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Understanding ADHD Treatment Options in Ayurveda: Medications and More for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Understanding ADHD Treatment Options in Ayurveda

ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a long-lasting condition impacting millions of children and frequently persisting into adulthood. Characterized by a blend of enduring issues, ADHD involves challenges with maintaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.

Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. While symptoms may diminish with age, some individuals never fully outgrow their ADHD symptoms. Nonetheless, they can develop strategies to manage and succeed despite the challenges.

Ayurvedic treatment with therapies aimed at improving brain function, herbs and remedies to enhance attention and mind calmness, along with cognitive behavioural therapy, can be very helpful in ADHD.

Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome for a child diagnosed with ADHD.


Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


The primary features of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder include inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. ADHD symptoms are noticeable as early as 3 years of age. ADHD symptoms can be mildmoderate or severe, and they may continue into adulthood.

ADHD occurs more often in males than in females, and behaviors can be different in boys and girls. For example, boys may be more hyperactive and girls may tend to be quietly inattentive.


Poor attention

·       Overlook details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork

·       struggle to maintain focus during tasks or play

·       Seem not to listen, even when addressed

·       Have difficulty following through on instructions and often fail to complete schoolwork or chores

·       Struggle with organizing tasks and activities

·       Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as homework

·       Frequently loose items needed for tasks or activities, such as toys, school assignments, or pencils, which is common in a child diagnosed with ADHD.

·       Sometimes they can concentrate well and show interest in video games, but they tend to ignore tasks that are difficult or require more efforts

·       The child struggles to control their emotions and sometimes appears not to hear when someone speaks, often becoming quickly bewildered by tasks.


Exhibit Hyperactivity and impulsivity


  • Have difficulty staying seated in a place

  • Run around when it's not appropriate

  • Talk too much

  • Blurt out answers, interrupting the person asking questions

  • Have difficulty waiting for his or her turn

  • They may frequently feel anxious and have trouble playing quietly. The child exhibits signs of impulsivity and frequently interrupts others.

  • Tend to have poor self-esteem

 

Causes of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


The exact cause of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is unknown. Supportive  Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include:

  • Genetics. ADHD can run in families, and studies indicate that genes may play a role.

  • Environment. Certain environmental factors, such as lead exposure, may increase risk.

  • Development. Problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development may play a role.

  • Prenatal exposure like  Maternal drug use, alcohol use, consumption of lead  or nicotine from smoking during pregnancy by the mother and  Premature birth can also result in ADHD


A distinct perspective of ADHD through Ayurveda 

 

However every dosha imbalance disturbs the body functioning, but Vata dosha is the main culprit in ADHD. Although vata dosha is prominent but later on, higher levels of Vata dosha imbalance impairs the pitta dosha, which leads to eagerness, frenzy, fury, or jumping behavior in children.


Vata plays a vital role in our body like controlling the entire brain functioning, sensory organs, thinking process, etc it has different roles to play, especially in adhd treatment.

Although there is no physical damage in the organ, everything gets disturbed due to disturbance between association links.     


ADHD is not mentioned as an entity in Ayurveda. However, some irregular behaviour has been recorded in Ayurveda, that could possibly be linked with ADHD.

·         Dhee’s vitiation (rational thinking)

·         Smriti’s (memory)

·         Dhriti (the retaining/intellect force of the mind)

This triggers/causes irregular behavior that leads to improper interaction between the senses and their goals. This results in impulsivity, overactivity, and inattention, which are the distinctive features of ADHD.


Vata and  its role in speech –

When the vata dosha is defective or disturbed, it can disrupt the smooth coordination of these brain areas (Broca and Wernicke both are called as the primary motor speech areas and also the secondary motor speech areas )and the overall motor functions involved in speech production. This disruption may manifest as speech difficulties, such as stuttering, slurred speech, or difficulty forming words.

Vata, -serves as the conduit for joy and vibrant energy expressions.

When vata is functioning optimally, it promotes a sense of happiness, joy, and active engagement with life, leading to meaningful contributions to society. However, when vata is weak or imbalanced, individuals may exhibit reluctance to participate in social activities, lack interest, and demonstrate a diminished sense of responsibility.

