Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood characterized by the three core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and sustained inattention. While the etiology of ADHD remains unknown, several studies suggest ADHD pathophysiology to involve frontal network abnormality and dysregulation of catecholaminergic and dopaminergic functions. Stimulants, which are structurally similar to endogenous catecholamines, are the most commonly prescribed drugs for treatment of ADHD, but are classified as Schedule II based on the Controlled Substances Act due to high likelihood for diversion and abuse. Non-stimulant medications, as well as antidepressants, have also been used in ADHD treatment but have been found to be inferior to stimulant interventions and to cause intolerable side effects. The search for safer yet effective ADHD treatments led to a growing interest in natural medicines and a host of other complementary and alternative treatments for ADHD. While the use of these therapies is well documented, not much is known about their safety and efficacy. In this chapter, we describe current evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies for ADHD, focusing on nutritional and botanical agents, and provide details on the performance of these agents in clinical trials. Here, we discuss the rationale for the use of natural products for ADHD, mention the potential mechanisms of action of these treatments, and highlight safety and efficacy issues associated with the use of these treatments. In conclusion, we give an exhaustive update on the use of nutritional and botanical medicines as complementary and alternative ADHD therapies for ADHD, which could potentially provide important information on the efficacy and safety of these types of interventions.
Part of the book: ADHD