(WellnessNova.com) - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder more common in children than adults. It’s characterized by a regular pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that significantly interrupts everyday functioning and development. Scientists have now found a correlation between children spending screen time on social media and the prevalence of ADHD. If you or your child are dealing with ADHD, here are some natural therapies that doctors have proven help lessen your symptoms.
Did Researchers Really Say Scrolling Through Instagram Causes ADHD?
ADHD usually manifests as someone who’s disorganized and unintentionally can’t focus or can’t stay on task for a significant period of time. They can also be physically restless, like constantly fidgeting or talking, during situations when staying still is required or the standard (e.g. during a lecture). ADHD can also manifest in making impulsive decisions without regard for anyone or anything, even if their actions are most likely going to harm or negatively impact themselves or others – they can’t seem to care about considering long-term consequences, but want quick gratification (e.g. repeatedly asking a librarian if he can hand over the new Harry Potter book even if the librarian has already stated someone else is reading it at the moment).
ADHD is more prevalent in boys than in girls and the CDC finds that about 5 percent of all U.S. children have developed the disease. Including adults, about 5 percent of the total global human population has developed some degree of ADHD.
Now researchers are saying that teens being on social media is a cause or an exacerbating factor of ADHD. They observed 2,587 high school students between the ages of 15 and 16 across 10 Los Angeles high schools. None of the students experienced any significant ADHD symptoms.
The students answered surveys that probed their social media activity, including how frequently they text and network. They also answered whether they experienced any ADHD-like symptoms sometime around any one instance they were active on social media. The researchers found that high-frequency social media engagements, like browsing, “liking,” posting, or commenting on Instagram more than twice a day, increased their chances of developing ADHD symptoms at a near point in time afterwards.
The results showed that the group of students who most frequently engaged in social media had about a 228 percent greater prevalence of individuals developing ADHD symptoms when compared with the group of students who never engaged in social media. The group of students who only engaged in half of the high-frequency social media activity of the most frequently engaged group still had about a 207 percent greater prevalence of individuals developing ADHD symptoms when compared with the non-engagement group.
The researchers concluded that being on social media trains your brain to constantly seek out more stimulating and entertaining activities, which can make you more likely to succumb to distractibility. Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Childhood Health, Behavior, and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and licensed pediatrician, says that distractibility is the main culprit that triggers ADHD symptoms in children.
To keep ADHD symptoms in check, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get enough sleep, exercise regularly, interact positively with family and friends, and work on homework in an environment with little to no distractions (e.g. no access to social media). They say these healthy pointers help promote better wellbeing and executive functioning.
How Doctors Say You Can Naturally Treat ADHD at Home
Did you know there are natural remedies that can lower ADHD symptoms? These are usually safer and almost just as effective as pharmaceuticals targeted at relieving ADHD symptoms because they have fewer to no negative side effects. Here are a few you can try at home:
Bacopa is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that has been used for centuries to enhance memory, concentration, and cognition. It’s also known as water hyssop and Brahmi. Researchers decided to explore its efficacy in relieving ADHD symptoms in children because it’s been found to improve children’s memory and it had some significant positive effects on children with ADHD.
They had 31 children between 6 to 12 years old take 225 milligrams of bacopa extract daily for half a year. Astonishingly, here’s what they found:
- approximately 29 of the children experienced reduced restlessness
- approximately 28 of the children gained improved self-control
- approximately 26 of the children experienced a reduction in attention-deficit
- approximately 24 of the children experienced reduced learning problems
- approximately 21 of the children experienced lowered impulsivity
- approximately 16 of the children experienced a reduction in psychiatric problems.
The researchers believe that the bacopa extract regulates the neurotransmitters known to play a role in ADHD. They also believe that the bacopa extract’s antioxidant activity and neuroprotective effects are also responsible for its ability to lower ADHD symptoms (oxidative stress is a factor that researchers believe causes ADHD because they’ve found evidence that children with ADHD have lower total antioxidant activity and increased total oxidative stress).
Experts say that ginseng contains chemicals called ginsenosides, which you could say are cousins within the phytochemical class (the miraculous antioxidants in veggies, fruits, green tea, and other superfoods). These ginsenosides have been proven to bestow antioxidant and neuroprotective effects in people.
Researchers also found that these ginsenosides boost the level of neurotransmitters that have been found to alleviate ADHD. They wanted to explore this ADHD-relieving aspect and gave 18 children with ADHD between 6 to 14 years old a gram of Korean red ginseng twice everyday for eight weeks.
The children were tested by asking to respond to images and sounds that pop up on a computer screen, while also ignoring others. The children who took the daily ginseng omitted significantly fewer images and sounds and ignored more of the ones they were instructed to ignore than the control group of children with ADHD who didn’t take the daily ginseng. The researchers concluded that the significantly fewer omissions was evidence of decreased inattentiveness directly linked with the daily ginseng. They concluded that a regime of daily ginseng can help restore impaired cognitive function in children with ADHD.
Another study with a larger sample size of children with ADHD (between 6 to 15 years old) and daily Korean red ginseng resulted in similar results: lowered inattentiveness and hyperactivity. The researchers took this as an affirmation of ginseng’s significant potential for helping treat ADHD symptoms.
