ADD/ADHD Natural Remedies
Please note that this is available in Health Food Stores in the U.S. but appears to be on Prescription only in many other countries
Mrs N from Canada wrote to us saying......
I have followed your web site for many years now and am impressed by your
efforts to educate people in the UK on ADD and ADHD.
While I live in Canada I am originally from England and as the mother of a
13 year old ADD boy I have found it difficult to explain to my family in the
UK the challenges and problems in raising an ADD child as for many years
very little was known about ADD in England and they still tend to be much
more skeptical about its existence. Amazingly I had a conversation with my
70 year old mother in England on the phone yesterday who was telling me
about a policeman she knows who is distraught about the problems with his 10
year old son who has recently been diagnosed with ADD and my mother
suddenly felt the urge to tell him she knows all about ADD as her grandson
has it and went on to tell him all about our struggles. Amazing because for
years her and my father's and for that matter much of my families attitude
was ,"all he needs is a good hiding" and "its because you raised him in
My son was diagnosed with ADD at 6.5 years of age but I had long known there
was a problem since he was 4 and began seeking answers from medical
professionals when his impulsive and attention seeking behaviours were
creating problems at home and at nursery school. Like you, I became a avid
researcher and read everything I could find on ADD, I wanted to prove more
than anything, that my son did not have this disorder as I wanted it to be
something I could fix. When I started reading the genetics of ADD I sent
all the information to my parents and my mother in law to see if anyone else
in the family had had these problems. My mother quickly came back and said
no and my mother in law said everything on the DSM list applied to my
brother in law (my son's paternal uncle) we then looked at the adult
criteria for ADD and realised that my father in law was classic ADD, on
going back further we suspect that his mother (my son's great grandmother)
was also ADD as she was a very memorable women!! All of a sudden some of
father in law's bizarre and impulsive behaviours were explained.
As soon as I found the genetic link I knew this was time to stop denying the
fact that my son had inherited this disorder. As time passed he displayed
such similar characteristics to his uncle and grandfather, one of the most
trying being the inability to sleep - he would not go to bed and came alive
at 11 o'clock at night. Some nights he would still be walking around at
2.00 am and would wake us to tell us he cannot get to sleep!!. He seldom
if ever went to sleep before midnight/1.00 a.m. Worse still he could not
get out of bed in the morning - "zombie like" does not begin to describe the
way he was every time I got him up for school. I have had to literally
lift him out of bed every school day, he would stay in bed till noon if
left. Because he was only getting 5 - 6 hours sleep a night from the age
of 8 - 13 he was constantly cranky and irritable in the morning which
combined with other ADD symptoms made the morning time a real challenge.
The Dexedrine he was taking also exacerbated his sleep problems although we
discovered that even during the long 10 week summer break he still did not
sleep and he was not taking Dexedrine at all during the time he was off
school. We knew anyway the sleep problem was there long before he was
diagnosed with ADD and long before he took medication for it.
I vividly remember my father in law being like this - he would stay up till
all hours watching television and most nights he would fall asleep on the
settee with the television blaring until he woke up freezing and would then
go to bed - he just hated going to bed when there was something on the TV or
something going on. My brother in law too - could not get out of bed or
get going in the morning but came alive at 11.00 p.m and wanted to go out
and do things. For six years he worked a night shift job and loved being
up all night and sleeping all day - he said it suited him to the ground as
he did not like going to bed at night. (the power of genetics!!)
After years of this my husband and I were tired of not being able to get to
sleep at night because our son would be in and out of the bathroom, fridge,
cupboards and lights on all over the place which meant we were getting less
sleep than him. Our son is very fortunate to have as his doctor Canada's
leading authority on ADD, she has conducted the longest research studies on
ADD children over a 30 year period and followed them into adulthood so was
very aware of the problems of inability to sleep. Her daughter is also a
doctor specialising in treating children with ADD and was undergoing a study
on the effects/benefits of using Melatonin to aid sleep for these children.
The initial results have been very promising and on the doctors advice we
agreed to try it. You cannot buy melatonin in Canada but you are allowed
to travel into the US to purchase it where it is sold in health stores and
pharmacies and a prescription is not required. Living close to the US
border we were able to do this and bring in 3 months supply. You cannot
give melatonin to children under 12. Melatonin is released naturally in the
body as the light changes - it is natures way of regulating sleep - the
darker it gets the more melatonin is released which brings on the feeling of
tiredness and desire to sleep. We were convinced our son was devoid of this
natural substance so were keen to introduce it to him!!
He has been taking one tablet at night for the past 6 weeks and the results
have been amazing - for the first time ever since he was a baby he has gone
to bed on his own as he is tired. We have never had a situation at night
where he has not been up when we are ready to go to bed and where we have
not had to nag and cajole him into going to bed. Now he his happy to go to
bed and the difference in demeanor is amazing. He has been a lot calmer,
not as cranky, reactive or emotional, he even gets out of bed on his own at
the weekends as he wakes up on his own. Even his teachers have commented
that it is less disruptive and more attentive. School mornings are not as
stressful - I still have to drag him out of bed but he is certainly in a
better mood when I do it as he has usually had a good 9 hours sleep by then.
He loves the fact that he is tired at night as he told me he did not know
what being tired felt like!! For years we had him swimming and biking and
doing Tae kwon do at night in the hope it would tire him out but nothing
The effect on the family is also noticeable - as we now get to bed earlier
and the stress levels are down as we too are now getting adequate time to
sleep. The melatonin being natural, is not a drug and does not lead to
drowsiness or dull feelings. We will continue to monitor the situation and
can already see that even if our son does not take it everyday he is still
tired so it has certainly helped in regulating his sleep patterns.
