• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology

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By reading this site, the reader acknowledges their personal responsibility in choices for mental health for themselves and their children, and agrees that the AYCNP or anyone associated with this site, bears no responsibility for one's personal decisions in choices for mental health. Anyone coming off medication should do so gradually rather than abruptly, and under a doctor's supervision. Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should seek support.

ADHD book Radio Broadcast - Wellness Dialogues - Alternative approaches to ADHD Treatment ("Follow" to play)- off-site ---- Best ADHD books list

Pages Related to ADHD Help

ADHD and Preschool

Children and the Media - Effects

Children's Mental Health - Sharna Olfman

ADHD Drug Treatment Effects, Side Effects

ADHD and Facial Motor Tics

ADHD research - Peer Rejection, Social Relationships and ADHD Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and Hostility

ADHD References for ADHD pages

Art for ADHD - Art helps many with ADHD

Facts about Ritalin, Cocaine

ADHD Self Help (off-site)

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers, by the AYCNP

How parents and educators can help children to overcome ADHD and childhood depression, naturally. Lifestyle changes, educational efforts can be very effective. Many professional and other resources listed. Extensive bibliography and index.

"With a lot of thought and understanding of concern, "Overcoming ADHD without Medication" is an excellent read that should very much be considered by concerned parents." ---Midwest Book Review


Superar el Trastorno por Déficit de Atención con Hiperactividad (TDAH) Sin Medicación: Guía para Padres y Educadores (Spanish Edition)

Superando el Trastorno por Deficit de Atnencion con Hiperactividad (TDAH) Sin Medicacion - Capitulo 1

Overcoming ADHD: Helping Your Child Become Calm, Engaged, and Focused--Without a Pill. (Merloyd Lawrence Books), by Stanley I. Greenspan

...ADHD is not a single problem, but rather a set of common symptoms that arise from several different sensory, motor, and self-regulation problems. As in his highly successful earlier books and in his practice, Greenspan emphasizes the role of emotion, seeking the root of the condition and rebuilding the foundations of healthy development.

Overcoming ADHD steers away from the pitfalls of labeling, or of simply stamping out symptoms with medication, and demonstrates Greenspan’s abiding belief in the growth and individual potential of each child. (from publisher)

Please Don't Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child's Emotional Health, by Scott M. Shannon, M.D., Emily Heckman

Why labeling and drugging is not the best way to address children's mental health disorders.

ADHD Without Drugs - A Guide to the Natural Care of Children with ADHD ~ By One of America's Leading Integrative Pediatricians, by Sanford Newmark MD

Newmark offers an integrative and holistic method that results in reduced use of stimulant medications or elimination of stimulant medications, while providing guidance in areas of diet, sleep, nutrition and other natural ways to address symptoms associated with ADHD. The advice offered in this book stems from Newmark's own successes in treating ADHD in his patients.

The Energetic Brain: Understanding and Managing ADHD, Cecil R. Reynolds, Kimberly J. Vannest, Judith R. Harrison, Sally E. Shaywitz

Myths on ADHD are corrected, with attention to practical ways to manage ADHD symptoms without drugs. The book is authored by two professors at Texas A&M University, Cecil R. Reynolds, Ph.D., emeritus professor of Educational Psychology, Professor of Neuroscience, and Distinguished Research Scholar; Kimberly J. Vannest, Ph.D., an associate professor in Educational Psychology and Special Education at Texas A&M University.

ADD/ADHD Drug Free: Natural Alternatives and Practical Exercises to Help Your Child Focus , by Frank Jacobelli

Medications such as Ritalin and Cylert are prescribed by the millions to treat ADHD disorders. However, parents are often concerned about potential serious side effects. "ADD/ADHD Drug Free" provides non-drug alternatives for parents. The book is also of value for teachers and counselors.

Brain Exercises to Cure ADHD, by Amnon Gimpel, M.D.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a thinking disorder, not a behavioral one. And it can be cured without the use of Ritalin or other medications. So maintains renowned psychiatrist/neurologist Dr. Amnon Gimpel, whose has developed targeted mental and physical exercises that stimulate development in precisely those areas of the ADHD brain where growth is deficient.

