Alternative Treatments

I've been going back and forth as to whether or not I should write about this. I was hoping others would have written on this forum from this course, so I wasn't the only one, but obviously ultimately decided I would share. I'm sure I'll get some heat as this is considered a controversial topic, but since it was brought up a few times during the course, maybe this will help someone since I consider DH a success story with alternative treatments.

I am the non-ADHD spouse. When DH was diagnosed with ADHD, he decided, for various reasons, that he wanted to find alternative treatments first before moving to prescriptions. I supported this.

The biggest key to doing this is that you cannot self treat. Simply reading an article online that says Vitamin B or Fish Oil (or whatever other supplement) helped someone with ADHD, and then going to the grocery store and buying those to take really isn't going to have any impact. You need to see a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who has had some experience with ADHD. You will not find a ND who specializes in it, as there is not a high enough demand for that. NDs are real doctors, who can write actual prescriptions if needed, it's just their specialty was natural medicine in school. There are loads of options in the natural or alternative world that only a ND is going to know about and know how to use them properly. There are prescription supplements, too, that you can only obtain through NDs. Holistic Healers or Herbalists are not going to have the extensive knowledge a ND has, either.

NDs are not typically covered by insurance, so you will be paying out of pocket. In our experience, you get what you pay for, though, and it is worth it. Our doc answers emails, actually encourages us to update her via email, and even offers phone "check-ins" to established patients all free of charge. She also consults multiple other doctors and specialists at no charge to us. It is usually around $100-200 per visit, depending on where you live. Lots of NDs will offer packages that give you X amount of visits at a discounted rate if you pre-pay. This really helps to save money. As a reference, DH can go several months without needing to see her, but in times where things need to be changed up, he sees her about once a month until things are back on track and then goes back to not needing to see her. If you don't live in a major city or near a ND, most NDs offer phone or telemedicine consults (secure skype basically). DH does the video appointments because he finds it easier to concentrate than being on the phone. His first appointment was in person, and the rest have been via phone or video. Typically, the first appointment is actually 2 appointments fairly close together. The actual first one will be you doing all the talking, to get a full health history, order tests (blood, urine, hair, or saliva are common tests for NDs to order), and be evaluated. (Our insurance covers most of the tests, but you will have to look into if your insurance will cover tests ordered by an out-of-network doctor). The second appointment will be the doctor explaining their recommendations and test results. From then on, the appointments will be like regular doctor visits, asking questions and getting immediate answers.

In DH's experience, after just a few weeks of being on the supplements and doing dietary changes, we started noticing subtle changes in the most severe of his ADHD symptoms. As time went by, the effects trickled down to the more minor symptoms. After about 3 months, there was significant changes in every aspect of his ADHD symptoms. Don't expect things to happen this quickly, it may take 3 months to notice ANY change. DH remained stable for about a year. Then we decided to sell our house, which everyone knows is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. The stress of that made his symptoms worse. Instead of immediately going back to the ND, which he should have done, we both ignored it and tried to muscle through the stress, because we both just wanted to sell, move, and have it all over with. This was a HUGE mistake. The ADHD symptoms spiraled and he was back to where he was prior to being diagnosed. After we moved, he finally went back to the ND and had things switched up. It helped for a few months until he went through a very stressful work situation, and again he went backwards. This time he went to the ND much more quickly and was able to get back on track once again, and stay that way for many months.

From what I have read, no matter if you are on regular prescriptions or what method of treatment you decide to use, you will have some ups and downs. In DH's case, every time he has changed things up, he has seen significant improvements quickly and they have lasted. The most frustrating thing for both of us is doctors, therapists, and the like, always tell us we have to be patient with prescriptions, because it takes a while to figure out what kind will work for you, and then what dose is the right for you. But they always downplay natural/alternative treatments because you don't see immediate results. DH just wanted the same consideration for the path he choose and has worked for him. We both feel strongly that everyone should choose what they feel is best for them, no matter if that is prescriptions, natural medicine, or some other option.