View Full Version : Alternative Medicine Treatments for ADHD (and why they are bunk)


Amtram
04-18-14, 02:39 PM
From "Great Plains Skeptic":

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Like many mental disorders, ADHD is very treatable. Many decades of empirical evidence has shown that with pharmacological treatments, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, adults and children diagnosed with ADHD can have fairly typical lives. In fact, there are several options available for each kind of treatment because some medications may be harmful to certain individuals or some therapies may be more suitable for some than others. However, in an age where doctors, therapists, and big medicine are endlessly perceived as the bad guys that can’t and shouldn’t be trusted, there are alternative treatments as well. Things like chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, and message therapy. Naturopathic “doctors” even suggest that things like herbs, homeopathic medicine, and supplements can cure the symptoms of ADHD, citing that natural remedies “add more to the healing process” than western medicines.

A lot of the proponents of these alternative treatments promote them by stating that the side effects of recommended medication are too dangerous or that the medications themselves are intrinsically unsafe. While it is true that all medications have side effects and can be potentially dangerous, the primary medications for ADHD (commonly known as Ritalin and Adderall) have far more benefits than disadvantages. In fact, along with behavioral treatment, they are the most effective treatments available. Nevertheless, in an age where “all natural” and alternatives reign among the general population, people still buy in to the atypical treatments out there. This begs the question: do these treatments really work? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No)

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that children and adults diagnosed with ADHD be treated by chiropractic medicine. The organization makes some pretty typical pseudoscientific claims. First, they make claims that there is something wrong with the disorder itself. They claim that perhaps some kids just can’t learn some subjects as well or others and that some teachers just don’t know how to teach these kids in a way that they can understand. This is somewhat misleading because while ADHD can certainly hinder learning and academic performance, the disorder itself is not a learning disorder. Second, they claim that the diagnosis is invalid and that it is based on a questionnaire. In reality, diagnosis is a longitudinal process that comes from assessment, observation, and interviews or reports from teachers and parents. Third, they claim that the treatments with actual evidence supporting them are insufficient because they do not cure the disorder. However, it is well understood that pharmacological treatments for most mental disorders are for short-term benefit and long-term results are far more likely to come from behavioral therapy. It is also understood that ADHD isn’t something that can be cured in the same way that a bacterial infection can. The organization goes on to say things that imply that they are the ones focusing on the source of the problem, which they claim is lack of postural muscle development (the exact cause of ADHD is fairly unknown and is likely caused by several factors), instead of just the symptoms like trained mental health professionals do. Finally, the organization makes what may be one of the most defining traits of pseudoscience, anecdotal claims that their treatment works as good or better than western medicine. Of course, they are claims that have no actual experimental empirical evidence.

Perhaps someone is looking for alternative treatments for ADHD in their child because the child had an adverse reaction to Ritalin. If they found themselves at the ACA website, they would probably believe that this treatment is a viable option. The website overall is very official looking, they use big words like “chiropractic neurologist” and “musculoskeletal imbalance”, and all of the evidence and claims come from so-called doctors. Plus, who hasn’t heard of going to the chiropractor to get your back cracked? Maybe they could help with this too. In reality, these people should look to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist because there are plenty of other options besides Ritalin, both pharmacological and psychological, to effectively treat ADHD. However, they may not because they have read the negative things that the ACA has to say about the effective medications. In reality, chiropractic medicine could never treat ADHD or even help with symptoms more than a placebo could. As a whole, chiropractic medicine is nothing more than a pseudoscience that was created by a grocer and, to be honest, a scam, and a dangerous one at that. There is no empirical scientific evidence to support the use of chiropractic medicine as a treatment for ADHD or, for that matter, any other ailment that it may claim to treat except for back pain possibly.

The same case could be made for the number of other alternative treatments that are available for ADHD. Things like acupuncture and homeopathy have their basis in pseudoscience as much as chiropractic treatments do. Acupuncturists claim that their form of therapy is the ideal primary treatment for children suffering from ADHD. In fact, acupuncture has not been shown to provide anything more than a simple placebo effect. Proponents of homeopathic medicine make the same claims. They say that western medicines like Ritalin and Adderall are too dangerous and that their treatment is far more desirable. In reality, homeopathic medicine is absurd. It is based on the concepts “like cures like” and “less is more” (sounds ridiculous already, huh?). So those that create homeopathic medicines take a substance that they believe would normally cause the ailment (e.g., poison ivy oil for an itch) and then dilute it over and over again. When then finished product hits the shelves, it is nothing more than a ridiculously overpriced (and lucrative) dropper full of water.

It’s important to stay aware of these kind of pseudoscientific treatments not just for ADHD, but for any illness. Researching and having a skeptical mind is key to finding out if what you’re doing is actually accomplishing something or if you’re just wasting your time and money. There are plenty of resources out there that take these kinds of subjects, break them down, and get to the truth about their effectiveness and validity. However, if something is called alternative medicine, it probably doesn’t really work. Alternative medicine that works is just called medicine.

BellaVita
04-18-14, 04:19 PM
Pseudoscience should be banned from the world.

Great find, Amtram.