Sharing Nature with Children, 20th Anniversary Edition Joseph Bharat Corn

Time with nature has been proven in clinical studies, to help children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), to control and improve in their symptoms. Take your child with ADHD symptoms to the park regularly and on day trips to enjoy nature.

Knowing Where to Draw the Line: Ethical and Legal Standards for Best Classroom Practice, by Mary Ann Manos

The ADD & ADHD Answer Book: Professional Answers to 275 of the Top Questions Parents Ask, by Susan Ashley

Some of the questions answered in this book are:
Are ADD and ADHD real disorders?
Is ADHD over-diagnosed?
Doesn't every child have symptoms of ADHD?
How can it be ADHD when he can play video games for hours?
Is there a difference between boys and girls who have ADHD?
Is ADHD caused by something in the brain? What can family therapy do to help?
What can social skills group therapy do to help?
What can individual therapy do to help?
What treatments do not work?

AD/HD SUCCESS! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method
for Ages 7-17
, by Kerin Bellak-Adams

Practical method for working with children and adolescents who need to overcome some of the challenges that are frequently encountered in those with an AD/HD diagnosis. Based on her extensive experience working with families, Bellak-Adams's proven techniques boost self-esteem while helping children achieve their full potential.

Rethinking ADHD, by Ruth Schmidt Neven, Vicki Anderson, Tim Godber

Well written book by British/Australian therapists providing valuable insight into the causes and remedies of ADHD.

What Causes ADHD?, by Joel Nigg, PhD, Michigan State University

Interesting book, where the causes of ADHD are scientifically evaluated. Over 100 clinical studies are considered. Facts as well as reasonable hypotheses on the possible causes of ADHD.

Fidget to Focus: Outwit Your Boredom: Sensory Strategies for Living with ADD ,
by Roland Rotz, Sarah D. Wright

"Full of tips and strategies collected over years of shared experiences, Fidget to Focus is a gold mine of information and sometimes surprising, sometimes heart-warming stories about how to stay focused and on track..." —Thom Hartmann, author of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception.

The ADHD Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Gain Motivation and Confidence (Instant Help Book for Teens),
by Lara Honos-Webb

Some teens can find it difficult to pay attention and sit still, especially in school. This book teaches simple skills that can help teens to handle school, improve in social skills, organize and finish projects. Practicality at its best!

"Teach skills not pills!" AYCNP

The Neurofeedback Solution: How to Treat Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Brain Injury, Stroke, PTSD, and More, by Stephen Larsen

A guide to neurofeedback for better physical and mental health as well as greater emotional balance, cognitive agility, and creativity.

Your Life Can Be Better, Using strategies for adult ADD/ADHD, by Douglas A. Puryear

Interesting book on a serious topic, something that affects, perhaps, millions.

Photo: Jeff Johnstone. U.S. Government public domain photo

Page updated: September 3, 2014

Help Facts for ADHD

  • Who is affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
  • Is medication always necessary?
  • What causes ADHD?
  • Can ADHD be prevented?
  • What are natural treatments that can help children and/or adults overcome or manage ADHD?

Who is Affected with ADHD?

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) (2014), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a neuro-behavioral disorder commonly found in children. Although ADHD is known as a disorder that  primarily affects children, it can also occur in adults, and adult ADHD has received much publicity over the past decade.

ADHD is more common in boys than girls. Approximately 6% of children (around 2.5 million children) in the United States  have been diagnosed with ADHD. In addition, the ADHD diagnosis is not limited to the U.S., and children from other countries are diagnosed with ADHD – in fact the prevalence of ADHD in many foreign countries is similar to the prevalence in the United States.

One-on-one attention in school and at home can reduce ADHD symptoms in children and be stabilizing.

Also see:

--Drugs for ADHD
--ADHD, Preschool and Kindergarten
--ADHD - social rejection, peer relationships, hostility and aggression.
Effects of drug treatment for ADHD. 2008 Clinical study.

The most common symptoms associated with ADHD are:

  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Impulsivity
  • Inability to Focus
  • Restlessness
  • Inattention
  • Agitation

Left - with ADHD; right - without ADHD.

Psychiatric Labeling and ADHD – Does a person "have" ADHD? Does ADHD define that person? Should symptoms associated with ADHD always be labeled as ADHD?