This perspective aligns with observations of ADHD children who often struggle with social interaction and participation in various activities


Diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Indeed, diagnosing ADHD typically involves a comprehensive assessment process, as there's no single definitive test for the condition,but making a diagnosis will likely include thorough Medical exam, gathering information about family, Interviews or questionnaires etc. ADHD rating scales to help collect and evaluate information about your child to treat ADHD in children.


Prevention 

To help reduce your child's risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder:

  • During pregnancy, avoid anything that could harm fetal development.

  • Protect your child from exposure to pollutants and toxins, including cigarette smoke and lead paint (found in some old buildings).

  • Limit screen time. Although still unproven, it may be prudent for children to avoid excessive exposure to TV and video games in the first five years of life.


Ayurvedic Treatment for ADHD


Ayurvedic treatments work by treating the imbalanced level of Vata & pitta dosha that ultimately enhances the higher brain functions such as intelligence, concentration, learning or speaking ability.


If your child has ADHD, to help reduce problems or complications:

·       Establish clear boundaries and consequences for your child's behavior to provide structure and guidance.

·       Develop a daily schedule for your child that includes expectations for bedtime, morning routines, meals, chores, and screen time.

·       When speaking with your child, avoid multitasking and ensure you make eye contact to enhance engagement.

·       Partner with your child's teachers and caregivers to identify any challenges early on and implement strategies to mitigate the impact of ADHD on your child's academic


Effective Therapies for ADHD

Standard treatments for ADHD in children include medications, education, training and counseling. Pure herbs like Brahmi, Vacha, Sankhapuspi, Yastimadhu, Mandukaparni, Tagara, Jatamamsi, Sarpagandha and Ashwagandha help the child to regain his attention, improve eye contact, concentration and social behavior pattern.

·       Ashwagandha- It's renowned for its ability to strengthen the nervous system, enhance cognitive function, and support overall well-being. Ashwagandha is particularly beneficial for reducing stress, anxiety, and tension, while also promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality..
·       Brahmi -Brahmi is highly esteemed in Ayurveda for its potent effects on mental health and cognitive function. It is believed to enhance intelligence, memory, and overall brain function. Brahmi is commonly used to alleviate symptoms of mental illness, anxiety, and depression, as well as to improve sleep quality and relieve insomnia..
·       Guduchi -It Improves digestion, relieves ama, enhances immunity, improves cognitive and memory performance relieves anxiety and stress.
·       Shankapushpi-Increases intelligence and memory used in mental illness, and anxiety, relieves sleeplessness, and depression, and improves metabolism, immunity, and physical stamina.
·       Ghee -Daily, including dietary ghee with proper dosage, It helps improve digestion, memory, intelligence, smooth functioning of the sense organs, wisdom, immunity, luster, speech.

·       Vacha -‘Vacha’ indicates ‘talking.’ Rejuvenates the brain and nervous system. It balances the Vata with the Kapha dosha. Helps improve the digestion force. Due to its scraping properties, it eliminates excess Kapha.


The principle involved in treating ADHD 


Deepana and Pachana
This theory aligns with the concept of Agni in Ayurveda, which refers to the digestive fire responsible for breaking down food and metabolizing nutrients. According to Ayurvedic principles, when Agni is functioning optimally, it digests food efficiently, eliminates waste products (ama), and nourishes all seven bodily tissues (dhatus).

Strotoshodhan (cleansing the channels) –

When The natural flow of doshas is obstructed and causes a loss of attention, learning impairment, impaired memory, etc. Ayurvedic herbs, such as  vacha, and tagara helps to remove obstruction in channels, particularly manovahastrotas. Because of its penetrating and digestive properties, it clears the channels by digesting the ama and helps the brain to function normally.


It is commonly used in children to develop voice, memory, and intelligence.


When performed using a classical approach, it can indeed help alleviate Vata dosha, relax the muscles, and soothe the mind.

·       Shirodhara 

A classical technique for pouring medicinal liquids over the head. It calms your mind, increases your concentration, and relieves sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, etc. Vata Relieving liquids is more effective for patients with ADHD when combined with behavior therapy.


·       Takradhara –

Takradhara (A technique where medicated buttermilk is poured in a thin stream over the forehead)  produces mental calmness by providing soothing effects to the marmas. Takradhara stimulates the marma points, which further improves the overall circulation of the brain.

An increase in circulation to the hypothalamus also enhances the role of the Autonomic Nervous System and creates mental calmness. It also decreases the feeling of anger, pain, aggression, pleasure and behavioral patterns.