Unmanagable
04-18-14, 05:24 PM
It’s important to stay aware of these kind of pseudoscientific treatments not just for ADHD, but for any illness. Researching and having a skeptical mind is key to finding out if what you’re doing is actually accomplishing something or if you’re just wasting your time and money. There are plenty of resources out there that take these kinds of subjects, break them down, and get to the truth about their effectiveness and validity. However, if something is called alternative medicine, it probably doesn’t really work. Alternative medicine that works is just called medicine.



Speaking strictly from my personal experience, I've had more sustained actual relief from the things now labeled "alternative", that used to be considered "medicine" before they created "newer, better" synthetic versions, than I have my entire life of trying to patch and cover stuff up vs. healing from a cellular and nurturing level.

The pharmaceutical route helped me tremendously at times, especially with adhd. Without it, I wouldn't be able to navigate the rest of it nearly as well. However, with meds and psychotherapy only, I'm pretty certain I'd still be chasing my tail.

I think anyone who tries so aggressively to tell people to ignore all alternative options is just as dangerous as people claiming to "cure" anything. Articles like this add some comic relief to my day, and that helps ease my symptoms, too :) , but they're too dramatic for me to take seriously on any level. If this were reversed and the alternative viewpoint was being expressed in the same manner, I'd quickly dismiss it as well.

Once someone receives a diagnosis of any kind that leaves them seeking treatment options, spending some time and energy on recognizing bad marketing vs. chalking everything up to pseudoscience is very helpful, too.

Amtram
04-18-14, 05:27 PM
Anecdotes are not evidence. Something that makes you feel better may be nice, but it's a placebo, not a treatment, and will never be a cure.

Unmanagable
04-18-14, 05:39 PM
I didn't say anything would ever be a cure, and I did make it a point to mention it was my personal experience, not evidence that it would work for all.

There are many things that can help treat various symptoms. Medication helps me in reaching my "baseline" functioning level to seek out any of the other 'makes me feel nice' options. I think we all get hung up on terminology way too often and lose out on some meaningful and helpful pursuits.

USMCcop
04-18-14, 06:02 PM
This may be a fallacy, but I'll give it a shot. If fish oil or whatever were truly effective in treating ADHD, other disorders, or diseases the FDA would control them like other medications (not meaning scheduled drugs). If it were and I were a pharmaceutical company, I'd do a propitiatory change/blend, apply for an official drug trial and then market it.

Lunacie
04-18-14, 06:09 PM
If it isn't a case of life-or-death, there is nothing wrong with giving alternative medicine a trial.

Some old wives treatments work well: like garlic oil is often better for an earache than ototic ear drops.

Honey can soothe a sore throat without insisting the doctor give you an antibiotic.

Some of these old remedies are better than OTC "medicine."

Amtram
04-18-14, 08:15 PM
The problem is that the alternative treatments are being presented to the public as valid alternatives for medical treatments that have solid evidence and extensive testing for efficacy. They are not "treatments" for any actual condition because they have zero evidence for quantifiably relieving symptoms of the conditions and because their mechanisms are biologically implausible.

Go ahead and see one of these practitioners if it makes you feel better, but if you want something that works, they are not the people to see.

However, at this moment in time, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and homeopaths are in great part responsible for the recent upsurge in measles, mumps, and pertussis because they claim to have treatments that "work better" than vaccines and/or actively discourage their patients from vaccinating. We now have deaths from all three of these diseases and some outbreaks that number several hundred cases. So I'm even less inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, besides the mountains of evidence that none of their treatments have any significant effect on ADHD symptoms.

Lunacie
04-18-14, 10:17 PM
I agree that bogus claims of healing are despicable.

But I don't follow to the conclusion that it means there is no value in any of these alternatives.

It's sort of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Twiggy
04-19-14, 03:54 AM
What about those people diagnosed with ADHD, but cannot take any prescribed medications at all?

I'm one of those people and feel extremely let down now :(

daveddd
04-19-14, 06:20 AM
What about those people diagnosed with ADHD, but cannot take any prescribed medications at all?

I'm one of those people and feel extremely let down now :(

mindfulness is a scientifically proven treatment , some still think of it as "alternative",

daveddd
04-19-14, 06:29 AM
i think its good to debunk what is actually false , i can't say anything for sure

Corina86
04-19-14, 06:54 AM
What about those people diagnosed with ADHD, but cannot take any prescribed medications at all?

I'm one of those people and feel extremely let down now :(

I understand, but trust me, from experience: you won't feel any better after spending your money on placebos- and they too can be expensive as hell. Most medication (except that for ADHD, unfortunately) is usually cheaper than natural or homeopathic stuff. If conventional medicine doesn't find a solution, it's very very unlikely that the alternative one will.

Also, this discussion already took place in several threads, so these are my conclusions from the other discussions:
-some natural cures have been found helpful and are being incorporated into conventional medicine (like taking fish oil), some either haven't been studied or they have been found useless
-lots of studies are found online, so if you want to try anything you should try and research as much as you can into the subject
-since alternative medicine is in itself really big business, there's no Big Pharma conspiracy to keep it away from the people- they are all in it for the profit
-homeopathy and chiropathy (or whatever it's called) is bogus; no evidence has even been found to suggest it's more than placebo
-if you have nothing to lose (you're dying or there's no treatment for your disorder) and you have money, you might as well try anything, but trust conventional medicine first
-don't expect miracles- all medicine has it's limits

Amtram
04-19-14, 07:29 AM
It also begs the question of why, if these treatments work for ADHD, are people who use them looking for help on an ADHD support forum?

