of essential hormones and neurotransmitter. It is converted to levodopa and then to dopamine. Dopamine is then converted to norepinephrine. By increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, tyrosine improves mental functions and attention span. In addition, the amino acid is used in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
Therefore, it corrects hypothyroidism in ADHD children with that condition. Hypothyroidism is closely linked to ADHD. Bacopa is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve memory and cognition as well as protect the body against neurological damage. This homeopathic preparation has been shown to improve mental focus, attention span, clarity, and other ADHD symptoms.
Native Remedies’s Focus Formula is a natural herbal remedy to help children and adults with ADHD symptoms. The main ingredients include Avena Sativa (Wild Oats), Scutellaria Lateriflora (Skullcap), Urtica Urens, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola), Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile), Gingko Biloba, and Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos).
Ginkgo promotes blood circulation and prevents blood clot which could cause neurological damage. Gotu is a brain tonic and it also helps to relieve stress. Skullcap is an anxiolytic and daytime sedative which promotes calmness without causing drowsiness. German chamomile reduces anxiety, nervous tension and fatigue. Green oats supply needed micronutrients for a healthy central nervous system. Rooibos is a powerful antioxidant and the extracts of nettle is a powerhouse of phytochemicals needed for normal brain functioning.
Focus Formula is developed using a unique Full Spectrum Approach (FSA) method to provide the highest quality, value, and safety. The preparation aids in improving mental focus, attention span, and concentration while boosting normal energy levels.
Formulated by Hi-Tech, Attention Link offers a natural support for children and adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). It is the latest innovation in the line of nutraceutical brain supplements to boost memory and brain functions.
The active ingredients of Attention Link include phenylethylamine and extracts of Acacia rigidula leaves which increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain; DMAE which supplies choline for the production of acetylcholine; and GABA which is chief inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system.
Other ingredients include L-Tyrosine and L-Threonine which are needed for neurotransmitter production and maintenance of different aspects of the central nervous system; Inositol which is needed for the synthesis of serotonin and the protection of the neurons; Dibencozide which is a form of Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient in the nervous system; Naringen which is an antioxidant needed to protect the brain against reactive free radicals; and extracts of Theobroma cacao and Citrus aurantium Extract as well as 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin which are stimulants.
Attention Link involves three years of extensive research and development carried out in the firm in Belize, Pharmatech Limited. The remedy is known to promote mental focus, concentration and brain health. It provides precursors of neurotransmitters which help in reducing mental imbalances and dysfunction.
This is a powerful and effective liquid formula, specially developed to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children and adults. The preparation contains phospholipid and essential fatty acid, essential vitamins and minerals, and a proprietary blend of fruits and greens.
The B vitamins improve metabolism and contribute to nutritional balance. They also promote the activities of different neurotransmitters and maintain the neurons. Since nutritional deficiencies produce symptoms (for example, irritability and mental confusion) similar to those of ADHD, calcium and magnesium are included to eliminate such symptoms. Chromium is added to help normalize blood sugar levels. The phospholipids are needed to give the membranes of brain cells and neurons structural integrity. Some of them also contribute to neurotransmitter syntheses.
Addasil's nutrients are natural and safe. They have shown to relieve ADHD symptoms and promote mental performance. They also restore the nutritional balance.
Formulated by Native Remedies, this homeopathic helps to relieve ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms in children and adults. It is prepared from natural plants and minerals that stimulate body's natural healing capacity to relieve symptoms.
One such ingredient is hyoscyamus. Hyoscyamus contains alkaloids such as hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are anticholinergic. They give the herb its sedative properties. Arsenic iodide can supply the body with iodine and help restore thyroid hormone balance in ADHD patients with hypothyroidism.
As a registered OTC homeopathic remedy, it effectively relieves attention problems, hyperactivity, distractibility, and recklessness in children and adults.
HelloLife’s Synaptol is a homeopathic preparation known to alleviate symptoms associated with ADHD. It is specially formulated to enhance mental focus, improve attention span, and enhance mental concentration. Synaptol contains a long list of ingredients. Some of these are herbs. Each of the herbs is either an active ingredient or a supportive ingredient.
Beside the herbs, Synaptol is formulated with a neurotransmitter complex with promotes the activities of such brain neurotransmitters as dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine. All the ingredients in Synaptol are mixed in an oligo therapeutic water base made from a special mix of inorganic minerals and purified water. Synaptol supports brain health and nervous system.
The preparation contains Gum (cluster bean),glucosamine sulfate, acetylated mannans, beta glucans (cell wall of baker's yeast), arabinogalactan (larch tree wood), ghatti gum (bark of anogeissus latifolia), gum tragacanth (gum resin), and aloe vera leaf gel.
This is an effective homeopathic remedy to support children and adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms. The preparation contains a blend of more than 70 nutritional, natural vitamin, herbal, and homeopathic ingredients.
