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Natural Solutions?

About 15 million Americans have a brain-based disorder known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some natural remedies may ease some symptoms. Others have little effect.

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Proven: Behavioral Therapy

You can work with a therapist or coach to find strategies that work best for you. They may want you to:

  • Create a routine
  • Learn to organize
  • Manage distractions
  • Limit choices
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Create positive opportunities

Your doctor can recommend someone for you to see.

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Proven: Meal Planning

A healthy, balanced diet matters when it comes to helping ADHD. Using fresh, healthy ingredients that are low in fat, sugar, and salt can make your symptoms easier to manage. When you cook at home, you know exactly what’s on your plate.

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Proven: Exercise

Not only is exercise good for your health, but your brain loves it, too. One study showed that 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 days a week for 10 weeks dramatically improved ADHD symptoms. Talk to your doctor before you start.

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Proven, but Be Careful: Caffeine

Caffeine may be an effective treatment for ADHD. Research says it improves your memory and concentration. You probably know that you can find it in things like coffee, soda, and tea. You can also find it in some over-the-counter medicines for things like pain and colds. Keep in mind that a little caffeine goes a long way. Too much caffeine can actually have the opposite effect.

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Depends: Supplements and Vitamins

Omega-3 fatty-acid supplements are good for your heart. But the benefits for your ADHD symptoms are relatively modest. The same goes for zinc, iron, melatonin, and magnesium. Unless you’re already low in those essential elements, you may not see much change.

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Not Enough Information: Herbal Medicines

Studies show that some herbal medicines, like ginseng, ningdong, and bacopa, may help with ADHD symptoms. But more research is needed to find out how much you should take and how they might interact with your meds. Talk with your doctor before you go the herbal route.

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Not Enough Information: Essential Oils

Studies on lavender, vetiver, and rosemary have hinted that some essential oils may help improve sleep and focus -- two things that are crucial to people with ADHD. But more research is needed. Talk with your doctor before using any essential oils.

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Not Enough Information: Biofeedback

This practice can let doctors can see and record your brain waves to compare how active certain parts of your brain are. Because ADHD is a brain-based disorder, it’s possible to use that information to ease symptoms. But not enough research has been done to know for certain that biofeedback helps. Talk with your doctor about it.

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Not Enough Information: Sensory Integration Training

It’s possible to train your brain to react in a positive way to lots of sensory messages at once, like hearing, seeing, smell, taste, and touch. This could ease the symptoms of ADHD. But more research is needed.

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Not Enough Information: Interactive Metronome Training

With this, you do a range of exercises to a beat provided by a computer, like a metronome marks time for musicians. It can help with a bunch of brain and physical issues, but studies about its effects on ADHD don't tell us whether it works or not.

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