If these practitioners weren't misrepresenting the efficacy of their "modalities" for treatments, and weren't driving people away from effective treatments, and nobody was getting hurt, there'd be almost no issue at all. And they don't spend money on research, so the profit margin (as corina mentioned) is significantly higher than it is for "Big Pharma." The actual research into the efficacy of these treatments is generally performed by non-pharmaceutical labs, too, so it's not "Big Pharma" telling us this stuff doesn't work. In fact, one of the best-designed experiments on acupuncture was performed by a national acupuncture organization, and the results showed that poking people with toothpicks in random places was more effective in pain relief than traditional acupuncture.

None of these things help anything except subjective perceptions. When it comes to things that can be measured quantitatively, they fail conclusively.

Lunacie
04-19-14, 09:44 AM
It also begs the question of why, if these treatments work for ADHD, are people who use them looking for help on an ADHD support forum?

I seem to have missed those posts. :scratch:


If these practitioners weren't misrepresenting the efficacy of their "modalities" for treatments, and weren't driving people away from effective treatments, and nobody was getting hurt, there'd be almost no issue at all.

Yes, that's what I've been saying all along. Shame on those who do that.

But ... not every alternative medicine practioner misrepresents their skill level

or the efficacy of the alternative treatment.

Some offer their treatments in conjunction with 'scientific medicine.'

TygerSan
04-19-14, 10:05 AM
Fish oil is now available as a prescription pill for heart disease. So I guess the FDA has found it effective enough.

I think the most important thing is to be an informed consumer, regardless of treatment. If I'd listened to one of my psychiatrists, I would've been put on 4 different meds at once. Needless to say, I was very wary and said no to most.

It is harder to vet the alternative practitioners and products (especially supplements with limited oversight; FDA is far from perfect, but they do make sure that the pill you take has the active ingredient advertised on the package, something that is not guaranteed in the lower-end, lower-quality supplements).

Anecdote is not empirical evidence, that is true. Sometimes I wonder, though, what's the true harm in an alternative approach, if the consumer is informed? Money and time wasted? (That happens in both frames of reference)? Adverse health effects (being an informed consumer helps with that)?

To be clear, as a researcher, I totally understand and appreciate the OP. As a consumer, I try to be as informed as I can, while still acknowledging that science and medicine can't explain everything fully yet.

Science is all about statistics and the science of treatment efficacy is all about determining the thing that improves outcomes the most in the largest population of people.

Medicine is about applying the statistics to individual people. Scientific data may dictate that your doctor start you on Prozac as a first-line antidepressant based on efficacy studies (as a completely random example). But if you are one of the 10% of patients wh respond poorly to the drug, then you are one of the unfortunate few for whom Prozac doesn't work.

That doesn't mean that Prozac isn't great for the other 90 percent, nor that your personal experience isn't relevant.

Another example is someone who presents with psychosis, is diagnosed as schizophrenic, but is later determined to have a rare form of autoimmune encephalitis which can be treated with steroids. Very few psychotic patients respond well to such treatment and the symptoms are often missed.

In other words, population statistics only get us so far, and if you are a member of a rare group, you may well respond to a treatment that is not mainstream.

The problem I have with alternative practitioners is the over promise of success, one size fits all marketing, and overall outlandish claims of success. Preying on vulnerable populations annoys the crud out of me. But if you are an informed consumer...

Amtram
04-19-14, 10:40 AM
If you look for information on alternative medicine, you will find an abundance of practitioners offering their services as a way to avoid conventional medicine. Peruse their websites and you will see huge amounts of misinformation, much of it dangerous. The average person does not have the knowledge base to be able to sort fact from fiction. People who avoid vaccines "do their research." People who turn to homeopathy or intravenous vitamin C to cure cancer "do their research." People who bring infants to chiropractors for colic "do their research." People who give their autistic children thrice-daily bleach enemas "do their research." The list goes on and on.

I'm sorry, Lunacie, I appreciate your sentiment. I really do. However, I see that the most popular alternative providers and their most vocal advocates on the internet do not think of these things as complementary or supplemental. They promote them as real medical options. In many cases they advise or even insist that conventional medical care should be avoided in order to make the alternative approach work properly.

This type of alternative practitioner also has professionals optimizing their search engine terms. Joe Mercola, who may never have written a single truth since he started his supplement business, will dominate the first several pages for almost any disease or medication you search for. Gary Null, Mike Adams, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Oz, any number of people who profit from directing people away from licensed medical practitioners will show up earlier and more often than any legitimate information. People looking at these searches will stop after they've seen enough pieces of misinformation that agree with one another - this means that the average consumer is anything but an informed consumer. And that is why it is important to expose these practices for what they are, or people will continue to think they're a substitute for medical care.

Lunacie
04-19-14, 10:51 AM
There are a lot of people selling crap on the internet.

That doesn't mean everything on the internet is crap.

It doesn't mean that everything that is sold is crap.

I do think it's good to raise awareness about this.

I don't think it's good to use alarmist tactics to do it.

