SUNBURY, OHIO. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by hyperactivity, emotional instability, poor coordination, short attention span, poor concentration, impulsiveness, and learning disorders. It is very common among school-age children with an incidence of between four and twenty percent.
Dr. Eugene Arnold, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Ohio State University, points out that ADHD is not just a childhood disorder, but can be found among adults as well. Dr. Arnold has just completed an exhaustive survey of alternative treatments for adult ADHD. Although none of these treatments have undergone strictly controlled clinical trials some of them may nevertheless be worth a try. Relaxation training, biofeedback, meditation and massage are safe therapies that may have benefits. Fish oil supplementation, vitamins and minerals (in RDA dosages), herbal and homeopathic remedies, laser acupuncture, and anti-fungal (Candida) therapy may also be of benefit. Thyroid dysfunction and chronic lead poisoning are possible causes of ADHD and should be investigated and treated if necessary. Chelation is effective in removing lead. Zinc and magnesium supplementation may be useful if a deficiency is present and St. John's wort (hypericum) should at least be given a pilot study according to Dr. Arnold.
Arnold, L. Eugene. Alternative treatments for adults with ADHD. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 931, June 2001, pp. 310-41
Physician resources: psychiatry continuing medical education courses covering hyperactivity and ADHD.