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Alternatives to Medication for Young Girls with ADHD

young girls with ADHD

Medication is one of the most common forms of treatment for young girls with ADHD and is effective for over 80% of kids with the disorder. They may make symptoms more manageable, but they don’t necessarily teach kids how to manage their emotions on their own. Medication may be a tool for managing ADHD, but there are many other alternatives that can help kids with ADHD perform better in school, decrease their stress levels, and maintain healthy relationships. 

Goals of ADHD Treatment

Medications for ADHD may help your child concentrate better or sit still, at least in the short term. But to date, there is little evidence that they improve school achievement, relationships, or behavioral issues over the long term. And even in the short term, medication won’t solve all problems or completely eliminate the symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADHD often have trouble translating what they’ve learned from one setting to another. For instance, they may have learned how to control impulsive outbursts at school, but impatiently interrupt others at home. 

Therapeutic boarding schools integrate a variety of alternative and complementary therapies in addition to traditional therapeutic techniques to give students the chance to practice skills in different settings and make long-term changes. While they offer medication management services, they take a more experiential approach to empowering young girls to learn to manage their ADHD. 

Treatment goals include:

  • Improved ability to pay attention
  • Increased control over impulsive behavior
  • Reduced hyperactivity
  • Build social support

Alternative Treatments for ADHD:

 

  • Eating a balanced diet. Nutrition has a significant impact on children’s mood and energy level. Sugar and carbohydrates provide bursts of energy that add to their hyperactivity and result in later irritability when the effects wear off. Eating regular meals and snacks keep children’s energy steady, which supports their concentration and focus. 
  • Getting regular exercise. While parents are often concerned about their daughter’s restlessness and additional energy and look for calmer activities to help them settle, exercise can be a constructive outlet for hyperactivity. When overwhelmed, physical activity can help girls get out of their heads and into their bodies. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention.
  • Trying supplements. If you think your daughter may benefit from natural remedies that are less addictive than other forms of ADHD medication. Many nutritional supplements and herbs can be used to calm anxious energy and improve concentration. 
  • Practicing mindfulness. Girls with ADHD struggle with being present in the moment and being aware of their surroundings. Mindfulness teaches teens to become more aware of their emotions before deciding how to react. Through awareness, they learn how to listen to physical sensations in their body and to slow down racing thoughts associated with emotions.
  • Improving social skills. Due to impulsivity and low self-esteem, many girls with ADHD have a hard time learning personal boundaries, taking other people’s perspectives, and opening up to others. A social skills group teaches children how to “read” others’ reactions and how to behave more acceptably. Teaching them social skills helps them practice healthy interactions with others and helps feel more comfortable communicating their needs. 

 

 

Asheville Academy Can Help

Asheville Academy for Girls is an accredited Therapeutic Boarding School for girls 10-14 that commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other learning differences. Our small classrooms encourage teamwork and collaboration with additional support for girls struggling with academic skills. This program is focused on emotion regulation and building confidence, communication skills, and social skills that will help students transition back into their home and school life. We can help your family today!

For more information about helping your daughter with ADHD at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.

AUTHOR: Cat Jennings, Executive Director

Cat brings more than thirty years of experience making an impact in the lives of adolescents. Cat has developed multiple programs helping children, teens, and young adults in a variety of settings and with a diverse range of diagnoses. She has dedicated her career to behavioral health and is honored to be part of the passionate team at Asheville Academy for Girls. She recognizes how delicate this age is and is proud of the role she and her team play in helping girls grow and prosper.

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