Millions of American children are prescribed ADHD medications every year. ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall are classified as schedule II drugs, in the same class as cocaine and morphine. The DEA also states that Ritalin is addictive.
Common side effects associated with Ritalin use include: insomnia, loss of appetite, suppressed growth, tics, headache, loss of personality, and mood swings. Severe side effects include aggression, convulsions, depression, and suicidal thoughts. A scary side effect of Ritalin use is priapism (severe erection dysfunction). A family friend's 7 year old son had to be rushed to the hospital with this condition which started out of the blue. His parents subsequently took him off of Ritalin. According to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology long term use of Ritalin has also been associated with severe brain injury, a possible result of growth suppression in young children. Often, the doses need to be increased yearly as the drugs "effectiveness" wears off. Ritalin use also increases the risk of being described an antidepressant.
There are natural alternatives to ADHD medications that can help you avoid these adverse side effects. Long-term safety should be the top priority when it comes to the health of our children.
Natural Alternatives to Ritalin and Adderall
1) DIET: What to Eat
Stone ground bread made with ancient grains. Stone ground bread helps control blood sugar levels which is critical for hyperactivity control. (Stone ground bread available here)
Lots of protein: red meat contains loads of amino acids (avoid fish). Tip: meatballs cooked in water or plain hamburgers are easy to prepare and healthy. Red meat can be consumed daily until symptoms improve.
lots of green veggies (including at least 1-2 bowl of lettuce per day)
What Not To Eat
sugar (including beet sugar and cane sugar), consumption of white or brown sugar causes a blood sugar roller coaster in the body.
trans fats. (no potato chips, french fries, or any deep fried foods)
Don't cook with canola or vegetable oils, (replace with extra virging coconut oil or extra virgin cold pressed olive oil (should be a green color)
2) CBD Oil - helps balance neurotransmitters (available here). CBD oil from hemp contains less that .3% THC. It does not produce a high. CBD has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety in those suffering from conditions such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. CBD has been shown to reduce depression by enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling (both are lacking in those with depression). High Quality CBD Oil Available here.
4) Fermented Sea Tangle: A traditional Korean remedy used for hundreds of years, FST is a natural source of GABA. Sea Tangle is a sea plant. When fermented it contain high levels of GABA. GABA can help moderate neural activity and increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Higher levels of serotonin can reduce stress and anxiety. Supplementing GABA can also reduce irritability, aggression and other behavioral problems associated with ADHD like hyperactivity and impulse control. Available here.
3) Coffee. Coffee is a safe stimulant. It helps improve focus and attention. As a young child I consumed at least 4 cups of coffee daily (I drank it weak). The effects of coffee wear off so you would have to drink it 2-3 times per day in the morning and afternoon. Make sure to sweeten the coffee with maple syrup or raw honey, avoid sugar.
Read this interesting article to see how this mother replaced Ritalin with coffee.
5) Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are renowned for their ability to lower inflammation. But they also ensure optimal neurological function. They keep our minds sharp, boosting concentration and and help the brains develop normally. Try to find the cleanest source of omega 3 fatty acids because most fish oils are contaminated with heavy metals (which is why i stopped eating fish entirely a few years ago). Some Dr's recommend starting with an omega 3 fish oil for 18 days and then switching to a plant source like high lingan flax seed oil.
Great Articles about ADHD and Ritalin Alternatives