What might naturally be immaturity can be mistakenlydiagnosed as ADHD, especially in boys.
Are There Non-Drug Options?
Several non-drug options have been suggested,including biofeedback, dietary and nutritionalalternatives, acupuncture, etc. While there may beanecdotal evidence that some of these alternativeswork, there is very little scientific data to support theeffectiveness of most of these approaches.However, there is a very simple, natural alternativewith a strong scientific basis that can have a profoundeffect on ADHD. The Transcendental Meditation®(TM) technique is a simple and natural form of meditation that is showing great promise in helpingchildren with ADHD and related disorders such aslearning disabilities, Asperger's (or autism) and mooddisorders.There have been more than 600 scientific studies inthe past 35 years examining the effectiveness of TMfor improving cognitive skills, moral reasoning andbehavior, academic performance and stress-relatedproblems. Now groundbreaking research shows itseffectiveness specifically with ADHD.There are many types of meditation and mentaltechniques, but not all techniques have the sameeffects. Just as different medicines work differently,different forms of meditation work differently. OnlyTM has a large body of documented research aboutbrain development and learning, as well as the effectson brain chemistry.TM doesn't just treat the symptoms, it can actuallytreat the cause, which means its use doesn't just createa temporary effect but can improve the conditionpermanently.
ADHD, Brain Chemistry and TM
ADHD is caused by improper levels in the brain of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The medicationscommonly prescribed for ADHD work by increasingthe neurotransmitters in the brain. But these drugs arenot a cure.The amphetamines in the ADHD medicationartificially increase the amount of dopamine andnorepinephrine in the brain, speeding up the brain(thus the term "speed" for amphetamines). Thismakes the frontal area of the brain more active. Sowhen the child is on the drug, the communicationnetworks are temporarily improved.But when the drug wears off, so does the improvedbrain networking. Not only is the underlyingimbalance still there, but it's not uncommon to see a"rebound" effect, aggravating the symptoms when thedrug wears off. The child may be "wilder," lessfocused and even more difficult to control than beforethe medicine was started.Research shows that TM naturally creates balancein the brain chemistry, spontaneously improving thesymptoms of impulsivity, attention and self-control,by balancing the levels of the neurotransmitters. Inother words, TM can create a similar effect in thebrain as the common ADHD drugs without thenegative side effects.ADHD medication temporarily manages thesymptoms, only during the hours the drug is in thesystem. When the drug wears off, the problem is stillthere. TM treats the root cause of ADHD, improvingbrain integration. Additionally, the positive effectcontinues into daily activity and improvementincreases over time.
Can A Child with ADHD Really Meditate?
The TM technique is a specific, unique form of meditation. It is a simple, natural process that allowsthe mind to settle down to a condition of "restfulalertness." As the mind settles down, the bodybecomes deeply relaxed. As thinking settles down,the mind transcends the busy mental activity andexperiences deep silence. Not only does this create amental quietness that an ADHD child so rarely gets toexperience, but it also creates physiological andneuropsychological changes resulting in integrationand coherence of brain functioning.The technique involves no concentration or controlof the mind, nor does it involve adopting aphilosophy, religion or change of lifestyle. Thetechnique is so simple and effortless that it is easyeven for children with ADHD.
How Does TM Improve ADHD?
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain thatcontrols impulsive actions, judgment and social cues.Children and adults suffering from ADHD haveimpaired function of the prefrontal cortex. Thismeans the communications network that serves as anatural filter for keeping us from acting impulsively orenabling us to focus is not yet fully online.The effects of TM’s “restful alertness” on brainfunctioning has been documented for 35 years. Theresearch shows that the TM technique creates a moreintegrated functioning in the frontal areas of the brain.This integrated functioning, in turn, strengthens thecircuits, creating better communication from one partof the brain with another and integrating all parts of the brain into a whole.These physiological changes have not beendemonstrated in any other systematic meditation orrelaxation technique. Dr. William Stixrud, a clinicalneuropsychologist in Silver Spring who specializes in