Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


A Non Medication Strategy for ADHD Preschoolers

posted by Linda Mintle

children sleepingADHD is a legitimate diagnosis based on underlying neurological conditions. It is a brain-based biological disorder that can be detected by brain scans and imaging. Chemical differences are found in the ADHD brain when compared to non ADHD children. Furthermore, current evidence suggest that ADHD is genetic.

In terms of the rising numbers of ADHD children, positives explanations include better awareness of the condition and better access to care. Decades ago, we did not do a good job of identifying children with this disorder. Now, more children are benefiting from early detection and treatment.

With the growing concern about overmedicating children on the minds of so many, preschoolers, who are correctly diagnosed do need intervention.

So what is being done to provide medication alternatives?

Perhaps a promising area to explore is solar intensity as it relates to ADHD. Sleep specialists tell us that children with ADHD often have sleep-onset insomnia and a delayed circadian phase. So a group of researchers looked at the relationship between environmental light exposure and ADHD prevalence. What they found was that higher solar intensity was correlated with lower ADHD prevalence. Exposing children to intense sunlight during the day and reduced light exposure at night may reduce some ADHD symptoms and act as a protective factor.[1]

Based on this, it may be possible that a certain subgroup of children with ADHD would benefit from being exposed to natural light during the day, especially in states with low solar intensity. Maybe the addition of a sky light in the classroom, or more time outside could also help. The thinking here is that strong sunlight during the day may help reset the biological clock involved in sleep, since shorter sleep is associate with attention problems.

For a subgroup of children, more sunlight might help. Since there is nothing invasive about exposing kids to more light, seems like something to try.

 


[1] Arns M, van der Heijden KB, Arnold LE, Kenemans JL. Geographic variation in the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: the sunny perspective. Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Mar 20; [Epub ahead of print].



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