Unfortunately, not all ADHD treatments work for everyone, and not everyone with ADHD actually seeks out diagnosis or treatment. Ritalin, a drug often prescribed to treat ADHD, can be effective -- but it can also cause complications like hives or dependence. For some people, those side effects simply aren't worth stronger focus.
Find the Right ADHD Treatment for You
Before making any medical decisions for yourself or others, consult your doctor. Ask whether the following ADHD treatment alternatives might help you maintain your focus without the risks associated with pharmaceuticals:
1. Aerobic exercise
You've probably heard of executive coaching, but executive functioning isn't a business service: It's the mental process that lets you organize, focus your attention, and juggle multiple tasks. Programs like Axiom Learning's LEAP 3.0 offer executive functioning support to students undergoing ADHD treatment, but adults with executive function deficits don't need something so formal.
In adults, research suggests the best booster of executive functioning is regular aerobic exercise. What makes exercise an effective ADHD treatment? Not only does it improve sensory-motor integration, a foundational component of executive function, but it also requires planning and time-management skills. Finding time every day to run, swim, or bike isn't easy, especially as someone who's also trying to run a business.
2. Time offline
Studies on the connection between ADHD and screen time could be stronger, but the constant stimulation that internet and TV offer certainly doesn't help symptoms. It might not sound like an ADHD treatment, but yourself tech breaks throughout the day. For an hour after you wake up, an hour before bed, and at least one hour of your choice during the workday, keep your eyes off digital devices.
Ironically, disconnecting apps like Space and Offtime can help you use technology in more measured, productive ways. Some help you slow down and focus while online, while others shut off access altogether. If you slip up, note the time of day and what triggered your screen use. Simply being aware of how many hours you're spending online can help you cut down.
3. Brain teasers
Working memory training may sound like a therapy for Alzheimer's disease, but it's gaining steam as an adult ADHD treatment. WMT helps to counter the effects of ADHD by training the brain to focus for long periods of time regardless of the external environment.
Although WMT can be as simple as playing a game of chess, programs like Cogmed also offer online, professionally developed WMT curriculum. Unless working memory is a serious problem for you, though, first try filling travel and between-meeting periods with activities like crosswords and sudoku puzzles.
One of the best ways to counter the overstimulation adults with ADHD experience is mindfulness meditation. In a recent study, adults undergoing ADHD treatment rated meditation a 5.91 on a 1-7 scale of satisfaction, with 7 representing total satisfaction. Although just 22 people took part, the authors called meditation a "promising intervention" deserving of a larger trial.
Meditation sessions can be as short as 5 minutes and can be conducted anywhere. Simply sit, close your eyes, and listen to your breathing. If thoughts cross your mind, gently brush them away. Although most people prefer a quiet space, try meditating in a loud one like an airport. Learning to shut out distractions is key for adults undergoing ADHD treatment.
ADHD can be everything from annoying to debilitating, but non-drug treatment options exist. If you want to tame your symptoms without taking on the risks of prescription medication, try these lifestyle ADHD treatments out. They're free, and they'll improve your overall health to boot.