alternative treatments

ADHD and Alternative Therapies

I want to take a few minutes to share my perspective on the role that alternative therapies can play as a part of an overall treatment plan for someone with ADHD.  

First I want to make it clear that medication and therapy have been scientifically shown to produce the best treatment outcomes in the management of ADHD.  In addition, coaching has been shown to be very helpful in the areas of goal setting, support and accountability.  With that being said, for different reasons, there are people that may turn to alternative therapies as a way to either complement more traditional treatments, or as a first stepping stone to deciding how to proceed with treatment.  There are some people that do not tolerate medication well, or that may have another underlying medical condition that prevents them from using medication.  Should you decide to experiment with alternative therapies, I encourage you to discuss it openly with your Dr.   

ADHD affects people to differing degrees and in different ways.  For each individual the remedies can look as different as the symptoms can.  For me personally, I have never tolerated medications very well.  I can probably even count on both hands the number of times that I have taken aspirin.  Not because I don't like the idea of it, more that I would always experience a side effect (no matter how mild) that just made it "not worth it" to me.  This pushed me to look for other ways to feel better.  

My whole purpose in doing this project, of taking small steps to improve my ADHD baseline is to find out a few things.  For example,

if I tried all of the things or suggestions of things that can potentially help me to feel better in general, how would I then experience my ADHD? Would it shift on the scale of how disruptive it is to me?

As it is, I find my days varying greatly. Some days are fantastic, others are a struggle, some are exhausting, more than a few feel unproductive, others feel like a sprint and some feel like a marathon.  I get that some of this is to be expected, even "normal", but in my world, the ADHD world, these seemingly small things can throw a person greatly off course. 

Would improving my overall wellness baseline help with continuity? Would it help to pull together some of those extreme variances into more of a steady constant?

I'm curious by nature and so have decided to test it.  All of it.  And then share the results with you.    

Acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, biofeedback, flower remedies, exercise, music, Reiki, Craniosacral therapy, the list can go on and on.  What truly helps? What doesn't? My guess is that it will be different for each person.  I am trying what I'm curious about and sharing how I feel about it.  If there is an alternative therapy that you are curious about, submit a request to me via email and who knows, you just may find a blog post about it! Stay tuned, more next week.  ~Shaun

Vitamin D and ADHD-Part I

To kick off this series we're going to take a look at Vitamin D.  Let's start with some very basic facts:

  • Vitamin D is made through exposure to sunlight (UV-B radiation on the skin) and can also be acquired through our diets.

  • Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem. As much as 50%-90% of the population is Vitamin D deficient.

  • The amount of time that is now spent indoors is a contributing factor to Vitamin D deficiency.

  • Some of the latest research has found that low Vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of many diseases including but not limited to: multiple sclerosis, IBS, depression, heart disease, cancer, dementia, auto-immune diseases and yes, ADHD

  • If you happen to live in the Northern half of the United States (latitudes above 37 degrees North of the Equator) picture a line across the US running through SF, New Mexico and Virginia. Everything above that line it is almost impossible to make enough if any Vitamin D, except during the Summer months.

I first learned about the importance of Vitamin D from a dear friend who has made it her personal mission to spread the message on Vitamin D deficiency.  She basically said "I'm sure you are low, most everyone is.  Getting your levels up is good for your health."  Her personal story with it is truly compelling.  

She sent me link to a website and said to "check it out".  What I read was astounding! Click here to access that website and see for yourself!      

How did I not know about this? How had I gone through my entire life without having my Vitamin D level checked? My friend and I briefly talked numbers and based on our conversation and what I'd read I was hoping to have a level of 50-60 ng/mL.  A simple blood test that I requested from my Dr. showed that my level in Dec. of 2015 was 13 ng/mL. Well below my target level.  I set out to find some Vitamin D3 (it is important to make sure you take D3 as that is the form that is synthesized by the skin that we are most often lacking.)  The brand that I use is Nature Made and they can be purchased on Amazon and at Costco. 

After some research and speaking with my Dr., I used the formula of 1000 IU's per every 25 lbs of my body weight which put me at approximately 5000 IU per day.  This is well above the recommended daily amount on the bottle.  *Please discuss with and consult your physician for appropriate dosage for your needs.  

