Alternative Treatment for ADHD: Does mindfulness help?

The potential role of mindfulness in treating signs and symptoms of ADHD is receiving a lot of attention these days. There a growing number of studies looking into its potential benefits, its impact on executive functioning, and its ability to help regulate emotions.

Mindfulness training essentially involves teaching people to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment. The idea of mindfulness is to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment, without judgement, without reactivity. It can help you, for example, be more aware in the moment of when your attention has wandered, without judgement, so you can bring your attention back to the task at hand.

At this point, the research is looking promising, but limited. One study published by the Journal of Attention Disorders in December 2013 saw some positive results, but was only able to conclude that larger studies were necessary.

An article recently published in the Globe and Mail spoke to this growing body of research (sorry, the article is no longer available it seems) with a general message that we agree on: mindfulness holds a lot of promise as a potential tool to help manage symptoms of ADHD. We also agree that medication alone isn’t enough in treating ADHD – medication can be an extremely helpful intervention when needed, but on its own it does not build the tools needed to manage all areas of difficulty.

So, at this point, we see mindfulness as another tool for your toolbox – not necessarily enough on its own, but potentially quite helpful. 

All of this too theoretical for you? If you want more information about what mindfulness can look like in practice, check out these links:

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