Many mental health professionals are opposed to the use of psychiatric labeling during the diagnosis stage. Child psychiatrist Dr. Scott Shannon, who treats ADHD in children, states that he often has better success avoiding labeling the child, focusing on remedying the issues and symptoms the child.

Shannon states that sometimes the issues that contribute to the symptoms of ADHD are social in nature, rather than purely physical, and that by working with the family, he is able to resolve some of the factors that contribute to the child’s symptoms. This is not to say that the cause of ADHD in all children is the result of social issues, but that in a subset of those who end up being diagnosed with ADHD, this is the case.

Further, many ADHD symptoms can be reduced or eliminated through lifestyle changes such as: a healthy diet, exercise, giving children one-on-one attention, and effective coping techniques.

Three types of ADHD that have been categorized are:

  • ADHD with impulsivity
  • ADHD without impulsivity
  • Combined type

It is important to note that ADHD can exist with or without impulsivity. ADHD without impulsivity is often referred to as ADHD-IA or Inattentive type. (Nigg, 2006). Many of the symptoms of ADHD are very similar to bipolar disorder symptoms. Also, parents and educators should understand that psychiatric labeling, in which a child or adult is labeled with a mental health disorder, is often a subjective, rather than a scientific process; in other words, it is based on the opinion or “hunch” of the treating physician. In this context, then, a tendency to over-diagnosis the disorder in children leads to medicating children who would do better with less invasive treatment.

The practice of basing a medical diagnosis based on subjective speculation is especially common in the field of psychiatry, more so than in any other branch of medicine. In addition, parents and educators should be aware that professional opinions vary when it comes to ADHD diagnosis and treatments.

A similar situation is apparent in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of bipolar disorder. According to a study led by Dr. Mark Zimmerman, an associate professor of psychiatry and researcher at Rhode Island University, bipolar disorder is often overdiagnosed at the rate of more than 50%; that is, more than 50% of bipolar disorder diagnoses do not meet the criteria for bipolar disorder when a scientific evaluation is used rather than standard diagnosis, which is often subjective.

Sociodynamics & ADHD

Children who grow up in single-parent homes and fall in the lower economic brackets are more likely to be labeled with a mental health disorder and prescribed medications than those who grow up in two-parent homes and fall in the middle-to-upper economic brackets. Why is that? Social factors affect the psychology of a child.

A divorce or death leads to the absence of a parent, which can be very traumatic for a child. Also, an absent parent can create a void  when it comes to child care and parenting responsibilities. In single-parent homes, the parent is often the sole provider, and might not have the time or energy that would like to have care for the emotional needs of the child, or to personally supervise the child. In many single-parent, low-income families, the one parent may have to work two or more jobs just to “make ends meet.”

If the parent is not careful, he or she may end up with a babysitter who uses television as a babysitting tool, which may further aggravate the child's inattention and/or behavioral problems. The single parent takes on the role of both mom and dad in addition to working long hours just to pay the bills. The pressure not only leaves the single-parent with less energy, it also may make it more difficult to be an active, attentive, hands-on parent.

Unfavorable socio-dynamics can cause a child to be inattentive, unstable or disruptive in the classroom. Some children may misbehave because they have been conditioned to behave in that manner. In other words, many “bad” behaviors are “learned behaviors.” These children learn early that if they behave in a certain manner, it will help them get the attention (i.e. good or bad) that they crave.

One public school child asserted that he misbehaved in the classroom in order to get attention. He was fatherless and his mother was "out of the picture,” being raised by his grandparents whose energy was limited. He would rather “get in trouble” at home and in school than be ignored, dismissed or overlooked, and did whatever he could to get the attention that he desired.

Often, children such as this end up on psychiatric drugs,w hen in reality; the real problem is in unfulfilled emotional needs. It is important to remember that most, if not all, single parents face a variety of challenges. For instance, a school counselor, psychologist, teacher and/or nurse may try to pressure a single-parent to give his or her child  psychiatric medications. The pressure, in turn, can make parenting more complicated rather than solve the problem. The pressure from the medical and educational systems to conform can increase the burden a single-parent already feels, thus worsening the problem instead of alleviating it.

