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Alternative treatments for ADHD

ADHD is often treated with stimulant drugs and various forms of behavioural therapy. However, in some cases, patients opt for treatments that are different to the regular ones offered. These are alternative treatments for ADHD.

Currently, there are a few alternative treatments that are offered for patients with ADHD. These include -

  • Dietary modifications
  • Neurofeedback
  • Interactive metronome training
  • Chiropractic care

Here we take a look at this in a bit more detail.

Dietary modifications

There is constant controversy regarding whether or not sugary foods can increase degrees of hyperactivity in children. The understanding is that simple sugars that are present in sweets and chocolates are rapidly absorbed and result in an adrenaline surge that results in this hyperactivity. However, regular consumption of sugary foods is not linked to the development of ADHD.

Another concept in that has arisen in ADHD management is one of ‘avoidance’. This is often called the Feingold diet, and involves avoiding diets that include artificial colours and flavours. Once again, this concept has stirred up controversy as the link to diet is not strongly established, with many believing that the improvement in overall behaviour is mostly due to behavioural therapy. Furthermore, care needs to be taken before adopting this type of diet, as it can deny children essential nutrients as well.


This speciality treatment is based around the presence of certain kinds of brainwaves that are involved in specific times during sleep. It is believed that patients with ADHD have an excess of certain kinds of brain waves called theta waves, and suppressing this can help treat ADHD. The underlying concept revolves around increasing the patient’s arousal level. The process requires monitoring, and over time it is possible to train the patient to maintain that state. However, research findings are still in preliminary stages.

Interactive metronome treatment

A metronome is often utilised in making music, and involves a timely beat that the patient taps their foot or hand with to simultaneously. It is based on the understanding that ADHD can be related to a degree of distortion in timing and planning of motor activity. Studies have shown that patients show longer attention spans and better motor control.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractics involve a series of spinal manoeuvres that improve blood circulation and nerve supply. There is no strong evidence supporting their use, though it is believed that chiropractic manipulations can later muscle tone that eventually improves brain function. The role of chiropractics has been met with much scepticism from the medical world.

Alternative treatments are sometimes sought after by patients who have children with ADHD or those who suffer from ADHD. Some are effective, though not necessarily backed by clinical studies.

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