Corina86
04-19-14, 12:49 PM
You're right, Amtram. Unfortunately, plenty of advertisements for alternative medicine on the Internet are discouraging people from trying conventional treatments. Often in the form on "friendly advice" on forums or in article comments. On TV or on the radio it's a different story, because those are more heavily regulated.

@Lunacie, the issue is not with the treatments themselves. Heck, I use them myself: I drink teas and take supplements, I even have a large collection of crystals, I even practiced feng-shui in high-school (never cured anything, but it was a good reason to procrastinate important stuff). The issue is the way some advertise their stuff: they have even less ethic than pharmaceutical companies since: they help induce fear of actual medication, they claim products which haven't always been studied have no "side effects", they make false claims of success, often sustained by fake opinions and polls, they use a lot of mumbo-jumbo in their explanations, which some people mistake for scientific fact.

Unmanagable
04-19-14, 01:00 PM
Wouldn't it make more sense to spend more energy on how to be a smart consumer vs. using so much energy on degrading and dismissing any alternative method that may actually help people? Any route can be non-productive, dangerous, and misleading in many ways. How we navigate it is critical. Companies, regardless of their titles and intent, are in it for the money. They present all of their info hoping you'll take the bait. The commercials and ads for the pharmaceuticals are increasing daily, too. How can medical professionals even keep up with the rapid production of so much stuff?

Dizfriz
04-19-14, 01:18 PM
One of the problems with alternative treatments (I am going to focus on supplements) for ADHD is that, for whatever reasons, they sometimes will work for a few. Most though get no benefit.

This is the fuel that drives much of the marketing for these products. When you look, they are filled with testimonials. Even if honestly reported (and often they are made up) testimonials are a good way of separating people from their money.

Now it is true that sometimes the products seem to work for a number of reasons. The point is that if they work, they work for just a very few. The placebo effect can be very powerful and some may if fact show a deficit in some substances.

There are good reasons that medications are so often advised....They work for most! Even such established treatments as omega 3 do not work for all that many but some form of the standard medications will work for almost 90%.

So if a product seems to be too good to be true and if all their evidence is in the form of testimonials or studies offered by the people selling the product, I would advise caution. Something to consider, if their product had such wonderful results, why is not the world beating a path to their door?

I have been looking into this stuff for quite a few years and so far the only supplement I have that much of a chance is omega 3 and again that does not work for most. The rest have pretty much all turned out to be oil of snake.

So if you are one of those who an alternative treatment helps great, otherwise caution should be the order of the day.

Trying to learn to type on a ergonomic keyboard. A pain...a necessary one but still a pain

Dizfriz

Unmanagable
04-19-14, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by Dizfriz:
I have been looking into this stuff for quite a few years and so far the only supplement I have that much of a chance is omega 3 and again that does not work for most. The rest have pretty much all turned out to be oil of snake.

So if you are one of those who an alternative treatment helps great, otherwise caution should be the order of the day.

Right. But if I immediately dismissed trying any alternative treatments based on the logic I've read here, I'd never know the relief I experience. Not everyone will have the same results. That's a given.

I've personally had more bad and scary experiences with pharmaceuticals being prescribed by psychiatrists and doctors. That greatly influences my decisions, and will continue to do so. However, I never tell people to totally disregard medical guidance and strictly follow alternative methods.

Telling people to choose medical vs. alternative based on numbers of studies may seem "safe" to many, and that's cool for them, but I feel it's non-productive and harmful to aggressively push in either direction and totally dismiss the other.

People simply cannot know if something will work for their particular issues unless they try it. All of the FDA approved drugs that have been recalled were once considered safe and effective, too. The companies have the $$ to pay off lawsuits and get right back to business.

Amtram
04-19-14, 08:03 PM
Missing the point. These are not treatments for the symptoms. They are not medicine. They should not be promoted as alternative medical treatments for the symptoms, especially if they discourage people from seeking legitimate medical advice - which happens all. the. time.

Unmanagable
04-19-14, 10:45 PM
I'm not missing a thing, really. These methods, along with meds, have been the most effective treatments for various symptoms that I deal with in regards to several issues, including adhd, therefore have had positive medicinal effects for me, and continue to, which is my main concern and focus.

meadd823
04-20-14, 05:12 AM
It also begs the question of why, if these treatments work for ADHD, are people who use them looking for help on an ADHD support forum?

If these practitioners weren't misrepresenting the efficacy of their "modalities" for treatments, and weren't driving people away from effective treatments, and nobody was getting hurt, there'd be almost no issue at all. And they don't spend money on research, so the profit margin (as corina mentioned) is significantly higher than it is for "Big Pharma." The actual research into the efficacy of these treatments is generally performed by non-pharmaceutical labs, too, so it's not "Big Pharma" telling us this stuff doesn't work. In fact, one of the best-designed experiments on acupuncture was performed by a national acupuncture organization, and the results showed that poking people with toothpicks in random places was more effective in pain relief than traditional acupuncture.

None of these things help anything except subjective perceptions. When it comes to things that can be measured quantitatively, they fail conclusively.


Crap some things just beg for a response - If looking for support on a support forum means your methods of treatment isn't working you just shot your own argument into the freaking toilet -ADD Medication has an entire section dedicated to it and many of the most common drugs have their own category where as alternative treatment approaches has a little bitty section some where around here. . .


