The usual NHS treatment for ADHD, as the recent Panorama programme made clear, is the prescription of stimulant drugs such as Ritalin. But concerns about the liberal use of Ritalin and its possible side effects have caused many parents to look elsewhere for treatments. While additive and allergen exclusion is often very successful (check www.hacsg.org.uk - the Hyperactive Children's Support Group) some parents have been trying Chinese medicine.
Rather than seeing ADHD as a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, in Chinese medicine ADHD is due to insufficient nourishment of the spirit, spirit agitation by some type of heat, or orifice obstruction by static blood or phlegm which can be treated with acupuncture and herbs. Auricular acupuncture which is non-invasive and uses only the ear is particularly popular with children. A number of clinical trials over the last 20 years have reported encouraging results.
Read more on Chinese medicine for ADHD
To find a practitioner call The British Acupuncture Council 020 8735 0400
First published January 2008
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