Homeopathic remedies contained in Vaxa Attend include Kali Phosphoricum or Potassium phosphate, Lithium Carbonicum or Lithium carbonate, Natrum Muriaticum or Sodium chloride, Argentum Nitricum or Silver nitrate, Iodine or Iodine, Fluoricum Acidum or Phosphoric acid and extracts of Agaricus Muscarius , Valeriana officinalis, Hyoscyamus niger. Humulus lupulus (Hops), Ignatia amara. Avena sativa (Oat grass) and Tarentula hispanica (obtained from Spanish spider).
Vaxa Attend supports the function of the central nervous system (CNS) and addresses the neurochemical deficiencies associated with ADHD. It is also known to reduce stress and frustration; enhances mental focus; and improve attention span and concentration.
Research suggests that certain vitamins and nutrients are commonly lacking in individuals with ADHD. Researchers are not sure why individuals with ADHD tend to have low levels of the same vitamins, but suggest that individuals with ADHD may have a body makeup that either requires higher doses of vitamins to function optimally, or may simply have trouble absorbing certain nutrients. Whatever the reason, studies have indicated that adding these stand-alone nutrients to the diet can alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD and help a person with ADHD live a normal life.
For some reason, a lack of omega-3 fats in the diet make ADHD symptoms worse. Adding omega-3 fat to the diet or taking supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD. In fact, several studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the symptoms of ADHD by about 40 percent. The recommended dose is between 1000 and 2500 mg per day.
For some reason, children and adults with ADHD are often low in zinc. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of impulsivity in children with ADHD. The recommended dose is about 20 mg per day.
Iron is a vital nutrient for all, but many individuals with ADHD are low in iron and prone to iron-deficient anemia. One study from 2008 found that supplementing with iron improved ADHD symptoms within 12 weeks.
Quality Many children with ADHD have trouble sleeping. They may resist bedtime, wake often in the night, or sleep long in the morning. Adding more magnesium to the diet can reduce feelings of restlessness and improve sleep quality.
Vitamin C is essential for getting dopamine where it needs to go. Most ADHD medication boosts dopamine levels in the brain. By adding more vitamin C to the diet, you are encouraging a similar process that has a lower chance of side effects.
Individuals who lack protein in their diet often report being more distractible and having trouble focusing. Simply adding more protein to the diet can help alleviate some of these symptoms of distraction.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the production of serotonin, dopamine, adn norepinephrine. One study even found that adding more vitamin B6 to the diet was as effective as medication with Ritalin. Vitamin B6 can be toxic in large doses, so make sure you aren't supplementing with too much of the vitamin at a time.
This amino acid helps the cells in the body produce energy. A study of boys with ADHD found that when they supplemented with L-carnitine, 54 percent of the boys showed reduced symptoms in just a few weeks. Supplementing with L-carnitine can be dangerous, so consult with a doctor before offering it to a child. L-carnitine may also interact with some medications.
Some herbs have been found to have positive effects on ADHD. Herbs biggest benefit is to strengthen and tone the body's systems. Herbs can be taken in powder, capsule, extract, tincture, or tea form.
Roman chamomile is a simple calming agent that may have positive effects for individuals with ADHD. Try drinking chamomile tea before bed to calm the mind and eliminate restless thoughts before drifting off to sleep.
Valerian has been linked in some studies with reducing anxiety and stress. Valerian may help reduce the effects of coming off stimulant medication and promote a feeling of relaxation and calm in children and adults with ADHD.
Ginkgo biloba has been linked in some studies to improved memory, reduced impulsiveness, and distractibility. Ginkgo may help improve the symptoms of ADHD in some children and adults.
Taking ginseng in combination with ginkgo biloba was shown to improve ADHD symptoms more than taking either of the herbs alone. The mixture helped relieve some of the behavior and concentration problems associated with ADHD.
Lemon balm promotes a feeling of calm and relieves anxiety by inhibiting GABA. The herb is often used to relieve stress and improve concentration. Lemon balm is a common additive to ADHD supplements.
Passionflower extract can reduce insomnia and improve digestion. The biggest benefit of passionflower for ADHD, however, is to improve poor sleep quality and help set a normal schedule.
ADHD affects millions of adults and children. Although it was originally just thought of as a kids' disorder that adults grow out of, we now know that many adults suffer with ADHD symptoms in silence. While many adults and children with ADHD take the medical treatment route, other individuals with ADHD prefer a more natural route. Studies have found that nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be an effective way to treat ADHD symptoms.
The easiest way to treat ADHD naturally is to start taking supplemental formulas that contain the ingredients that individuals with ADHD are often lacking. Combined with therapy, natural treatments can provide a viable treatment option for ADHD when medication is not desired or is not able to be used in a person with ADHD.
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Listol helps increase concentration and focus in kids and adults.