Nondrug Options for ADHD

Updated: May 15, 2019
Boy, Meditation, Yoga
Table of contents

Biofeedback; allergy treatment; vision therapy


In biofeedback therapy, children with ADHD wear electrodes on their head and learn to control video games by exercising the parts of the brain related to attention and focus. Research to date suggests not only that children enjoy this therapy; it actually works as well as medication. Clinical studies published in the Journal of Neurotherapy have revealed that as many as 86 percent of ADHD subjects show improvement in attention, impulse control, and information processing speed after such sessions, as well as a reduction in problems associated with ADHD such as seizures, nightmares, bed-wetting, and depression.

Allergy Treatment

Food allergies and environmental allergies can cause abnormal learning patterns and symptoms in children. If you suspect that your child may have an allergy, testing or an elimination diet may be in order. Since cow's milk is often the culprit in kids' allergies, try removing all milk products for at least a month and watch for signs of improvement. Other suspect foods are wheat, corn, soy, eggs, citrus, and peanuts.

Environmental problems such as molds, dust, chemicals used for cleaning, perfumes, pesticides, and other toxins can also cause children to develop allergies and display behaviors associated with the ADD/ADHD label. Make sure that your home and your child's school are not "environmentally sick."

Vision Therapy

This treatment is based on the theory that faulty eye movement and sensitivities cause behavioral problems. The goal of vision therapy is to train the patient's brain to use the eyes to receive information effectively, comprehend it quickly, and react appropriately. Individualized therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain's ability to control eye alignment, eye movements, focusing abilities, and eye teamwork (binocular vision).

In a study at Northeastern State University's College of Optometry, 62 children completed a course of optometric in-office vision therapy. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development Quality of Life checklist (COVD-QOL) was used to collect symptoms data before and after the therapy, and analysis of the data found that the mean total scores, as well as each individual item score on the COVD-QOL, were significantly better on post-test than on pre-test.