The ADHD child - an alternative to Ritalin

You’re at your wits end, you’ve tried everything and now you are trying anything else at all that might take you and your family out of the ADHD darkness.  Coping with a child that has ADHD can place a strain on your family as every solution you find has a host of side effects or requires a drastic shift in the normal day to day running of your household.

For a year my brother was on Ritalin and so led a seemingly normal existence for that year. He managed to sit still at his desk. There was a lot less looking out of the window and a lot more writing down of words that were on the board. The incessant talking winked into a nod for yes and shake in the negative for no. He was the model pupil at long last.

There was just one small, teeny, tiny, little thing - he also seemed to be in a mild stupor.

Yes we were glad for the well behaved boy we had in our midst, but day by day it began to feel a less like we were medicating him and a lot more like we were drugging him.

The alternative

The first thing we tried was a lower dosage of Ritalin. It worked, but this could only be a temporary measure. You see the bad behavior started to creep in, as well as the day dreaming, the ‘can’t sit still’ running around. It all starts again and your hand begins to itch for a stronger dose. I felt guilty, and I was trying to resist the temptation of an easy prescription fix. I knew the alternative would be a little more difficult to adopt into our lives.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not feel guilty about giving your child Ritalin or other medication for controlling their symptoms of ADD or ADHD. That is not what this article is aiming to do. Ritalin may in fact be the best choice for your family at present. The last thing you need as a struggling parent is to feel criticized. I read a quote from a mother that made all the difference to my opinion on Ritalin, she said "You wouldn't deny your diabetic child insulin?". The choice to medicate your child will depend entirely on your own unique circumstances.

A natural alternative to Ritalin, is more a multi-pronged alternative. You will need to adopt a new diet. Yes the entire family should go on a wholesome natural diet. A set daily schedule for your child should be in place incorporating exercise, read up on behavior modification, watch Supernanny season 1, positive reinforcement, occupational therapy, ensure consistency of house rules, nutritional supplements and get juicing (fruits and vegetables).

Whew that sounds like a long list – and it is. This is a whole living approach and it can be difficult to stick to. Results often can only be seen in 3 to 6 months. It sounds like I’m putting you off, and maybe I am. I would implore you to decide whether you can give this system or a combination of these idea’s along with medicine a go only if have you have done your own thorough research. Six months can seem like a goal on a distancing horizon.
Life after ADHD

My family researched all the components and put ,many of them into action. My brother is now a star pupil without the Ritalin. Some ADHD children will either grow out of it on their own, a few will learn how to cope with their ADHD with a diet and management plan, but for most however the symptom changes with age. Adults with ADHD will appear restless, impatient; have short tempers, mood swings and difficulty concentrating. Adults with ADHD often have career difficulties as they will be restless at work often show poor performance and have difficulty with organization.

Have I convinced you to research and make your own family action plan  yet?

  • Diet - wholesome and natural

  • Set daily schedule

  • Supernanny

  • Positive Reinforcement

  • Occupational therapy

  • Consistent house rules

  • Nutritional supplements

  • Juicing

Over the next few weeks I will be addressing each of these topics individually as it's just too broad to talk about in this single blog post. In the meantime if you have an ADHD child and are looking for an alternative to Ritalin I encourage you to read up on these elements on your own.

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