National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

People with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have trouble paying attention or controlling impulsive behavior, and they may be overly active. ADHD is one of the most common disorders among children and may continue into adolescence and adulthood.

Bottom Line

Conventional treatment, which may include medication, behavior therapy, or a combination of both, is helpful for the majority of children with ADHD and for adults, too. Many complementary health approaches have been studied for ADHD, but none has been conclusively shown to be helpful. Approaches studied include omega-3 fatty acids and other dietary supplements, special diets, neurofeedback, and several mind and body practices. Research is continuing on some of these approaches.

Safety

  • If you are considering a dietary supplement for ADHD, remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe.” Some dietary supplements may have side effects, and some may interact with medications or other dietary supplements. Some vitamins and minerals are toxic at high doses.
  • Before using dietary supplements or other complementary approaches for ADHD, consult your health care provider.

For more information on ADHD, visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Web site.