Also, parents who fall into the middle and upper income brackets, tend to be more educated and may be more assertive, "fight for the rights" of their child, request a second opinion, and be more apt to disagree with the school administration. Less educated parents and immigrants (those who speak little-to-no English), especially illegal immigrants, may be more compliant, and more likely to accept diagnosis and treatment subserviently.

Single mothers may also more likely accept  the guidance or direction of authority figures such as doctors, lawyers, mental health professionals, nurses, school administration than mothers who are married to their children’s father. This may account for the higher percentages of children from single-parent families who take prescribed medications for ADHD.

On the other side of the coin, for well-educated individuals or upper income parents who have health insurance, medical services may be more accessible, and for those who are content with status quo treatment, or who are already accustomed to relying on psychiatric drugs, drug treatment of ADHD, as a first-line treatment in their difficult child may also come as a matter of course. ADHD diagnosis and treatment is not limited to any social strata, but simply has a higher rate in single-parent homes.

ADHD & Diet

Adjusting a child’s lifestyle (i.e. improving his or her diet and incorporating exercise into his or her daily routine) can help reduce symptoms of ADHD. A CHADD representative in a telephone interview with the AYCNP quoted sources that indicate at least a 5% correlation between diet and ADHD symptoms, noting that diet does not “cause” ADHD, but can be a contributing factor and aggravate symptoms.  

Good nutrition (i.e. reducing sugar intake), along with regular outdoor activities can serve to reduce symptoms of ADHD. Good prenatal care for pregnant women as well as nursing a baby, are preventive measures for future ADHD diagnosis, and can result in improved concentration for the infant or child , at home and later in school. Pregnant women should visit an obstetrician  on a regular basis. Furthermore, alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs (if possible) should be avoided during pregnancy.

High-sugar breakfasts are common in school, but they can be detrimental for children with ADHD and contribute to inattention. Large amounts of sugar can actually increase ADHD symptoms.

For example, a child recently stated that her daily school breakfast consists of Pop Tarts and apple juice. The little girl stated that every morning, after eating breakfast, she felt dizzy and hyper. Why? Sugary breakfasts like: Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Pop Tarts and muffins with a high sugar content, common staples in many public school breakfasts , contain copious amounts of sugar, which is a “no-no” for children with ADHD. Commendably, some individual schools and some school systems are making efforts to improve the quality of breakfasts served to grade school children.

Sugary breakfast can affect a child’s concentration and focus and increase hyperactivity, regardless of whether the child has ADHD or not. High sugar and fat breakfasts can also negatively affect a child’s long-term health and increase his or her risk of diabetes.

Proper nutrition, by contrast, can positively affect a child’s mood, increase his or her attention span, and decrease his or her impulsivity. A diet for ADHD that is low in refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (McNuff, 2005), with attention to balanced nutrition, and especially for children, three nutritious meals a day (so many girls skip breakfast and sometimes breakfast and lunch), along with healthy snacks, can help children and teens have more mental strength and focus.

ADHD & Media: Television, Video Games & Movies

There appears to be a connection between ADHD symptoms and the media (i.e. television , video games and movies) . A 1994 study indicated that for every additional hour that young children watched television, the likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD increased by 18%. (Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe & McCarty, 2004).

Children's minds can become over-stimulated after watching television, playing stimulating, aggressive or violent video games and/or watching action, violent or horror movies for many hours. Some children are also exposed to pornography or soft-porn  on a regular basis.

Some teachers have  observed children, as young as 5 and 6 years old, act out pornographic or violent scenes from television shows and movies. Violent, sexual and aggressive television and movies can contribute to hyperactivity, or in some children, inattentiveness.

In addition, this type of programming can trigger or worsen mental illnesses for some children. Not all children who are exposed to violence and sex in the media have obvious psychological detriment. However, it can be one factor for children, along with other possible factors, including genetic predisposition, that contributes to ADHD symptoms in children. For some children, overexposure to the media can be the factor that most contributes to symptoms of ADHD.

It is important to note that children who have been sexually abused are often misdiagnosed as with ADHD (Olfman, 2008). When undesirable behaviors are due to child abuse, medications are not a solution for the emotional wounds of child abuse and can compound the issues rather than solve problems. Therapy and a loving support system are the best treatments for children who have been abused and/or neglected.