People did not believe us when we told them we could not get our son to go
to sleep - he never was a good sleeper even as a baby and woke up 5 times a
night. We now know this is common with ADD children and like his uncle and
grandfather he will probably be a night owl but we hope that while he is in
school and studying we can help him to get the correct amount of sleep he
needs for effective learning.
As parents we have always been wary of giving any medication to our child -
we resisted the idea of using stimulant medication and tried everything else
to assist him at school with little or no results. We now realise that
without medication our son cannot focus at school - it is a physical
impossibility for him not to mention the problems he gets into because of
his impulsivity. He himself realises this and can see the benefit of the
medication and would not dream of going to school without it. He is also
now seeing the results of his improved sleep patterns - most noticeably for
him has been the improved looks as he always had large bags under his eyes
which have now all but disappeared and he feels more relaxed in the
We still worry about what the future will hold for our son but we will
continue to look for new ways of treating ADD and he is involved in all the
decisions so we have the benefit of him being on side and knowing that we
will do whatever it takes to help him achieve his potential."
Rebecca wrote to us saying......
I have a daughter who is now 11 who has had trouble sleeping all her life.
She too would get up through the night and create havock. We had just
figured out that she had add without the hyper activity. I had just put her
on a treatment of melatonin and magnesium and B complex. It's only been a
few days but she had breezed through her homework this morning without
incident! That is a first in her 7 years in school. We are very excited.
Last year I was told to try magnesium and valarian root. However, the
valarian was way too strong for her and she was then too hungover the next
day. But the melatonin seems to be working great!
Judy wrote to us saying......
Mrs. N's story could have been written by me. It is identical to the problems that we were having with our second son. He has been taking melatonin for years without a problem. One tablet at night and he sleeps 8-9 hours.
He was 8 years old when a police officer came to our door asking for information about a car theft across the street. As the theft was very late at night we said no, we were in bed by 10. Josh popped around the corner and said "Did it leave the driveway about three am? Cause I was awake counting the cars that drove by and saw a car drive out without lights at that time." We were amazed! We had no idea that he was up so late at night. Since that night we have had him on Melatonin and the results are phenomenal.
He is much happier and able to handle the day better. During the summer he takes vitamins we buy from Melaleuca instead of his medication. It is a multi-vitamin, mood enhancer (w/St.. John's wart & more) and cardio vascular combineation. He has had his first summer medicine free thanks to Melaleuca! I am going to look into the B complex & magnesium I have read about on your website to see if it will help him also. I use magnesium and B complex to prevent migraines, so maybe he has inherited a deficiency.
Tammy wrote to us saying......
I have a curious story for you. Recently, my husband has started taking Melatonin for his insominia. He works the "third shift" usually from 5:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. give or take acouple of hours here and there. He first started taking 3 mg at night. Well, he went to sleep alright! He awoke me and the entire household with horrible nightmares and fits of physically kicking me out of bed! He is not a violent person by any means, so this has caused a real concern for us. He has "whittled down" the dosage to only a quarter of a tablet with the same devastating results. He continued with the nightmares [always very violent and vivid dreams] to the point that he has stopped taking it. Could anyone please let me know if there have been any similar problems with this drug? It is scary knowing that something "so innocent" in intent can cause such strange sleep problems. Any information would be appreciated.
Kaley wrote to us saying......
Hello, I have just read your articles on Melatonin as a natural sleep remedy in ADHD people. In reply to Tammy my son is 5 and suffers from both ADHD and ODD. Recently he was prescribed Melatonin for sleep problems as a result of his medication, my son was fine for the first say 30 minits after taking it and then he had terrible side effects from it. These ranged from as you described terrible nightmares, violence he was hallucinating visualy and audibly, he couldnt get to sleep and was like a child posessed. He ended up keeping my husband and I awake till around 6.30 am the following day when the Melatonin finaly wore off. This maybe wouldn't have been so bad but he then had to take the day off of school as he was to tired to go.
Yours sincerly, Kaley
We wrote to ask Kaley if we could post this here and she wrote back with the following:
"Dear Simon, I've just recived your email and yes of corse by all means use my email I just hope it helps prevent someone else going through what my husband and I did when we tried it. My husband and I have noticed to that there's a very short supply of help and advice for parents of A.D.H.D children and almost none for O.D.D.we tried approaching social services for help with our son but couldn't get any so if anyone has any tips on behaviour management or info on O.D.D please could you have them email me at my email address. You can also print this on your page if you think it would help us gain advice. Thank you for your help your web site has been very helpful to us.
This comes from University of Michigan ......
"There have been a number of reported cases of serious and even lethal side
effects from herbal products. In addition, some so-called natural remedies
were found to contain standard prescription medication. Of specific concern
are studies suggesting that up to 30% of herbal patent remedies imported
from China having been laced with potent pharmaceuticals such as phenacetin
and steroids. Most problems reported occur in herbal remedies imported from
Asia, with one study reporting a significant percentage of such remedies
containing toxic metals.
The following warnings are of particular importance for people with attention-deficit disorders.
? Melatonin. High doses of melatonin have been associated with an increased risk for seizures in children with existing neurologic disorders.
? Gingko. The risk for side effects from gingko appear to be low, but there is an increased risk for bleeding and interaction with anti-clotting medications at high doses.
? Ginseng. There have been contaminated forms of imported ginseng.
It also has been associated with a hypoglycemia and a higher risk for bleeding. In addition, a great number of ginseng products have been found to contain little or no ginseng."
If you live in the UK, Melatonin is only available on prescription. See our News article on Concerta by clicking here for more details on how to get hold of Melatonin.
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