ADHD To Subtract: Part-2

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Psychologists suggest that parents should limit rather than eliminate their children’s TV watching and computer game play. One hour a day during the school week, and not more than two hours on weekends, would be a reasonable goal for TV watching. In addition, parents should, they suggest, eliminate violent programmes from their child’s TV and computer, or video, game schedules as much as possible.

As one psychiatrist puts it, “If you want to watch it, or your child wants to do likewise, sit with them and watch it together, and explain your feelings, while listening to your child’s reasons for preferring this type of programme.” His prescription — the more parents allowed their child to indulge in ‘self-talk,’ the better. For example, ‘Easy does it, ‘ ‘Keep Cool.’ ‘Behave Well,’ or ‘Relax.’ Self-talk is a handy tool, so also imagination — it represents a process where the child develops key phrases that can guide them through a complex task. It is also a problem-solving strategy — one that can be used to help kids form a more positive image of themselves as learners. Eventually, it could make a perceptible difference in how a child thinks about oneself.

Parents need not be psychologists to discover their child’s personal learning style. The best way to doing this is by providing children with the opportunity to learn what they do best. Parents could, with good effect, also use soft — not loud, or noisy — background music to help focus and calm their ‘hyperactive’ child — for example, Western classical pieces, such as Mozart. May be, you could add Indian classical melodies, with a ‘good clip,’ or pleasant-sounding instrumental compositions, such as Shankar-Jaikishan’s ‘Raga-Jazz-Style,’ to the list.

Yet another time-tested idea is — encouraging the child to visualise by focusing on a special place in nature, favourite colour, toy, song, sport, or movie hero, or a film. This will have a calming effect. Also, parents should not forget to remove allergens from their child’s diet. Because, what may be ‘eating’ the child’s mind could be what the child is eating.

Patience too holds the key, so also giving time to the child’s ‘difficult’ behaviour. This is more effective than conventional wisdom — a nourishing channel for promoting the child’s inherent skills rather than pills.

The big question is — are parents, teachers and others listening and willing to take the ADHD ‘bull’ by its horns?



As modern medicine has failed to provide a cure for a variety of health problems, more and more people are turning to the alternative and complementary medical sciences, especially Ayurveda, in search of relief. Among the problems for which modern medicine has failed to find a solution are behavioural, or psychiatric, disorders of childhood.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] is a behavioural disorder of children. It is the most common neurological disorder of childhood.

A study was conducted to examine the increase in attention span in 43 ADHD-affected children treated with different approaches. The reaction time was measured using a Vernier chronoscope [electronic] —  an optical instrument for the precise measurement of very small time intervals. Selected children of both sexes in the age-group of 6-16 years were divided into three groups. In group A, 17 patients received syrup Ayurvedic compound I; in group B, 14 patients were treated with syrup Ayurvedic compound I plus shirodhara with milk; and, in group C, 12 patients received syrup Ayurvedic compound II [placebo]. The dose of the drug was 1.0 ml/kg body weight and the duration of treatment was three months. Group B showed highly significant [P<.001] improvement in total reaction time, while in group C the change was statistically non-significant P > 0.10. It was found that while the drug and shirodhara were both effective in improving the reaction time of ADHD-affected children, the drug combined with shirodhara was superior to the drug used alone.

  • Harish Kumar Singhal, et al, “Ayurvedic Approach for Improving Reaction Time of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Affected Children,” Ayu, 2010 Jul-Sep; 31[3]: 338–342.


An increasing number of parents turn to homeopathy for treatment of their hyperactive child. Two publications, a randomised, partially blinded trial and a clinical observation study, conclude that homeopathy has positive effects in patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD].

The aim of this study was to obtain scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in ADHD.

A total of 83 children aged 6-16 years, with ADHD diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria, were recruited. Prior to the randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study, they were treated with individually prescribed homeopathic medications. 62 patients, who achieved an improvement of 50 per cent in the Conners’ Global Index [CGI], participated in the trial. Thirteen patients did not fulfil this eligibility criterion [CGI].

The responders were split into two groups and received either verum for 6 weeks followed by placebo for 6 weeks [arm A], or vice-versa [arm B]. At the beginning of the trial and after each crossover period, parents reported the CGI and patients underwent neuropsychological testing. The CGI rating was evaluated again at the end of each crossover period and twice in long-term follow-up. At entry to the crossover trial, cognitive performance, such as visual global perception, impulsivity and divided attention, had improved significantly under open label treatment [P<0.0001]. During the crossover trial, CGI parent-ratings were significantly lower under verum [average 1.67 points] than under placebo [P =0.0479]. Long-term CGI improvement reached 12 points [63%, P <0.0001].

Conclusion: The trial suggests scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in the areas of behavioural and cognitive functions.

  • Heiner Frei, et al, “Homeopathic Treatment of Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Crossover Trial,” European Journal of Paediatrics, 2005; December;164[12]:758-67. 

A study, conducted in Switzerland, followed a group of children who were carefully diagnosed with a number of screening processes to verify the diagnosis of ADHD, while excluding other diagnoses. First, the children were treated with a constitutional homeopathic medicine individualised to their case. Only such children that improved by at least 50 per cent on the ADHD rating scale were included in the second phase of the study, with the placebo [dummy pill] group. Subsequently, the children were treated with their homeopathic remedy.

The progress under homeopathic treatment was assessed with parents at intervals of four weeks. After a period of observation, children eligible for the final phase of the study were randomly assigned to either receive the appropriate homeopathic remedy, or placebo. Next, the groups were switched and treated with homeopathic remedies and compared accordingly, in terms of response.

The study results showed that children did not improve while taking placebo, but continued to improve while taking the homeopathic remedy. The results pointed favourably to the holistic effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of ADHD — without side-effects.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterised by varying severity in attention-deficit and hyperactivity. Studies have shown deficiencies in the serum level of magnesium and vitamin D in people with ADHD. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of vitamin D and magnesium supplementation on mental health in children with ADHD.

Methods. We conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 66 children with ADHD. Participants were randomly allocated to receive both vitamin D [50,000IU/week] plus magnesium [6mg/kg/day] supplements [n = 33] or placebos [n = 33] for 8 weeks. Strengths and difficulties questionnaire was used to evaluate children’s mental health at baseline and the end of the study.

Results. After eight weeks of intervention, the serum levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 and magnesium increased significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group. Also, children receiving vitamin D plus magnesium showed a significant reduction in emotional problems [p = 0.001], conduct problems [p = 0.002], peer problems [p = 0.001], prosocial score [p = 0.007], total difficulties [p = 0.001], externalising score [p = 0.001], and internalising score [p = 0.001] compared with children treated with the placebo.

Conclusion. Vitamin D [50,000IU/week] and magnesium [6mg/kg/day] co-supplementation for a duration of 8 weeks could improve the behavioural function and mental health of children with ADHD.

  • Mostafa Hemamy, et al, “The Effect of Vitamin D and Magnesium Supplementation on the Mental Health Status of Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Children: A Randomised Controlled Trial,” BMC Pediatrics, 21, 178 [2021].

[This is the concluding part of the article. To read Part-1, go to ThinkWellness360, April 10, 2022]

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360. 

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