Homeopathy: An Alternative Treatment for ADHD
   

Homeopathy: An Alternative Treatment for ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder among children. Children with ADHD often seem to be distracted, impulsive, and restless. While ADHD is most commonly associated with children, more than half struggle with this disorder for their entire lives—and find it continually interfering with education, career, family and social life. While effective conventional medicines are available and prescribed more and more, many people prefer to find alternatives to lifelong drug therapy—in part to avoid side effects of medications, which include insomnia, anxiety, and appetite loss. One alternative treatment that deserves a closer look is homeopathy.

Homeopathy, pioneered by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann, is based in part on the idea that "like cures like." The same substance that causes a disease's symptoms to appear in a healthy person is able to cure a person suffering from a disease with the same symptoms. Hahnemann also determined that minute amounts of a substance prove to be the most effective treatments. Homeopathic remedies are considered to be very safe treatments because the concentration of the active ingredient in each dose is so small.

Homeopathic medicine has been shown to be a good alternative for treating ADHD. In a 1997 clinical study, 43 children with ADHD received either placebo or homeopathic treatment for 10 days. Parents and caregivers rated behavior before and after treatment. The study's author found that there was significant symptom improvement in those taking the homeopathic remedies. Furthermore, two months later, follow-up interviews with those who had improved showed continued improvement in 57 percent of the children.

For children with ADHD, homeopathy has been reported to improve attention, grades, ability to complete school work, cooperativeness, self-esteem, and social skills; decrease physical, mental, or emotional problems; and decrease restlessness, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and inappropriate behaviors. Some of the more common remedies for ADHD are Chamomilla, Arsenicum album, and Argentum nitricum. It may take a couple of weeks for the effects of a homeopathic remedy to be seen; once begun, however, improvement generally continues over the following months.

Before you visit a homeopath for ADHD, speak with your physician. Some conventional medical treatments may influence a homeopathic remedy. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a qualified homeopath, but if not, there are many resources available to direct you. Good credentials to look for in a homeopath include certification by the American Board of Homeotherapeutics, the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians, or the Council on Homeopathic Certification (confers a Certification in Classical Homeopathy). These certifications are indicated by the letters following the practitioner's name: D.Ht., D.H.A.N.P., or C.C.H., respectively. Many homeopaths are medical doctors; in most states, homeopaths are required to be licensed healthcare providers. Be sure to consult an experienced homeopath for the correct remedy and potency for you or your child.


References

LeFever G, Dawson K, Morrow A. The extent of drug therapy for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder among children in public schools. Am J Public Health. 1999;89(9):1359-1364.

Reichenberg-Ullman J, Ullman R. Ritalin-Free Kids. Rocklin, CA: Prima, 1996.

Robison L, Sclar D, Skaer T, Galin R. National trends in the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and the prescribing of methylphenidate among school-age children: 1990-1995. Clin Pediatr. 1999;38:209-217.

Shealy, CN. The Complete Family Guide to Alternative Medicine: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc.; 1996.

Wilens T. Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids. New York: Guilford, 1998.


Review Date: September 2000
Reviewed By: Integrative Medicine editorial

Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc

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