EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 16, 2013

ADHD diagnosis sends parents in search of options besides medications

Family Matters
Dr. Larry Larsen

---- — Dear Doctor,

We have a fourth-grade son who has been diagnosed with ADHD. We have been advised to put him on medication. We don’t want to do that until we explore different ways of handling it. Can you recommend alternatives?


Dear Determined,

Your journey is just beginning, and you will find no shortage of well-meaning advice.

If you are successful, it will be because you have done your homework and become your own “expert.” Human beings are alive with diversity and variance. No single approach works with every child.

Talk to your pediatrician about possibly trying Omega 3-6-9 along with multi-vitamins.

There is one very compelling study showing distinct improvement in symptoms of ADHD children were divided into two groups. The group with Omega supplement showed greater improvement than the untreated one. Children who had a multi-vitamin added did even better. This was monitored over a 15-week period.

A word of caution. Be certain to consult your doctor before launching such treatment, and keep in mind this is only one study.

Sugar-free, gluten-free, and other diets, including the Feingold, have not yielded consistent positive results.

There is some evidence that certain food additives may increase symptoms. One study, carefully done, showed that children who drank a mix of two common food additives had a marked and significant adverse reaction as compared to a control group who drank a placebo.

Like you I am not sanguine about rushing to try medication, but they do have a higher than chance record of working.

There are other interventions and activities that may help. Those will be shared in next week’s column.

Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. Email him questions or comments at lrryllrsn@CS.com.