Children and teens who have unlimited access to unsupervised internet and television, may be over-stimulating by music videos, concerts, and/or sexual imagery from these on a regular basis. These can also contribute to children becoming destabilized and to exhibit symptoms associated with ADHD and/or other mental health disorders. The media can also contribute to mental over-stimulation, especially in females, who have a tendency to internalize the images they see, and contribute to a corresponding low which manifests itself in depression, or in the symptoms of ADHD-IA (inattentive type).

Boys, on the other hand, tend to develop an inability to focus, impulsivity and symptoms typically associated with ADHD including hyperactivity. Reducing the child’s media time can help reduce his or her ADHD symptoms. A good way to reduce ADHD symptoms is to replace the child’s television time with more positive recreational  activities such as outdoor activities, art, or hands-on music in the form of music lessons.

Some children play video games two to six hours a day. Medical professionals, on the other hand, encourage limiting a child’s total media exposure to one hour a day for grade school age children, and a maximum two hours a day for older children; infants from two years of age or under, should not be exposed to television at all, according to guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children & Media Violence

Violence affects children's mental health. Many children have regular access to violent television and movies. Studies have shown that violent and scary movies can negatively affect children’s emotional and social development. It can also lead to impulsivity and inattention at school. Parents need to be aware of these possible effects so that they can better monitor and direct what their children watch on television.

For some sensitive children, exposure to "dark" influences, magic, forms of spiritualism and/or occultism, common in many popular books, movies and television, can contribute to a lack of attention, focus and concentration. Some may say, “I watched violent and scary movies when I was young and never developed adverse symptoms.” This may be true. However, while some who smoke develop cancer, not all do, and the majority who smoke for the greater part of their lives never develop cancer or emphysema, it just increases the risk.

The same can be said about potential negative influences on children. Not all children will be affected the same, but a combination of factors combined with genetic predisposition, can lead to psychiatric problems, either for the child, or contribute to psychiatric issues as a teen or adult. It is one of many potential risk factors.

Misdiagnosis & Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders have also been mistaken for ADHD. When issues affecting sleep are addressed, the symptoms misdiagnosed as ADHD are diminished.

Most children suffering with sleep disorders or insomnia can be helped without the use of medication. Stimulant medication, conversely, used in treating ADHD, can contribute to sleep disorders. Some medical model oriented psychiatrists counteract the tendency of stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), by prescribing tranquilizing drugs to help the child to sleep at night. One can easily see how this might create a potential chemical-biological hazard with reliance on stimulants by day and tranquilizing drugs at night, especially for a child or teen.

Parents, take the television, computer and video game console out of a child’s or teen’s bedroom; this can reduce or alleviate many ADHD symptoms, especially those due to loss of sleep. Do not allow children with ADHD to consume sugary beverages (or eat heavy meals) shortly before bed.

In addition, make sure your children stay away from anything containing caffeine such as: soda, coffee, chocolate and tea at least two hours before bedtime. Moreover, cut off access to stimulating television or movies, at least two hours before bedtime. Run a relaxing bath for your children at night, encourage them to exercise daily or provide time at the park for them, read to your young child before they go to bed. Teens also can be encouraged to read before they go to bed rather than watch television or play video games.

A child needs to feel safe and secure. He or she must also have privacy in order to sleep soundly. By creating a safe, secure, clean and orderly, quiet haven for the child, their ability to sleep at night will improve, and this can help to reduce ADHD symptoms.

Music, ADHD & Mental Health

For most teenagers and a large percentage of children, music is a very powerful influence. Balancing the amount of time a child  spends listening to music and positively influencing the type of music he or she listens to  can help reduce or alleviate many ADHD symptoms for some children and teens.

For instance, a 12 year-old girl was diagnosed with mild Asperger's Syndrome and bipolar disorder by members of her school psychiatric team. Later, she spent a short time in a psychiatric hospital where it was determined that she had neither Asperger's or bipolar disorder. Another mental health professional concluded that she had ADHD. Still another, at a later date, diagnosed her with schizoeffective disorder, then, finally, post-traumatic stress syndrome. Each new doctor and treatment team had a different diagnosis.

