Utilization of alternative therapies in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

J Paediatr Child Health. 1999 Oct;35(5):450-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.1999.355401.x.


Objective: To identify the prevalence of use, the referral patterns and the perceived benefit of alternative therapy in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Methodology: A mailed questionnaire survey was undertaken in June 1993, of the use of various therapies by families of 381 children with ADHD. The respondent rate was 76%.

Results: Of respondents, 69% were using stimulant medication and 64% had used or were using a non-prescriptional therapy. Diet therapies were the most commonly used alternative therapy (60%). There was no statistical difference in the prevalence of use of other therapies between the medicated and non-medicated groups. The non-medicated group reported more benefit from some alternative therapies. Physicians were commonly involved in the suggestion to try a modified diet. School teachers, family and friends were the main source of suggestion of alternative therapies.

Conclusion: Clinicians should be aware of the range of alternative therapies and of their frequent use by families of children with attentional problems.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*