The researchers caution that taking ginseng daily to help with ADHD is not without negative effects. Some of the children in these studies experienced headaches, fatigue, perspiration, and said the ginseng may have tasted bad – but the researchers stress that ginseng’s potential to help lower ADHD symptoms significantly outweighs its potential side effects.
3. Ginko Balboa With Ginseng
When doctors gave their 36 pediatric ADHD patients 50 milligrams of ginko balboa together with 200 milligrams of ginseng everyday for four weeks, they discovered that over 18 of the children exhibited less oppositional behavior and hyperactivity. They also had much fewer cognitive problems.
The children were between 3 and 17 years old. Although the regime significantly relieved their ADHD symptoms, the ginko balboa caused some short-term slight hyperactivity, aggressiveness, impulsivity, tiredness, and perspiration. They also became more emotional for a short period.
4. Ningdong Granule
Ningdong granule (NGD) has been a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remedy since antiquity. Researchers’ interests were piqued when they found evidence that NGD could be a possible treatment for Tourette’s syndrome. They decided on exploring its possible benefits for ADHD symptom relief.
They instructed 72 children to take either 5 milligrams of NGD per kilogram of body weight or 1 milligram of concerta (methylphenidate) per kilogram of body weight for eight weeks. They found that NGD has significantly fewer and milder side effects, but is equally effective at lowering ADHD symptoms as concerta.
Concerta is a mainstream pharmaceutical specifically prescribed to lower ADHD symptoms. But its side effects include suicidal thoughts, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, dizziness, anxiety, and headaches. Patients on concerta may also go through withdrawal after stopping the medication after having been on it for a long period of time.
Since NGD doesn’t carry concerta’s severe side effects, but lowers ADHD symptoms the same, then it’s most likely the better choice of treatment unless your doctor says otherwise about you or your children’s particular circumstances.
Pycnogenol is an extract prepared from the bark of a European pine tree. Researchers administered pycnogenol to children with ADHD and found that they had increased blood flow to areas of the brain linked with ADHD. The children also had less DNA damage (less damage from oxidative stress) and more antioxidant activity. Overall, the children had lessened hyperactivity episodes and inattentiveness and boosted visual-motor coordination.
The researchers conclude that pycnogenol is a good possible treatment for lowering ADHD symptoms.
6. Vitamin C With ALA
Both vitamin C and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) are powerful antioxidants that researchers found lessened hyperactivity when given daily to children with ADHD. They recommend that children with ADHD take flaxseed oil and vitamin C supplements to help lower daily hyperactivity.
7. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is an ancient remedy derived from a European flower. It’s been used as far back as classical times. It’s been found to help treat obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression. Researchers theorized it could help with ADHD symptoms and conducted a small study on three children with ADHD where they administered a daily regime of St. John’s Wort.
All three children experienced an improvement in their ADHD symptoms.
But, another study on St. John’s Wort and children with ADHD found that it wasn’t any more effective than the placebo given to the control group of children with ADHD. Researchers concluded that more studies with St. John’s Wort and ADHD must be conducted before any definitive conclusion can be made on whether it’s a possible treatment for ADHD symptoms.
8. Vitamin B6 With Magnesium
Children with ADHD were given 6 milligrams of magnesium per kilogram of body weight and 0.6 milligrams of vitamin B6 per kilogram of body weight every day for eight weeks. Their ADHD symptoms were significantly lessened. The researchers concluded that this was due to the supplements boosting their serotonin production.
9. Spending Time in Nature
Researchers found evidence that preschools with nearby vegetation, like shrubbery, large hilly outdoor areas, trees and other vegetation near play structures, had students with improved concentration. Some studies found that children in forest schools and other high-greenery schools have boosted moods, resilience, stress relief, overall psychological wellbeing, and other boosted positive traits. Some also had lower blood pressure.
A lesser, but significant extent of these beneficial effects were also observed when the smallest introduction to nature was introduced to the classroom, like installing a window overlooking nature or a wall that’s composed significantly of vegetation (like a hedge).
These findings piqued the interest of childhood ADHD researchers. They conducted numerous studies and found that children who spent 20 minutes in guided walking through a park experienced an improvement in their attention afterwards when asked to perform concentration tasks and tests. This boost in improvement was significantly greater than that experienced by the groups of children who spent the same 20 minutes in guided walks around the neighborhood or the downtown city.
The researchers theorize that one reason why children with ADHD become more attentive and less impulsive is because they usually partake in more cooperative and creative games and plays with other children when in nature.
Ultimately, the researchers concluded that children with ADHD who come into contact with nature experience an improvement in mood, cognitive functioning, and social interaction. Their ADHD symptoms are also reduced.
It seems that spending time on instagram isn’t going to cause ADHD if you or your children don’t go on there excessively. If you guys can’t keep away from social media apps, you can help negate their ADHD-causing effects by sleeping sufficiently, exercising, and physically interacting positively with other people. You can also try these natural remedies to help relieve any ADHD symptoms you or your children might be experiencing.