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ADHD Alternatives for Summer

According to the Center for ADHD Awareness Canada, 1.8 million Canadians are afflicted with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, 5–7% of which are children. It’s classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by lack of attention span, difficulty in learning, and impulsive and uncontrollable behaviour. Unfortunately, an alarming 65% percent of children with this condition remain afflicted well into adulthood.

Prescription drugs are a common approach to ADHD, including the most often–prescribed methylphenidate, which should only be recommended in severe cases of ADHD. The aforementioned increases the amount of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters have crucial roles in regulating attention, impulse control, and behaviour. These drugs should only be prescribed for extreme cases of ADHD.

Unfortunately, in young individuals, the evaluation of severity is subjective, leading many of us to opt for a “quick solution” instead of exploring natural approaches that may require more time and effort. Pharmaceutical approaches to ADHD work for many; however, the long-term effects are still unknown.

Behavioural therapy (setting up routines) and dietary approaches (seeing if certain foods can be triggers) are well worth the investment in time. Other alternatives involve enhancing the gut-brain axis through the use of probiotics, as well as incorporating cold-water fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and salmon as sources of omega‑3 fatty acids.

These alternatives have been extensively studied as potential substitutes for pharmaceutical interventions. The omega‑6 gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) found in evening primrose oil has also been shown to exert anti-inflammatory action within the nervous system, beneficial for ADHD symptoms.

The summer break presents a chance to engage with your health-care practitioner and discuss alternatives or supplementary methods for managing symptoms of ADHD.

Choosing the natural path from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood could be the optimal route to achieve a balanced and fulfilling academic, personal, or professional life. Why not give it a try?

Gordon Raza, BSc

A graduate in biology from Acadia University, Gord serves as the supplement specialist for Flourish, where he shares his unique perspective on natural health products, nutrition, and active living.