Patient Blogs | ADHD in Children
Finding the Best ADHD Therapies for Your Child
photo of taking medication

If you search “therapy for ADHD” on the internet, you will likely get links to thousands of different therapies. It can be a daunting task to find something legitimate or, even more, something safe and effective.

There are some widely known treatments that have proven to work. These include medications, behavior therapy, supplements, and diet changes.

Medication. One of the most controversial treatments is medication. To medicate or not to medicate is a common topic among message boards, social media, and support groups. There is still a stigma attached to medication for a child with ADHD. We made the decision to medicate our children when they were younger (they are teenagers now). Personally, I can say that I wish we would have tried it sooner.

There are two types of medications: stimulants and non-stimulants. They work in different ways, and different medications work for different children. I’m neither a doctor nor a pharmacist, so I won’t get into that, but I can say it often is a period of trial and error to find a medication that works. Managing side effects can be frustrating as well.

Behavior therapy. Behavior therapy is a common treatment for ADHD. It can be done by a psychologist, behavior specialist, therapist, or teacher. Behavior therapy teaches modifications to ADHD-caused behaviors. It can include social skills, emotional regulation, schedule structure, and ways to increase focus and attention. Behavior therapy also can be done at home and often is used in conjunction with the school and home together. Behavior therapy is not a short-term process; it is long term with goals, and it's monitored for progress.  Behavior therapy is also sometimes combined with medication.

Supplements. There are many supplements that are believed to be helpful in managing day-to-day issues from ADHD. Before starting any, please consult with your doctor. Several studies have been done to prove effectiveness of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), and ginseng. Melatonin can help with sleep issues associated with ADHD. As always, consult your doctor before starting any of these, either with or without prescription medication.

Diet changes. ADHD is not caused by sugar, contrary to that old wives’ tale. However, there is some evidence from several clinical studies that removing certain foods or adding others can help manage ADHD symptoms. Lean proteins, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates can help. Some studies show that eliminating food dyes, dairy, and simple carbohydrates can alleviate some ADHD symptoms.

Personally, we have tried just about all of these treatments. Some worked well (melatonin is amazing), and some didn’t work at all (food dyes and dairy don’t aggravate ADHD in our kids). Cognitive behavior therapy changed my son’s life so much I could call it miraculous.

Just like most everything associated with ADHD, nothing is quick or easy. What works for your neighbor’s child won’t necessarily work for your child. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And again, please make sure to run everything by your physician or pharmacist before starting any new treatment.


Join us on our ADHD Support page on Facebook.




Photo Credit: Olga Shumytskaya / Moment via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Stephanie Steinmetz

Stephanie Steinmetz

Diagnosed since 2009

Stephanie Steinmetz is a married mom of three children with ADHD and was herself diagnosed with the condition as an adult. She is self-educated in all things autism, ADHD, allergies, and anxiety in children. She loves to travel and loves the beach. She works in the clinic at an elementary school and lives in Florida with her husband, three kids, and three pets. 

Latest Blog Posts From Stephanie Steinmetz

Interacting With Other Children

Interacting With Other Children

All children want friends. It is a normal part of growing up: Make friends in your neighborhood or school and playing at school and after with those friends ...

Read more
Navigating the School System When Your Child Has ADHD

Navigating the School System When Your Child Has ADHD

A student with ADHD faces many struggles in school. Lack of focus and organization, struggling to stay attentive and engaged, lack of impulse control, boredom ...

Read more