HomeLifestyle & TravelHealth & BeautyADHD meds: Does your child really need them?

ADHD meds: Does your child really need them?

To medicate or not to medicate, or how to medicate children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has left parents in a quandary for years.

A new study showing that medication alone has no detectable impact on how much children with ADHD learn in the classroom shed more light on this issue.

The study, a first of its kind, by Florida International University (FIU), evaluated 173 children with ADHD and related behavioural, emotional and learning challenges between the ages of seven and 12, found that children learned the same amount whether they were taking medication or the placebo.

But, the study revealed that medication did help children complete more seated work and improved classroom behaviour. So while their test scores improved only slightly, they were more settled and less disruptive in the classroom. 

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ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders affecting about 2-16 per cent of school-aged children, according to the South African Journal of Psychiatry. It is estimated that at least 20-60 per cent of symptoms persists into adulthood.

What does help is an integrated approach that includes behaviour therapy and, according to health and wellness expert, Vanessa Ascencao, a healthy nutritious diet and high-quality supplements.

This makes sense as studies have identified that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the gut-brain axis. Eliminating wheat, dairy and gluten and eating a prebiotic-rich diet improves gut health which reflects in a calmer ADHD child. 

Give your ADHD child:

  • Plenty of fruit and veggies
  • Healthy fats
  • Nutrient and mineral-rich supplements (we love the nature-based Marcus Rohrer Spirulina option)
  • Iron-rich foods, as a study has shown that over 85 percent of children with ADHD have low iron levels.

Medicating children with ADHD is not a quick-fix solution and only serves to calm the symptoms. Parents should investigate behavioural therapy plus diet first and only medicate when and if needed. 

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