Maybe I should mention that all medical experimentation is measured against what is called the placebo effect - Double blinding is done so the one administering as well as the one taking the treatment does not know if they are getting the actual treatment or not so their perception doesn't effect the measurement of treatment effectiveness out come. Meaning that not only is the person receiving treatment effected by belief in effectiveness or the lack there of but the practitioner can be a source of perception biases for both themselves and their patients. If perception and believe have no actual effect then there would be no need for double blinding. . . .





I never really understood this all or nothing approach any way - What is wrong with taking medication and trying fish oil or meditation . . .There are charlatans on both sides of the proverbial court - Picking apart research was a hobby when I had the time it really isn't that difficult to do.

Medication research is often done on a participant selection bias.

Some folks biochemistry does not gel will with a particular chemical effect

Some folks simply have personal moral issues with it's use and that should be a personal choice. . . .


For thousands of years what you call alternative medicine WAS ALL THERE WAS TO MEDICINE which is ironic.

Time wise modern day medicine is the alternative medicine as it is much less tested by time than many of the "alternative practices"

If you think pressure points are fake then you have never dabbled in martial arts - The same points use for healing, relaxation with gentle gradual touch can be hit hard suddenly to bring some one to their knees.


True meds help me but equally true is that they do not have the same helpful effect on every one.

True I believe in better living though modern chemistry but equally true is the fact not every one shares that belief but I am okay with that.


Speaking of profit grubbing charlatans, many are not being driven away from modern medicine by alternative therapy claims but are being denied access to modern medicine by the high cost and limited financial availability. . . $1200.00 may seem like a lot for a biofeedback back machine until one considers last year I spent $2000.00 on my adderall prescription alone - This is not counting cost of appointments as my ADD doc gives me huge breaks most here do not get.

sarahsweets
04-20-14, 09:09 AM
The way I look it is this way. If any of these treatments produce a placebo effect and that somehow works thats ok with me. What is not ok with me is when alt treatments are promoted as a cure. I have been trying acupuncture for stress relief and it helps. It does nothing for pain, adhd, or any other health problems but that hour I get in a zen environment has done wonders for my mental health placebo or not.

Dizfriz
04-20-14, 10:10 AM
I believe that whatever works works. If it works for the individual, then by all means continue to use it but as with all treatments with some caution.

Keep in mind though that for the very great majority, these alternative treatments simply don't work and some can be dangerous.

The problem is when attempts are made to generalize this to all especially by those trying to make a buck.

Look on Amazon and just put "treat ADHD"(1,627 hits) "ADHD treatment" (3,635 hits) or even the more extreme "cure ADHD" (328 hits) into the search engine and see how many nostrums, potions, treatments and cures come up.

While I take a somewhat different approach from Amtram on this, the above Amazon stats are a strong argument for her stance.

Dizfriz

anonymouslyadd
04-20-14, 02:47 PM
Are people drawing an opinion using all pieces of the 250 piece puzzle, or are people only using 25? It's always best to look at the big picture, instead of a snapshot.

Sure, alternative treatments may help some, but overall, they cannot contend with the benefits of general medicine. That's the point.

anonymouslyadd
04-20-14, 03:41 PM
An article (https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=60)(see an excerpt below) on the American Chiropractic Association's website on ADD is disturbing. In the very first paragraph, the author paints two pictures of ADD treatment: traditional medicine is bad and chiropractic care is "promising."

The article claims that non-drug treatments, involving "postural muscles, nutrition and lifestyle changes affect brain activity." Maybe that's true, but so will a Victoria's Secret show. Seriously, can those "changes" cure, treat or relieve the impact of ADD symptoms? That is the issue.
In the past decade, prescriptions for Ritalin, a stimulant medication commonly used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), increased five-fold, with 90 percent of all prescriptions worldwide consumed in the United States. As many parents grow leery of the traditional medical approach to ADHD, doctors of chiropractic are offering promising results with non-drug treatments that focus on postural muscles, nutrition and lifestyle changes that affect brain activity.
During my ADD journey, I tried biofeedback, natural pills and other non-medicinal forms of treatment. None produced the results of traditional medicine. Traditional medicine yields overwhelmingly better results than alternative treatments.

While practitioners of alternative medicine would like us to believe that they are angels, mandated with the mission to defend us from the evils of traditional medicine and pharmaceutical companies, making money on the poor, how many of us realize that the US consumer spent over $33 billion dollars on alternative treatments (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/financial), in 2007? I'm all for people making a profit but not by misleading the public.

Corina86
04-22-14, 02:04 PM
I'd be much more in favour of "alternative" medicine, if it wouldn't be called alternative at all, but "supplementary" or "complementary" therapies. If I'm not mistaking, in most countries, calling something a cure or a treatment is illegal unless you can provide evidence that it works; until then it's called a "supplement". For this reason, I appreciate TV ads - they are extremely well regulated and encourage people to have a healthy diet and consult with the physician before taking anything.

I have seen a lot of stuff, that is purely outrageous, including herbs that were advertised as a sure cancer cure or dubious pills to help lose weight or grow bigger breasts. The big danger with the supplements/complementary therapies market is that it's extremely unregulated and unsupervised and odd of coming across a scam or, even worse, a dangerous product are big, at least for the vast majority of uninformed consumers. Better laws regarding marketing and selling and the "natural alternatives to Adderal" should come off the market.

Amtram
04-22-14, 08:01 PM
In essence, it's not an alternative unless it produces a comparable result.

Lunacie
04-22-14, 08:26 PM
In essence, it's not an alternative unless it produces a comparable result.

I had not considered that narrow of a definition of "alternative" in regards to treating health problems.

Amtram
04-23-14, 09:10 AM
Going strictly by dictionary definition:
adjective
adjective: alternative


1.
(of one or more things) available as another possibility.
"the various alternative methods for resolving disputes"

noun
noun: alternative; plural noun: alternatives
1.
one of two or more available possibilities.
"audiocassettes are an interesting alternative to reading"


In medicine, that means that the end result must be, at the very least, similar. If you have a disease that has multiple drug treatments, but they all treat the disease or its symptoms, then they are alternatives to one another. Crestor is an alternative to Lipitor. Pradaxa is an alternative to Warfarin.

In some cases, there are alternatives from different kinds of treatments. Physical therapy or exercise can be an alternative to surgery for certain (very limited) types of joint pain.

In all these cases, the alternatives address the same goal and share similar criteria for success. In one study that I can't seem to lay my hands on, an "alternative" treatment was tested against prednisone for asthma symptoms. The subjective responses from the trial participants was that they "felt better" regardless of what treatment they received. However, in tests that measured actual air volume, there was significant measurable improvement with prednisone, and no measurable change with the alternative. Ergo, the treatment was not an alternative to prednisone, because it did not produce the same result (improvement in breathing function.)

Lunacie
04-23-14, 09:36 AM
That would be your definition of alternative medicine.

Here's what the National Institute of Health says:

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care. Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, practice.

Complementary medicine is used together with standard medical care. An example is using acupuncture to help with side effects of cancer treatment.

Alternative medicine is used in place of standard medical care. An example is treating heart disease with chelation therapy (which seeks to remove excess metals from the blood) instead of using a standard approach.

The claims that CAM treatment providers make can sound promising. However, researchers do not know how safe many CAM treatments are or how well they work. Studies are underway to determine the safety and usefulness of many CAM practices.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/complementaryandalternativemedicine.html

As I said before, it is wrong in most cases to claim alternative medicine provides the same result.

I have had alternative treatments, and given alternative treatments myself, and considered them to be complementary.

One osteopath was amazed at the speed of healing I accomplished using Reiki treatments on a finger that had been treated surgically after being broken, dislocated and the tendon damaged.

Another osteopath was more familiar with Reiki healing and encouraged me to use it when I broke my arm bone near the shoulder. Again I healed more quickly than I would have.

And I was amazed at the efficacy of acupuncture in treating my chronic daily migraines.

I haven't actually tried to use Reiki to improve my ADHD, but I think it would be comparable to meditation, which has shown some promise.

Amtram
04-23-14, 10:15 AM
There is a lot more politics than science behind that citation. NCCAM was created by a Senator over the objections of pretty much the entire scientific community, and the definitions provided have nothing to do with demonstrable evidence.

From your quote: Alternative medicine is used in place of standard medical care. An example is treating heart disease with chelation therapy (which seeks to remove excess metals from the blood) instead of using a standard approach. This is a clear example of an alternative that is not an alternative because it doesn't work. Heart disease is not caused by heavy metal poisoning, so there is no reason to treat it with a therapy for heavy metal poisoning. In this particular example, in fact, chelating an individual who has heart disease can kill him. That would make it not an alternative.

meadd823
04-27-14, 04:38 AM
Again I do not understand the all or nothing approach no matter which side of the fence one is sitting - this purposes that one who uses an "alternative" approach would automatically reject the use of main stream medicine - As Lunacie pointed out many people use BOTH . . . .with good results.

I take medication and use altered conscious states to treat my ADD - Long term successful ADD treatment for me is always

E) All of the above

BellaVita
04-27-14, 05:24 AM
Are there any alternative treatments success stories threads?

USMCcop
04-27-14, 06:13 AM
:lol::lol:

You're going nuts.

USMCcop
04-27-14, 07:11 AM
Sorry, wrong thread.

Unmanagable
04-27-14, 12:35 PM
Are there any alternative treatments success stories threads?

Probably not because of the borderline hateful backlash that gets tossed around anytime someone tries to introduce the possibility of something "alternative" being effective for them as an individual. And then you have the varied personal definitions of what success really is.

I consider all of my threads and posts to be an example of being an alternative treatment success story because my ability to function is a result of my combined efforts. I thrive on combining meds and other supplemental and complementary methods that get lost in the language of the term "alternative".

Dizfriz
04-27-14, 12:50 PM
Probably not because of the borderline hateful backlash that gets tossed around anytime someone tries to introduce the possibility of something "alternative" being effective for them as an individual. And then you have the varied personal definitions of what success really is.

I consider all of my threads and posts to be an example of being an alternative treatment success story because my ability to function is a result of my combined efforts. I thrive on combining meds and other supplemental and complementary methods that get lost in the language of the term "alternative".
I suspect that much of the backlash against "alternative" treatments are the claims that accompany them. So many are touted as "cures", "successful treatments" and such with nothing to back them up. For many of these it just someone trying to make a buck and many of the claims are simply dishonest, no other way to describe them.

There is no doubt that for some, taking alternative treatments do seem to help and I have no problem with that. If it works, it works but so much of the alternative field is pure snake oil and all to many go down the snake oil trail and forgo known effective treatments. Not a good thing especially with children.

When someone posts that they tried this treatment and it helped , go for it. When someone pushes the alternative as good for all, I get reactive as I should in my opinion.

So if anyone finds something that helps them, that is great. Let others know about it, it might be of help to some but keep in mind that what may help a few is not necessarily appropriate for most.

Just some thoughts,

Dizfriz

Unmanagable
04-27-14, 01:00 PM
I don't recall ever saying anything I've tried will work for ALL, yet I feel smothered by useless criticism when I try to discuss it. I can't speak for other posters who've shared their experiences, but even when "alternative" options are not discussed as something that will help everyone, they still get hammered in a tone that discourages others, in my opinion. Just some additional thoughts.....

Dizfriz
04-27-14, 01:56 PM
I don't recall ever saying anything I've tried will work for ALL, yet I feel smothered by useless criticism when I try to discuss it. I can't speak for other posters who've shared their experiences, but even when "alternative" options are not discussed as something that will help everyone, they still get hammered in a tone that discourages others, in my opinion. Just some additional thoughts.....
You may be taking this a little more personal than necessary. It is a simple fact that many have come here touting their "cure" for ADHD and it is seen so much out there in the public that many have become reactive, perhaps overly so, to this. Keep in mind that so many of these cure type things have been examined many times and shown to be mostly bogus and the reactions tend to be quick and terse.

I know when I see this, I tend to ask rather quickly for evidence over and beyond one person's personal experience.

I have always supported the idea of whatever works, works and as long as it works for you, I have no problem with it.

If you want to propose some alternative treatments for ADHD I will be glad to discuss them as fairly as I can.

I can only speak for myself in this though and will have to leave it with that.

Dizfriz

Unmanagable
04-27-14, 02:42 PM
LOL *sighs*

You may be taking this a little more personal than necessary.

chikkaccino
05-05-14, 03:55 PM
I've seen some horrifying "alternative treatments" being peddled off to desperate parents for their kids.

I'm in a weird place. I have two kids, twins. One has high functioning classical autism and I also suspect he has an underlying ADHD condition that I'm going to talk to his pediatrician about. The other, has high functioning Aspergers and ADHD.

I'm a strong believer based on evidence of behavioral therapies and medicine. I know sometimes one works, the other doesn't, and the need for the combination of the two at times.

In my searches I've found some straight up horrific "alternative" cures that make my blood curdle. People pushing biomeds and chelation (a kid died during one of those "therapies") where all you need is a degree in nutrition, a 13-hour seminar, a pledge you agree to the practice, and $250 a year in fees for any quack to push what they want.

Bleach enimas to cure autism (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bleaching-away-what-ails-you/).

If you want to subject yourself to that kind of nonsense, it's all good. But there are people subjecting their kids to this stuff and claiming cures, which I highly doubt. And then they try to push it on other people. Some of those people that might be gullible or desperate enough to do it.

I came across this dark side just looking up "floortime therapy" -- a proven behavioral method I was interested in implementing at home, and was shocked how many more people were looking into the quackery instead.

It's just downright frightening.

LynneC
05-09-14, 09:27 AM
This may be a fallacy, but I'll give it a shot. If fish oil or whatever were truly effective in treating ADHD, other disorders, or diseases the FDA would control them like other medications (not meaning scheduled drugs). If it were and I were a pharmaceutical company, I'd do a propitiatory change/blend, apply for an official drug trial and then market it.
They have, and it's called Lovaza... (to lower triglycerides)
http://www.lovaza.com/

Amtram
05-09-14, 09:40 AM
There's more to it than simply creating a proprietary blend. Go to Scientific American dot com, look at the blog Curious Wavefunction, and read the four-part series on Why Drug Discovery is Hard (first part is called Why Drugs are So Expensive, though) and you'll see that it's a lot more than just taking a substance and packaging it differently. Plus, it provides further information why supplements and neutraceuticals and such don't do as much as they claim, because the series explains how the pharmaceuticals are tested and designed to send the active chemical directly to the place it's needed rather than hoping it simply "gets absorbed into the system."

dvdnvwls
05-09-14, 12:46 PM
I don't recall ever saying anything I've tried will work for ALL, yet I feel smothered by useless criticism when I try to discuss it. I can't speak for other posters who've shared their experiences, but even when "alternative" options are not discussed as something that will help everyone, they still get hammered in a tone that discourages others, in my opinion. Just some additional thoughts.....
I have not ever seen a discussion thread here where someone with the attitude "I'm not making wild claims but this really works for me" was smothered by criticism. (Now, if someone said those words but appeared to in fact be here to promote a proprietary product, I would jump straight down their throat, I admit. I'm talking about a person who's clearly being honest and not disingenuous.) Could you point me to some please?

ginniebean
05-09-14, 01:10 PM
If anything this forum is drowning in alternative conversations. Or they would be if people didn't decide if you don't agree with them you're a mortal enemy. That sort of thing not only makes people avoid having any discussion, it makes it impossible.

It's kind of sad when people don't even know what the recommended treatments are or why they are even recommended.

