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Are There Natural Alternatives to Intuniv?
Many caregivers are hesitant to medicate children with ADHD due to side effects and other unknown factors. In some cases, it may be possible to treat ADHD natural without the use of intuniv and other medications. Ask your child's doctor about trying the following natural alternatives to intuniv:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 11 percent of children between the ages of four and 17 have ADHD. Studies have found that children diagnosed with ADHD increase each year. Common symptoms of ADHD are typical of an “average” child, just more extreme.
Children with ADHD are easily bored, easily distracted, difficult to keep on task, unable to follow directions, constantly moving or talking, impatient, have trouble regulating emotions, have trouble keeping still (even for short periods), and may show social developmental delays, such as extreme emotional outbursts past the age when most children show greater emotion control.
Many children with ADHD are treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. However, side effects and the fear of over-medicating make many parents and caregivers hesitate before allowing their children to take medication for ADHD. These parents want to know if there are alternative treatments for ADHD, particularly for common ADHD medications like adderal and intuniv.
It may seem like medication is the only way to go for a child with ADHD, but luckily, there are many natural treatments for ADHD that act as alternatives to common medications like intuniv that provide effective results without side effects.
Intuniv is a form of ADHD medication that is a non-stimulant medication designed to address common factors of ADHD that are outside of the realm of concentration. Medications such as adderal help children focus during school, but do nothing to address the other issues common with ADHD, such as emotional outbursts or feelings of “crawling out of your skin” that many children and adults with ADHD have. Intuniv is also used to address aggression and regulate mood in individuals with ADHD.
Intuniv is not without side effects. However, its side effect rating is lower than some medications for ADHD. A study of over 580 children with ADHD found that only about 7 percent withdrew from the study due to extreme side effects. Side effects commonly affect the nervous system, stomach, heart, mood swings, and respiratory issues. Up to 60 percent of children taking Intuniv had adverse side effects.
According to case studies, Intuniv is highly effective for about 70 percent of patients. If the medication does not see benefits of the medication within a week, it will not help. About 10 percent of patients experience extreme irritability and are advised to stop taking the medication.
Numerous studies have found that a combination of natural, medication, and behavior therapies are the most effective for children with ADHD. However, if a caregiver is diligent about providing children with natural treatments that have been shown to benefit patients with ADHD, the need for medication is further reduced. No matter what treatment is used for ADHD, behavior therapy is necessary. Caregivers should be prepared to work with children with ADHD and therapists to find the best combination of treatments.
Many of the following natural alternatives to intuniv have been shown to be highly effective for children with ADHD. These supplements and lifestyle and diet changes give children the nutrients they need to address some of the hurtles faced by children and adults with ADHD. Many individuals with ADHD are deficient in certain minerals and nutrients, and are greatly helped by adding more of these nutrients to the diet.
According to numerous studies, patients with ADHD typically have lower levels of omega-3 fats in their blood. Scientists are not sure why ADHD patients have low omega-3 levels, but by adding extra omega-3 fats (typically through fish oil supplements), concentration is improved and overall brain function is benefited. The right balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oils) is also important. Ideally, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet should be about 3-1. For many Americans, this number looks closer to 25-1.
Behavior therapy helps children or adults with ADHD learn to manage their differing brain patterns without any diet or medication changes. Therapy helps patients with ADHD learn to regulate emotions, focus, and breathe. Therapy approaches vary, but one common treatment is to have children with ADHD complete tasks in front of a mirror. The mirror shows the child how distracted she becomes and helps to prevent distracting activities.
Many individuals with ADHD have low zinc levels. When zinc levels are improved, many symptoms of ADHD fade. Zinc is important for immune function, neurotransmitter function, and overall brain health.
Some children with ADHD may also be deficient in iron. Symptoms of an iron deficiency can include headaches, weakness, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, ringing in the ears, irritability, learning disabilities, and cognitive impairment. Studies have found that individuals with severe symptoms of ADHD are often low in iron.
Magnesium is important for everyone. It is used in nearly every function of the body, including mood regulation and brain health. Low levels of magnesium trigger irritability, mental confusion, and short attention spans. Supplementing with magnesium could provide benefit to patients with ADHD.
Lemon balm is a calming herb that can help prevent symptoms of irritability, anxiety, and depression that often go along with ADHD in older children. Lemon balm promotes relaxation, calm thoughts, rest, and healing. Lemon balm can be taken in capsule form or added to a nightly drink of tea to promote relaxation and rest.
Gotu kola contains many beneficial nutrients, including B vitamins, which are essential for brain health. Children with ADHD can benefit from a daily supplement of this herb. Ginseng Ginseng is an herb used to improve memory, concentration, and reduce feelings of nervousness and irritability. One study found that when children with ADHD supplemented with red ginseng, the children were less hyperactive and performed better in school.
Both calcium and copper are necessary for brain health. Low levels of these two nutrients are linked with many common side effects of ADHD. Children with ADHD are often low in these two minerals.
Studies have found that GABA is an essential part of the brain that can help prevent cognitive disorders such as ADHD. Using GABA enhancers to treat ADHD can provide benefit to the overall cognitive function of a person with ADHD. A study from 2012 conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University found that individuals with ADHD had much lower GABA levels than study participants without ADHD.
Exercise is crucial for children and adults with ADHD. Exercise boosts positive mood and stimulates brain activity. Exercise also provides children with an outlet for extra energy, helping them to focus and slow down when faced with mental tasks. Daily exercise, particularly in sunlight, is extremely beneficial for children and adults with ADHD.
Massage and other physical therapies can be an effective treatment for ADHD. Children who feel uncomfortable and have sensory issues alongside attention and hyperactivity issues will benefit from massage. Stimulating the skin helps promote focus and relaxation in individuals with ADHD.
Some studies have suggested that certain food additives contribute to symptoms of ADHD. While the link between food additives and ADHD has not been officially proven, studies have found that about 10 percent of children are sensitive to food additives. Some of the worst offenders include:
Some children with ADHD are also sensitive to other foods, such as eggs, dairy, gluten, and other common allergens. An elimination diet can help caregivers determine if food affects a child’s ADHD in any way. Start by eliminating all possible allergens and adding them back in one at a time every two to three weeks. Keep a food diary and note any adverse side effects from various foods.
Children and adults with ADHD do not have to take medication. There are dozens of natural alternatives to intuniv and other ADHD medications that provide help for ADHD without any dangerous side effects. Some children will benefit from a mixture of medication and natural treatment methods. All children and adults with ADHD will benefit from behavior therapy. Whether you are looking for an alternative treatment for ADHD to supplement existing medication, to cut back on medication, or to prevent the need for medication altogether, there are plenty of options to choose from. A child or adult with ADHD can be helped with natural approaches that can provide benefits without any side effects.
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