 

·       Thalapothichil-Thalapothichil is a specific procedure of application of medicated paste on the head. It supports the nervous system and has a calming influence on the mind, body, and soul. It enhances sleep quality and presents ease from the heaviness of the head. Thalapothichil also loosens and tranquilizes the mind and stabilizes the functioning of the central nervous system.

 

·       Nasya karma –

In Nasya karma, the combination of herbal medicated oils is administered to the child through the nose. Through nasal passage way, the medicated oil reaches the brain; it cleanses the various channels and improves the oxygenation. Nasya oil with medicated herbs that crumbles Vata, and were very effective for the treatment ADHD.

 

·       Shirovasti

Shiro means head and vasti means container, this is a specific procedure to hold medicated oil on the head. It nourishes the brain and thereby improves intelligence. Shirovasti is an effective treatment in ADHD because it helps to balance the Vata and Kapha in the brain and maintains the balance between the brain and skull.

 

·       Marma Abhyanga – 

Abhyanga with marma points is known as Marmabhyanga. Marmabhyanga plays an important role for ADHD Children. Marma Points improves the function of brain, calms the mind and gives deep sleep, making it beneficial for adhd treatment. Marma Abhyanga reduces the inflammation.


·       Swarna bindhu prashana –

Along with immunity-boosting effects, behavior therapy reduces the hyperactive behaviour in ADHD children and encourages the stillness.  


Q: What is ADHD and how is it related to hyperactivity disorder?

A: ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


Q: What are the common symptoms of ADHD in children and adults?

A: Common symptoms of ADHD may include difficulty focusing, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, forgetfulness, and disorganization.


Q: How is ADHD diagnosed in individuals?

A: ADHD is typically diagnosed by healthcare professionals based on a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms, behavior patterns, medical history, and sometimes, through psychological tests.


Q: What are the treatment options available for ADHD?

A: Treatment for ADHD may include a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support services tailored to the individual's needs.


Q: What are the commonly prescribed medications for ADHD?

A: Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamine-based drugs, are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. Non-stimulant medications like atomoxetine may also be used.


Q: How effective is Ayurveda in treating ADHD?

A: Ayurveda offers holistic treatment options for ADHD, including herbal supplements, dietary changes, mindfulness practices, and lifestyle modifications that can complement traditional treatments.


Q: What role does therapy play in managing ADHD?

A: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and parent training programs, can help individuals with ADHD learn coping strategies, improve self-control, and enhance overall functioning.


Can someone with ADHD live a normal life?

Its a real challenge with ADHD to live a normal life


Is life with ADHD hard?

Yes, it is a bit hard but therapies and treatments help you live a life as simple as any other individual.


What is the most effective therapy for ADHD?

CBT -This may be the most effective psychotherapy for people with ADHD. It involves changing people's thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors to better deal with everyday situations. 


How do I overcome my ADHD?

Change won’t happen overnight, Habits like self-help strategies require practice, patience, especially for adults with ADHD.  and a positive attitude can help to overcome it.


What is a coping skill for ADHD?

You need to Build attention and focusing habits


Does ADHD  medication make you lose weight

Hunger changes may occur which may attribute to weight loss


Can ADHD medication help with anxiety

Yes it does help to reduce anxiety


does ADHD medication cause weight gain

Hunger changes may occur which may attribute to weight gain too


will ADHD medication help my memory

Yes, it helps to restore memory to some extent.


does add ADHD ever go away

Chances are very rare


can ADHD medication stunt puberty

yes it may delay puberty


does adhd medication affect male fertility

It can affect sperm count and motility


will ADHD medication help me sleep

Yes it can help for a quality sleep


can ADHD medication cause seizures

No, it doesn’t


can adhd medication cause dementia

No, it doesn’t


does ADHD medication affect sports performance

Yes it can affect mental health  as it plays a main role in sports performance


will ADHD medication help me focus

Yes it helps


can ADHD medication cause heart problems

Those with heart medications can have the risk factors


how was ADHD treated in the 80s

By stimulant therapy


Is ADHD a disability?

Yes, it's a developmental disability


Is ADHD a form of autism?

No, it's not


What causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Genetics is a primary reason 


Why is ADHD commonly underdiagnosed in girls and children assigned female at birth?

Natural fluctuations that happens Due to the age and menstrual cycles in females

 

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