This two part series is a venue for providing suggestions on how to work with your teen’s ADHD symptoms. As mentioned in the first article, sometimes medication just doesn’t work. Either it comes with too many unmanageable side effects or it doesn’t address the symptoms. For this reason, it’s necessary at times to explore other factors that are contributing to your teen’s experience of symptoms. In this article you’re invited to look at your teen’s diet, sleep schedule, and use of technology as a way to uncover their role in your teen’s mental health.
This list of suggestions began in the first article on ways to support your child with teen ADHD, and they continue here:
Find Your Diet
Many parents and teens do not realize that 95% of the production of neurotransmitters is influenced by what happens in the stomach. If we are not digesting well, eating the wrong foods or even eating at the wrong times, then we will not be able to absorb the micronutrients needed for the healthy production of neurotransmitters. Taking your teen to a nutritionist can begin the process of finding a diet that best heals any imbalances that may exist.
Find Your Supplements
Along these same lines, teens can take certain supplements that can also facilitate the healing of a neurotransmitter imbalance. For example, adding B-complex to a teen’s diet can improve both serotonin and dopamine, leading to more focus and attention. Supplements can be used to balance Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Gaba.
Find Your Sleep
It’s essential to maintain a healthy sleep pattern, regardless of whether a teen has ADD/ADHD. Even adults need to find a healthy sleep schedule in order to prevent illness, manage stress, and feel rejuvenated to start a new day. Although this might be difficult to establish at first, a teen who goes to bed and rises at the same time every day might feel the difference in his or her mental health. The hyperactivity in teen ADHD can inhibit a regular sleep schedule; it will either cause little sleep or oversleeping. Yet, having a regular schedule can help with getting the right amount of rest.
Find Your Freedom from Technology
One way to facilitate a healthy sleep schedule is to limit the use of technology, such as television, cell phones, and Ipads. It’s typical for adolescents to get lost in their smart phones and have their attention shift from one piece of technology to another. There’s no real connection that might be satisfying and psychologically nourishing. And the shifting of attention from homework to a text to the television to the Ipad can be straining on an already challenged ability to focus. Furthermore, much of the media, including television and movies include a large amount of violence, which can aggravate feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, and hyperactivity.
Find Your Physical Activity
Physical activity can release endorphins, which alone help to boost positive feelings. Exercise can also help with long-term mental health, including making new connections in the brain, which alone can facilitate long-lasting change. Furthermore, to experience these benefits from exercise, your teen doesn’t have to run three miles a day; taking a walk regularly can boost mental health.
It’s important to point out that these suggestions may not work for all teens, but perhaps you might find a combination of those listed here that will work. The truth is that any way that you can support the mental health of your teen, especially during the challenging life stage of adolescence, will facilitate his or her well being. And this is true regardless of whether your child has teen ADHD or ADD.
Bhatia, T. (June 2014). How to Support Your Loved Ones with ADHD. Entheos. Retrieved on July 2, 2014 from: