View Full Version : Desperate- anyone have success with supplements?

01-21-13, 03:25 AM
My son is 10 years old and has ADHD, ocd, and anxiety disorder. Over the last few years we've tried just about everything - focalin, adderall, concerta, vyvanse, strattera, intuniv -- and he's had horrible reactions to them all. They either exacerbate his OCD or trigger panic attacks or manic episodes. Strattera made him suicidal. We had some success for a while with a combination of prozac and vyvanse but then his ocd symptoms crept back and he ended up tipping into a full blown ocd meltdown/dysphoric manic episode and we had to take him off all meds. Right now, on no meds, he's finally back to being his old quirky but cheerful self- yay! But unfortunately he's also back to being massively scattered and impulsive and schoolwork is suffering badly.

His psychiatrist is at his wits end and has basically said that we have reached the end as far as possible meds- there's nothing else to try at this point. He said that the only thing left is to try supplements as a last resort.

I know this board is generally not very supportive of alternative meds because the research is spotty (some would say nonexistent but I know that's not true) but I have no choice at this point.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I've been looking at several products and don't know what to try first - Pediactive (dmae+ps), Focus Factor, Attentive Child. Individually I've been looking at dmae, phospholipids, inositol, magnesium, GABA, and L-tyrosine.

Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions/success stories regarding these or any other natural supplements?

Thank you!

01-21-13, 09:53 AM
I've heard that omega 3 supplements can help. Personally, I haven't had much success with them but then I rarely take them regularly. Some forum members have reported really good results with omega 3.

It's not a supplement but I think, regular exercise might help too.

01-21-13, 10:01 AM
Im sorry that he is suffering so much and meds are unable to help him. Is there a specialist you could take him to. Perhaps a different doctor may be able to help. Have you also tried behaviour therapy or therapy where your son can talk about how he feels and what sort of situations cause him stress and anxiety? I believe this could help him manage his conditions a bit.

Is he getting any specialist help at school? Do they understand his problems and what he needs, especially about how to avoid stressing him and helping him stay focused.

Kids with adhd need simple and clear instructions so they know what the task is, they need supervision when starting the task, staying on track and finishing it.
I hope you get some helpful answers here.

Looking at diet (especially elimination of dyes, articifical flavourings, processed foods, high sugar) and switching to wholesome healthy foods can help alleviate some of the symptoms but cant actually get rid of adhd. i.e one can of soda sends my son hyper, its very noticeable especially as he rarely drinks sodas.

I have tried omega 3, evening primrose oil, focus something or other and these have had no effect.

The Letter N
01-21-13, 10:29 PM
L-Theanine really worked for me. It's a supplement found in green tea and it's supposed to enhance alpha waves in the frontal cortex (meaning enhance the command center of the brain).

I took L-Theanine in hopes I could concentrate at work. It, well, worked. I didn't feel "medicated," either. I was able to stay focused and calm.

The plus to this is "Sun-Theanine" makes chewable tablets that are actually quite tasty.

My other advice might be harsh, but I'll lay it out (again, it's hard to give good advice in a forum, but I'll give it a try). I found out I had ADD late into college (a few classes from graduating). Looking back I remembered my childhood was rough because my parents always thought of me as crazy. They were good parents, they just didn't understand. Still, I was able to survive school while making decent grades even though I can't think of a time I did one of those "all-nighters," because I watched a show instead.

So, my advice is to not worry so much on meds but just help your son muscle through the ADD. He may hate it as a child but thank you later, especially if you help him knowing he's ADD.

Hope I wasn't too out of line with that post. :(

01-22-13, 03:51 AM
I actually found an "integrated medicine" doctor today in my city who accepts our insurance, miracle of all miracles! Integrated medicine means she combines mainstream medicine with natural approaches, which sounds good to me. I made an appointment for my son to see her in a few weeks, and I'm hopeful she may be able to help in some way. She does blood testing for nutritional deficiencies and such which seems like a good approach. Seems like most of the promising research on natural supplements for ADHD has involved testing for deficiencies first. There was a study done on magnesium, for example, that found that a significant portion of the test subjects had magnesium deficiency and for that subgroup, magnesium supplements did significantly improve ADHD symptoms.

