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ISRN Psychiatry. 2012 Dec 26;2012:804127. doi: 10.5402/2012/804127. Print 2012.

Complementary and alternative therapies for pediatric attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a descriptive review.

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Department of Psychology, Lake Superior State University, 650 West Easterday Avenue, Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783, USA.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), characterized by impulsivity, distractibility, and inattention, has an estimated pediatric population prevalence of 6-8%. Family physicians and pediatricians evaluate and treat the majority of children with this condition. The evidence-based treatment of choice for ADHD, stimulant medication, continues to be a source of public controversy. Surveys suggest that among parents of children with ADHD, there is considerable interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These therapies include herbal preparations, mineral supplements, sugar restriction, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other AD/HD therapies include neuro-feedback, cognitive training, mindfulness meditation, and exposure to "green space." In order to assist physicians and mental health professionals in responding to patient and parent queries, this paper briefly describes these CAM therapies and current research regarding their effectiveness. While investigations in this area are hampered by research design issues such as sample size and the absence of double-blind placebo-controlled trials, there is some evidence that omega three fatty acids, zinc supplements, and neuro-feedback may have some efficacy.

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