For the time period she was diagnosed with Asperger's and bipolar disorder, she had unnecessarily been prescribed Seroquel for an extended period of time, which, of course, is would be considered an in appropriate treatment for ADHD. It is important to note that a variety of factors played a role in the girl's condition; one of the factors that was affecting her behavior and mood was hours upon hours a day listening to music on her iPod, sometimes late at night.  Like many girls her age , she reported that she listened to her iPod at least four to five hours a day. The music she listened to was intense, often highly-emotional pop, rock, hard rock, and hip-hop. She also spent long hours on the Internet. The time she spent listening to music and watching music videos alone on the Internet made her feel anxious, agitated and unfocused.

Media-induced social isolation contributed to this patient’s experience with over-stimulation, social regression, and mental health issues. This is not an isolated case, but children and teens who spend and inordinate amount of time listening to music have a greater propensity towards mental health disorders such as depression, which is often comorbid with ADHD in children and teens. See Music and Major Depression in Children.

Did the four or five hours of intense music, at home and in school during breaks and recess, contribute to this teen's problems with inattention?  Quiet possibly!

There are a variety of psychological techniques and non-medical treatments for children and teens diagnosed with ADHD. Mentoring, tutoring, art, as well as some restrictions on the time spent listening to music, have a positive affect on symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD Treatments, Positive Therapy & Practical Suggestions

From David Rabiner, Ph.D., Duke University, research scientist and ADHD expert:

Regarding medication for ADHD: “not all children benefit from taking it, some experience intolerable side-effects and many continue to struggle even when medication provides some benefit. Behavior therapy can be difficult for parents and teachers to consistently implement and although it often helps, it does not eliminate a child's behavioral problems. Furthermore, neither treatment yields positive changes that persist once the treatment is discontinued. Finally, despite numerous studies documenting the short- and intermediate-term benefits of these treatments, evidence of their impact on children's long-term success is less evident.”

ADHD Treatments & Working Memory Training

"One relatively recent development in the realm of ADHD treatments is working memory training. Working memory (WM) refers to the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind for subsequent use and is critically important for a variety of learning activities. For example, when a child is asked questions about a story he has read, working memory allows the child to retain and review the story information in mind to answer the questions. In doing mental math, working memory is used to hold the digits in mind and manipulate them, e.g., add or subtract, to generate the answer." ( David Rabiner, Ph.D: Attention Research Update)

Dr. Rabiner provides an unbiased analysis of ADHD treatments in the Attention Research Update. He neither supports nor negates the use of medication to treat ADHD. Rather, Dr. Rabiner analyzes various treatment options in light of available scientific evidence and the newest clinical studies on the effects of ADHD. His newsletter, Attention Research Update, is insightful and recommended.

Comparing Drug and Natural ADHD Treatments

The most common treatment for ADHD  is medication in the form of stimulant drugs . Drug treatment for ADHD began to gain momentum in the 1970s; prior to this, the use of medication to treat ADHD was much less common. According to current statistics, up to 10% of children take psychotropic or psychiatric medications for ADHD (Nigg, 2006). Clinical psychologist Susan Ashley reports that up to 80% of children who are diagnosed with ADHD will, at some point, take stimulant drugs for the condition.

However, parents should consider many other non-drug interventions that can effectively help reduce, alleviate or eliminate ADHD symptoms. It is important to reassert that not everyone agrees with psychiatric labeling. Why? Because it automatically classifies children as having ADHD when there are different ways of interpreting symptoms, especially in children and teens. (Eide & Eide 2006).

According to David Rabiner, Ph.D., researcher from Duke University, approximately 90% of children who go on drug treatment for ADHD will experience serious side-effects. These side- effects may gradually dissipate, but approximately 50% of those diagnosed with ADHD will still experience serious side- effects six months after starting drug treatments, with 10% will still experiencing serious side-effects two years after starting drug treatment.

Rabiner concludes that medications only temporarily alleviate or reduce ADHD symptoms.  In fact, for most, these medications are rendered ineffective after two years.

Additionally, Dr. Rabiner indicates that a significant percentage of children will experience personality changes (i.e. hostility, aggression, and pronounced difficulty with interpersonal relationships), partly as a result of taking stimulant medications.

