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4 Ways to Manage ADHD Without Medication


My sister and her husband choose not to use medication as a way of managing their son’s ADHD. It’s a personal decision which they thought and prayed about for a long time. They’re supportive of others who choose to use medication, but it wasn’t the answer for their own child.

Here are four ways they manage their son’s ADHD without medicine:

1. Fish oil supplements

Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. Omega-3’s are commonly known as “brain foods” because of their ability to boost brain function and reduce the symptoms of brain disorders like depression and ADHD.

The human body doesn’t make these fatty acids on its own!

Even pregnant women are instructed to take prenatal vitamins that contain Omega-3’s because of how drastically they improve brain development in the fetus.

My sister gives her ADHD son fish oil supplements every day (using the correct dosage for his weight and age), and has seen significant improvements in his behavior.

2. Diet changes

Every child with ADHD is different. The areas they struggle in and thrive in are all different, and each of them responds differently to treatment. For my nephew, what he puts into his body makes a huge different in how his body functions.

For example, whenever his diet consists of red or yellow dye, his ADHD symptoms significantly increase.

It’s like flipping a switch with his capabilities.

When he’s on a dye-free diet for a while, however, he’s much more able to integrate into the world around him. He can concentrate a little easier and sit still a little longer.

Throw the dyes back into his diet and he starts struggling again.

His parents also have to be cautious of how much sugar they give him, but he doesn’t have to cut it out of his diet completely. Other children have to eliminate all additives, preservatives, and artificial components of their diet in order to find relief. Everyone is different, but dietary changes can go a long way in managing the disorder.

3. Therapy (Behavioral therapy)

Some people think of “therapy” as lying down on a couch and talking about your problems. A lot of people think it’s only for depression, anxiety, and recuperation from tragedy.

Therapy, however, comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and can be used to help people with a myriad of problems, including ADHD.

For kids with ADHD, behavioral therapy is a great option because it can be incorporated into play time without kids knowing they’re learning.

Sometimes the therapy workers do role-playing games with the kids. Sometimes they spend time encouraging positive behaviors in real-life situations. Sometimes they just let the kids play with other ADHD children. It isn’t so much what they do, but how they do it.

Parents also learn a lot during these therapy sessions. They’re taught how to respond to their ADHD children in positive ways, and they’re given practical, applicable advice about what to do when a problem arises.

4. Probiotics

Did you know that mental health is strongly related to gut health? It’s true!

Think about it. How many times have you gotten nervous and immediately ended up with a stomach ache? How many times have you heard people use the phrase “nervous diarrhea?”

It’s a real thing! There’s a connection between the mind and the stomach, which involves a lot of nerve responses and other fancy biological terms. If you’d like to know the scientific breakdown of it, you can find it here:

Probiotics are full of good bacteria and yeast that help keep your gut functioning the way its supposed to. These supplements are safe for almost everyone (talk to your doctor first) and are a great way to keep stomach problems at bay.

The healthier the gut, the healthier the brain. For ADHD kids, that’s the goal we’re shooting for!

4 Ways to Manage ADHD Without Medication

W. R. Cummings

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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2015). 4 Ways to Manage ADHD Without Medication. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Nov 2015
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