Integrated (medical + mental health care) and integrative (traditional + complementary and alternative) approaches to health are growing rapidly. My disclaimer here is that I am not offering a formal or technical definition of integrated care. All I mean by here is that when we treat ADHD, we want to make use of the best that is offered from “mainstream” medicine, including medication and behavioral therapies, and judicious use of the elements of “alternative” or “lifestyle” treatments that are safe and possibly, probably, or definitely effective.
Most individuals with ADHD will at some point need support from a professional. Medications can be incredibly helpful, when used properly and according to published treatment
guidelines. Behavioral counseling can also be very effective, particularly when you are stuck in a cycle of negative exchange with your child’s behavior. In the field of emerging, alternative, and lifestyle treatments, some are unsafe and unproven, some are risky but may work, and others are safe and have varying degrees of evidence for their value. This last group is where I focus most and includes selective approaches to diet, getting control of sleep issues, engaging an exercise program, and a handful of other tools. Evaluating all of these is a key focus of my book. Depending on your situation, you may start with “mainstream” help then add in the lifestyle elements, perhaps then being able to back off some of the medical intervention. In other situations, you may go the reverse route. All are part of integrated and integrative care. In the book I also offer a kind of “decision tree” to help you decide where to start. The key is to individualize to what works for you and your family.