Positive Non-Pharmaceutical Ways To Effectively Manage ADHD
Natural remedies - without medication or supplements

According to William Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., and Gregory Fabiano, Ph.D., of the State University of New York at Buffalo, recommend two psycho-social treatments:

  • Behavioral Parent-Training
  • Behavioral Classroom Management

Recent studies indicate that “behavioral modification” therapy is an effective intervention for children with ADHD, at the same or better rate both in the short term and especially in the long-term, than is drug therapy. For those who continue to use stimulant drugs for ADHD treatment in children or teens, behavioral modification therapy can result in a lower dosage requirement of the medication.

Pelham and Fabiano state that behavioral parent-training and behavioral classroom management are "well established" for treating ADHD in children and adolescents.

Pelham & Fabiano recommend the Summer Treatment Program (STP) for children with ADHD. This camp provides children with more hours of attention than typical psychotherapy, and also helps children gain   skills in positive peer relationships. Parents can consider other similar therapeutic summer camps for their children who has been diagnosed with ADHD.

We should note that these treatment options do not necessitate the use of medication.
See: NIMH Website - (Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth. April 15, 2008).

Positive Attitude & Positive Teaching Methods

Ideas for the Classroom  for children with ADHD symptoms and those with behavioral problems at school.

· Children are most often first diagnosed with ADHD at school.
· Boys with ADHD outnumber girls, 2 to 1.
· Up to 10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD. (Nigg, 2006)

Children with ADHD need positive, interactive classroom instruction. A teacher’s “teaching style” can make a difference for children with ADHD. These children need attentive teachers, preferably, in smaller classroom settings. Moreover, children with ADHD often need one-on-one assistance (Rief, S.).

According to Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) (2006), a recent study found that certain learning approaches can directly affect the academic success of college students with ADHD and/or other Learning Disabilities (LD).

Students, who demonstrate positive “explanatory skills,” tend to interpret visual images and print materials in a positive way. Moreover, they tend earn higher grades than those with negative attitudes and/or incorrect interpretations . When a student adopts a positive attitude (i.e. "I can fix this problem if I keep trying”), he or she is much more likely  to learn and achieve academic success than a person who adopts a negative or pessimistic attitude (i.e. “I will never pass this test – no matter how much I study”) .

A positive attitude must be encouraged by parents at home. For instance, a parent should stay to his or her child, "You can succeed. You can finish. You can overcome this. "

When a parent or teacher tells a child on a daily basis that he or she will never amount to anything or that he or she is bad or wrong, that child starts to believe that there is something intrinsically wrong with him or her. He or she adopts a negative self-fulfilling prophesy. The child begins to believe what the parent or teacher says is true, which leads to him or her to react as the teacher predicted. A child, teenager or even adult with ADHD needs someone to believe in him or her . These individuals need someone who focuses on their positive traits, who helps them develop self-esteem and build a positive self-image.

Arts Therapy: Art & Self-Esteem

Art is an effective ADHD therapy for children, teens and adults . Art requires concentration and helps exercise or strengthen the mind (as opposed to the rapid-fire imagery of television, action movies, cartoons, superheroes, and television commercials.)

How Art Helps Reduce ADHD Symptoms

Dr. Daniella Barroqueiro is a college professor who has struggled with ADHD herself. She shares her story on how she achieved success despite her ADHD symptoms. She also shares her coping strategies, which include creating artwork.

Dr. Barroqueiro explains that the only time she really feels comfortable is when she is in her art room. She further asserts that art helps reduce ADHD symptoms. For more information, read the article in its entirety here: The Art of Embracing ADHD by Dr. Daniella Barroqueiro.

Self- Esteem

Children with ADHD benefit from healthy self-esteem; some may be bullied or chastised by their peers, which can contribute to self-stigmatization. A young girl with ADHD reported that learning to play the piano helped repair her damaged self-esteem. The girl’s mother stated that she needed to improve her parenting skills, and  that by accepting her daughter as she is and giving her unconditional approval and love, it contributed to a more-positive self-image in her daughter (Timmes, 2005). The mother needed to work hard at keeping such a positive attitude towards her daughter diagnosed with ADHD.


Studies indicate that spending time outdoors, i.e. “Green Therapy and regular exercise can greatly reduce ADHD symptoms in children and teens.

“Green Therapy” for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD

Kuo, F. E. & Taylor, A. F. (2004) A Potential A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Evidence from a national study.
American Journal of Public Health

Frances E. Kuo, Ph.D.,   Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, studied the effects of "green" or “natural settings” in relation to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, across diverse sub-populations of children.

