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Question
Posted by: Concerned mom | 2009/12/15

Alternative for Ritalin

My son is eight years old and has concentration problems. He is easily distracted and does not finish his work in class.He has been with an Occupational Therapist for about six months, and she advised me that I should try Ritalin to improve his concentration. Is there a natural alternative to Ritalin that he can use? If he has to use Ritalin, how long does he have to use it and what are the side effects?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I absolutely NEVER accept a diagnosis made by an Occupational Therapist, as they are not qualified nor traiend to make psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD and similar problems. Nor do I know of ANY good evidence that OT is an effective treatment for such conditions. I simply do not understand why in SA Occupational Therapists seem to have muscled into this territory - ineffective treatments may be profitable to provide, but are not proper practice.
So the first step is to have a competent and expert diagnosis made by an appropriate expert, a child psychiatrist, or paediatrician. Once a proper diagnosis has been made, available treatments can be discussed. There are some variations on the theme of Ritalin which can be helpful, and the right sort of expert would adise you on those alternatives once the diagnosis is established. Similarly, you are right that you need to consider possible side-effects and long-term effects, too.
There are no real "natural" alternatives, but I have heard some good reports, and have seen some promising actual evidence, that a non-prescription product called HiQ ( or something like that ) may be useful in some cases.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Woman | 2009/12/16

Try Omega 3' s and a solal product called naturally high. Also make sure he exercises daily. My hubby has adult ADHD and takes both these products with great results. Only try drugs once you' ve seen a pediatric psychiatrist and as a last resort.

Reply to Woman
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/12/15

I absolutely NEVER accept a diagnosis made by an Occupational Therapist, as they are not qualified nor traiend to make psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD and similar problems. Nor do I know of ANY good evidence that OT is an effective treatment for such conditions. I simply do not understand why in SA Occupational Therapists seem to have muscled into this territory - ineffective treatments may be profitable to provide, but are not proper practice.
So the first step is to have a competent and expert diagnosis made by an appropriate expert, a child psychiatrist, or paediatrician. Once a proper diagnosis has been made, available treatments can be discussed. There are some variations on the theme of Ritalin which can be helpful, and the right sort of expert would adise you on those alternatives once the diagnosis is established. Similarly, you are right that you need to consider possible side-effects and long-term effects, too.
There are no real "natural" alternatives, but I have heard some good reports, and have seen some promising actual evidence, that a non-prescription product called HiQ ( or something like that ) may be useful in some cases.

Reply to cybershrink

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