Maybe blood tests could show some areas where he might be deficient and guide us toward promising supplements, instead of just trying things willy nilly. He's so sensitive that he's even had bad reactions to supplements, so it will be nice to have some guidance.

I hope he is not just beyond help...he has such an amazing mind but he's just lost in a quagmire of scattered thoughts and impulses. He has so much of the "H" as far as constant motion (physical and mental) that it's not just about helping him focus...when he's off medication he's such a whirlwind of silliness and constant talking that he ends up getting sent out of class because he's so disruptive. He's not a bad kid, but he ends up being labeled a discipline problem and starts to think of himself that way. I worry that I might end up having to pull him out of school completely and homeschool again, but that's not good for his social skills. Sigh.

I just want him to be able to succeed in life, doing something he really loves instead of some menial job.

I'll just keep trying; there's nothing else I can do!

Anyone else have any ideas?

01-22-13, 04:55 AM
Please let us know how you get on with this doc and keep us updated from time to time, both positive and negative. I would be really interested to see how your son does and Im sure many others would be as well. I hope it goes well for him.

05-18-13, 12:36 PM
I have had great success with two supplements. I had tried everything I could find for anxiety and fatigue. I started taking magnesium for heart flutters months after I started taking adderall as a result of reading posts on this site. I first noticed that my anxiety and fatigue greatly improved. I even noticed a huge improvement in my sleeping. I have had great results by taking magnesium with chelated zinc and Sam-e.
I believe I have been suffering from a magnesium deficiency for many years. I have done a lot of research on magnesium and found that most American 60-80% have magnesium deficiencies. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are almost the same as the symptoms for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. There are many factors which contribute a magnesium deficiency such as poor eating habits, stress and too much calcium in the diet. Magnesium deficiencies lead to fatigue, depression, anxiety and about every heart related problem. They have even found that about 70-80% of add/adhd patients had magnesium deficiencies as children. The Sam-e really helps with anxiety and sense of well being. I really believe there is a big link between magnesium deficiencies, heart problems and fatigue.

05-18-13, 07:04 PM
I have had great results from Grape Seed extract capsules by Now, I take 250 mg. daily and when I went off of them because my Psych Doctor was testing me for ADD I got fired from my job and I couldn't concentrate or focus so it definitely works.

05-22-13, 12:25 PM
I've lost hope in supplements to treat ADD/ADHD. The only thing that seems to help in my case has been Adderall.

What can help is eating a healthy diet. I've been eating lentils and pure canned pumpkin among other natural things. I've heard rumors that chemical additives, colorings, and preservatives can exacerbate ADD/ADHD, but I cannot source that at the moment.

05-24-13, 05:26 AM
Those rumors have no basis. However, there is no good reason to eat those things anyway. Choosing to eat real food, the kind without paint and without mold killer, is not a difficult choice - removing poison from your diet is obviously correct - just don't expect that to improve your ADHD.

05-24-13, 05:31 AM
Muscling through ADHD is like muscling through cancer - it's nonsense, there's no way to do that. The more muscle you use against your ADHD, the worse your performance gets.

05-24-13, 05:35 AM
I hope he is not just beyond help...he has such an amazing mind but he's just lost in a quagmire of scattered thoughts and impulses. He has so much of the "H" as far as constant motion (physical and mental) that it's not just about helping him focus...

Is there an activity that really engages him? (Even if it's something unpopular with parents, like a game)?

07-21-13, 08:19 AM
multivitamins and fish oil do help me

07-21-13, 09:52 AM
I take Magnesium, a multi vitamin, B complex, Vita D, and Omega 3.
On it's own, the Omega 3 has been really great for me. I take the other
things to help with comorbid issues like Migraines and Fibromyalgia.