Methods: Parents nationwide rated how effective 49 common indoor after-school and weekend activities  were on the reducing or eliminating ADHD symptoms. The results were then compared to “green activities” (i.e. outdoor settings).

Results: The results indicated that “ green outdoor activities” significantly reduced ADHD symptoms, far more than indoor after-school and weekend activities. These findings were consistent across all ages, genders, income groups, community types, geographic regions and diagnoses.

Conclusions: “ Green outdoor settings” appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children, across a wide range of individual, residential, and case characteristics.

For An All Natural ADHD Treatment: Prescribe Green

Support for Parents - Parental training is of value for many parents. CHADD. (2006). Parenting a child with ADHD. National Resource Center on ADHD.

Tutoring, Coaching & Mentoring
Mentoring, tutoring, and possibly coaching can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Coaching provides excellent support for adults and teens with this condition.

A reading coach, who has worked with hundreds of students with learning disabilities and ADHD, found that even children with the most severe ADHD symptoms have benefited from the support of professionals and dedicated parents. With the love and support of those around them, these children have successfully graduated from high school and college (personal communication with J. McNuff, reading coach, Paterson, NJ, 2005).

Clinical Study - Why ADHD is overdiagnosed?

Coaching, Tutoring and Therapy:

Tutoring, coaching and attending professional therapy sessions can help children with ADHD. Many times these support services negate the need for medications. A professional ADHD coach/tutor can help children or teens to cope with, reduce or alleviate many ADHD symptoms.

If you interested in learning more about coaching programs – contact your local library or contact one of the organizations listed below:

ADD Coach Academy

ADHD Coaches Organization

Institute for Advancement of AD/HD Coaching - IAAC

International Coach Federation - ICF

Nurtured Heart Approach Coaches List

ADHD Coaches
Dennis Carothers

ADHD Coaching Nurtured Heart Approach, Marc Norris - Quebec, English, French - Skpe U.S. and internationally

Pathways to Success - AD/HD and LIFE COACHING
Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Child & Adult References:

1. Christakis, D. A., Zimmerman, F. J., DiGiuseppe, D. L. & McCarty, C. A. ( 2004). Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics, 113 (4). 708-713.

2. Eide, B. & Eide, F. (2006). The mislabeled child. New York: Hyperion.

3. FDA. (2005 ). FDA issues public health advisory on Strattera (Atmoxetine) for attention deficit disorder.FDA Strattera alert.

4. FDA. (2005). Alert for healthcare professionals: Pemoline tablets and chewable tables (Marketed as Cylert). FDA Alert: Liver Injury Risk and Market Withdrawal.

5. NIMH. (2008). Effectiveness of research based psychotherapies for youth. Science Update.

6. Kuo, F. E. & Taylor, A. F. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9) 1580-1586.  

7. Monastra, V. J. ( 2005). Overcoming the barriers to effective treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A neuro-educational approach. Science Direct.

8. Nigg, J. ( 2006). What c auses ADHD? New York: Guilford.

9. Ratey, J. (2006). An update on medications used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder.  

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA).

10. Rief, Sandra, F. (1993). How to Reach and Teach ADD/ADHD Children. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.

11. Rabiner, D. (2006). Medication treatment for ADHD. Attention Research Update.

Rabiner, D. (2006). Interview: Sharper brains.

12. Gardener, A. (2005). Ritalin and c ancer. Health Day Reporter.

13. Rabiner, D. (2012). Encouraging new findings for working memory training. Attention Research Update.

14. Richardson, W. (2005). ADHD and stimulant medication abuse. Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA).

15. Ritalin and Depression. (2007).

16.  Mental Health Weekly. (2004). Ritalin exposure may have long term effects.
Wiley Periodicals Inc.

17. Vastag, B. (n.d.). Pay attention: Ritalin acts much like cocaine. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Excellent scientific information on ADHD can be found at Attention Research Update,
David Rabiner, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Duke University, NC.

Other pages related to ADHD on this site

ADHD & Art - How art helps children and adults with ADHD.

ADHD Research - Peer Rejection, Social Relationships, Hostility and ADHD Methylphenidate (Ritalin).

ADHD Self- Help