Unmanagable
05-09-14, 01:56 PM
I'm not going to spend time and energy going through all of my posts only to get fired up about the BS again. I can't duplicate my feelings as I read a response for you to genuinely understand where I'm coming from. If it were that easy, you'd already get it.

There's clearly triggers in these areas for me that I do better to steer clear of, even though I don't listen to that particular inner voice very often, especially once the trigger trips.

I don't do well researching, I don't retain what I read, I don't express myself well, I don't process the hard core academia stuff well, and when I feel "attacked", be it intentionally or not, I get even worse at all of the above.

But I do know the feeling when something labeled as "alternative" works for me, regardless of what a book, or a study, or an individual says. That's all I'm trying to share with people when I introduce something that has worked for me. I'm not trying to con people, etc.

Maybe it's all way too personal and I become irrational and out of line, but I don't think so. I feel it gets heated in all directions and people do go over the top because of what they believe, be it facts or experience. I have learned that this part of the forum isn't the place for me to try to express myself.

Either way, it's how I feel and it's valid to me. I know it's obvious to at least a few others, as they've discussed and expressed similar feelings with me that they don't feel comfortable either. At least I know it isn't just me. I choose to not spend my energy on trying to further validate my feelings.

ginniebean
05-09-14, 02:15 PM
I for one have never felt you have tried to con anyone. I personally have no problem with people who wish to use alternative ideas.

I do have a problem when people insist that their "treatment" be tried first even when it's been shown to not work or has never been trialed for effectiveness.

All too often that is the case on these forums.

Amtram
05-09-14, 02:41 PM
The problem is not people who say "it worked for me." The problem is people who say "Big Pharma is a con game, this thing that I'm selling is one of those things that they don't want you to know about!"

JJJJJJJJJJ
09-25-14, 02:09 PM
From "Great Plains Skeptic":

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).... Like many mental disorders, ADHD is very treatable. Many decades of empirical evidence has shown that with pharmacological treatments, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, adults and children diagnosed with ADHD can have fairly typical lives. In fact, there are several options available for each kind of treatment because some medications may be harmful to certain individuals or some therapies may be more suitable for some than others. However, in an age where doctors, therapists, and big medicine are endlessly perceived as the bad guys that can’t and shouldn’t be trusted, there are alternative treatments as well. ...

It’s important to stay aware of these kind of pseudoscientific treatments not just for ADHD, but for any illness. Researching and having a skeptical mind is key to finding out if what you’re doing is actually accomplishing something or if you’re just wasting your time and money. There are plenty of resources out there that take these kinds of subjects, break them down, and get to the truth about their effectiveness and validity. However, if something is called alternative medicine, it probably doesn’t really work. Alternative medicine that works is just called medicine.

People who babel along those likes will virtually never discuss the underlying cause(s) for a person's symptoms. They like to discuss "treatment" for symptoms, treatments that the person will likely need to take for a long time or the remainder of one's life.

That is the manta of mainstream medicine and Big Pharma. They don't make nearly as much $ if the person is actually cured of the underlying problem(s)!

Compare that view or philosophy of medicine with Functional Medicine. (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=site&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.functionalmedicine.org%2FWha t_is_Functional_Medicine%2FAboutFM%2F) Dr Mark Hyman as a young doctor was disabled with chronic fatigue, brain fog, poor mood, and much more. His previously exceptional memory was gone. In this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjnGWSyxWJ0) he explains what happened when he went to mainstream doctors. In his book, The Ultra Mind Solution, he says he went to ten other doctors before someone realized that a heavy metal problem, especially mercury, was heavily involved in his medical problems.

One thing about our ADD problem is certain. It is not caused by a lack of Adderall or Ritalin in the brain!

Don't misinterpret me, I'm not opposed to taking modest amounts of medicine, especially if a person is disabled or a danger to oneself or others. I took modest doses of Adderall with generally good results for over five years. ( I just had to avoid caffeine or I'd be like a crazy Meth addict ) The low dose Adderall felt even more normal when taken along with various supplements, especially support catecholamines and acetylcholine and an iron-containing multi.

I was grateful for the medication while I was also looking at underlying cause(s). In my case a heavy metal problem was involved.

There is so much good information now on how the body makes various brain chemicals. Oxidative stress from toxins damage brain cell membranes, various receptors, etc. This clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDnfeIwd0wI)from the U of Calgary is a striking example.

With advances in genetics we are learning more about how variations in genes can lead to abnormal production of various body chemicals. We may be able to take action to assist the body to make needed chemicals or assist with the breakdown of others.

We can learn about the body's natural "recipes" for various chemicals associated with mood, learning, etc.

Proponents of mainstream medicine and Big Pharma will say there is no "proof" that supplements work. What they usually mean is there has not been a gazillion $ study of the supplement like a pharmaceutical company needs to do before getting a drug approved. Who is going to fund such a study, some Chinese company making a supplement? How well did Merck's gazillion $ study of Vioxx serve us?

One of my biggest lessons from the last 15 years of my life is to not treat anyone like a medical god, especially a benevolent one! That includes "alternative" doctors. I learned that I need to take some responsibility for my situation and do my homework. Groups such as ours can be a helpful source of leads. Various doctors can make a valuable contribution to my health--or they can mess it up even more.

We are left to learn about how the body actually works and take reasonable action to help it to work as well as it can in our polluted environment.