Traditional vs. Alternative Treatment

By Eileen Bailey

Traditionally, ADHD is treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Alternative treatments are any other treatments that claim to either cure or treat symptoms of ADHD, for example: herbal remedies, chiropractic care, EEG neurotherapy, diet, and megavitamins.

Alternative therapies and treatments may provide some patients with some relief from symptoms, although there are few or no scientific studies currently that back up and support claims of effectiveness. There is also no cure for ADHD. Proponents and manufacturers of these types of therapy often discuss how alternative treatments are “natural.” Natural, however, does not always mean “safe.”  Herbal remedies can interfere or negatively interact with other medications. Megavitamin therapy can sometimes be harmful. For this reason, it is important to discuss any treatment, alternative or traditional with your physician.

Traditional medication is thoroughly tested before it is approved for public use. There are certain scientific procedures that must be followed by pharmaceutical companies. Studies must be completed with variables such as the use of placebos, control groups and comparison to other treatments. The results must be consistent and all must be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before a medication can be approved.  and the results must be consistent. Then it will be determined if the information submitted supports the claims of the pharmaceutical company and may be accepted as a new medication or may be rejected or the FDA will request additional information before approval.

Alternative treatments are not required to be approved by the FDA before sale to the public. They may use less scientific methods such as limited studies to prove their claims. They may provide customer testimonials. This is not necessarily an indication of ineffectiveness or effectiveness. Consumers should be aware, however, that they have not be rigorously tested and in some cases may be harmful in used incorrectly. Again, the best approach to using alternative treatments would be to discuss thoroughly with your physician before incorporating such methods into your treatment plan. 

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