From Jan.-April I was very consistent with taking my supplements.  From May-Sept. I was outdoors a lot more as I run, kayak and hike, but I was not as regular with taking my supplements.  Fast forward to October of 2016 my D levels were retested and I was at 33 ng/mL.  Once again I am taking them everyday as it's Winter, the sun is nowhere to be seen and my levels are not yet at the 50-60 ng/mL that I am working towards. 

This project is all about improving your ADHD or Wellness Baseline.  In my opinion knowing your Vitamin D levels is a great place to start.  Take some time and do some research.  What you find may astound you.  Here are a few places to get started:

http://www.vitamindwiki.com/ADHD+and+Vitamin+D+Deficiency

http://www.vitamindday.net/#home

I'd love to hear what you think and if you've heard this before! Leave me a comment below.

Come back tomorrow! ~shaun

*I want to add in a small disclaimer here:  I am not a physician.  This website and blog are intended to provide general information and my personal experience with alternative therapies and healing practices. Any specific advice should be obtained from a medical practitioner or health care provider. These web pages are intended for general educational purposes only. They are not at all intended to provide medical advice.

 

 

Baby Steps To A Better ADHD Baseline

Baby Steps.png

Welcome to my blog! I'm going to assume that you found your way here because you or a loved one has ADHD or ADHD tendencies, and you are curious about non-medicinal options.  

Do any of the following statements apply to you?

  • I just don't tolerate medicine well.

  • Is there something that I can do to help improve my...focus, memory, organization, sleep?!

  • Why am I so sensitive?

  • I've been busy all day, why do I feel like I got nothing done?

  • This is all new to me, I hate to jump straight to medication without first trying other options.

  • Where'd I put my keys?!

  • I wish I could take medication but unfortunately I can't, now what?

I am excited to tell you about what I have planned for the next year!  Each day I will be sharing a non-medicinal alternative treatment, tool, strategy or product that may be helpful in lessening the symptoms of ADHD.  I say "may be helpful" because I'll take a look at both complementary treatments, as well as controversial treatments and let you know what my personal experience is.  I will share the details of where to find it, how to use it, what it helps with and how it rates next to other similar items.  These daily posts will be short, sweet and to the point.  

Why am I doing this?

Let me share a teeny bit of my story.  When I was 39, my son was diagnosed with ADHD.  As we were going through the process of figuring out his diagnosis, I realized that I had many of the same traits.  How in the world had I made it this far without realizing I had ADHD? THAT is a whole other post, but I will say this much, part of it is that I had "accidentally" stumbled upon some things that really worked well with my brain type.  Even now as an adult, I've noticed that I tend to be a "craver". I crave chai tea...daily.  I crave the scent a certain type of candle.  A new song will come out that makes me feel a certain way and I will play it on loop, until I'm sick of it.  What is important about knowing that I'm a craver is to pay attention to when and what I'm craving.  It usually points me in the right direction and highlights an area that I need additional support.  Most of what began as a craving has been turned into a strategy that supports my ADHD baseline.

What's an ADHD baseline? I'm glad you asked!

For the purposes of this project, we are going to use the following definition from Google:

Baseline

noun: baseline; plural noun: baselines

1.  a minimum or starting point used for comparisons

ADHD affects people differently.  In order for a diagnosis to be made, there must be specific symptoms or traits present for a certain length of time.  With that being said, the degree to which individuals are affected can vary greatly, and can even change over time for the individual. Because of this I started looking at my own ADHD and wondering, "what's my best baseline"?  I mean, what types of things truly affect how I feel and function from day to day? To start with, nutrition, exercise, scents, pets, music, sleep...they all affect me.  I'm committed to paying more attention to these things and sharing with you what I discover.  

*I want to add in a small disclaimer here: I am not a physician. This website and blog are intended to provide general information and my personal experience with alternative therapies and healing practices. Any specific advice should be obtained from a medical practitioner or health care provider. These web pages are intended for general educational purposes only. They are not at all intended to provide medical advice.