Wednesday, April 19, 2006

U.S. Doctors Looking For Alternative Treatments

Across the U.S., many doctors are now studying a variety of non-medical treatments for ADHD and similar disorders. Although no definitive studies have been done about exercise and ADHD, it makes sense that exercise would help people cope with the condition. This is due in part because exercise increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps people focus. Cognitive function is also better for one to three hours after exercise. Some researchers believe that if kids would exercise strenuously tree to five ties a day, there may be no need for medication at all. Involving kids in team sports can help in several ways. Kids will benefit from following a regular schedule and coaches who lead them through structured exercises also might help build concentration and organizational sills. Yet studies show that today's children are more sedentary than they were a generation or tow ago, which seems to have contributed to increasing childhood obesity rates. This leads to speculation that one reason for the increasing rate of ADHD is lack of exercise. New research has also shown that meditation, done twice a day for a few minutes, is an effective treatment for ADHD. Improvements include better attention and impulse control, improvement in academic performance, enhanced problem solving sills and the reduction of stress, anxiety and anger. Transcendental meditation, TM, is a specific form that helps the mind settle down to a state of what's called "restful alertness'. It is a mental technique that involves narrowing the focus of the mind in an effortless way that allows it to settle sown. Once settled, the body becomes deeply relaxed allowing you to experience profound levels of relaxation while you're awake. In one study, kids with ADHD who meditated for ten minutes twice a day had significant improvement in several areas. The children were required to simply sit in silence with closed eyes and thin about nothing more than a mantra, which could consist of a single word. There were 45-50 percent reductions in anxiety, stress and depression. They also showed improvement in organizational skills, memory, strategizing, mental flexibility, attention and impulsivity. Other studies involving TM on kids without ADHD have shown to lower blood pressure and raise IQ. For kids with ADHD, the benefits may be much greater. Across the country, some schools have already incorporated meditation into their daily routines. There is also a national TM organization that can have a speaker arranged to come to schools to talk to officials about TM.

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