How to Treat Attention Deficit Disorder

 How to avoid medication and instead, use environment to treat ADD symptoms in kids and adults

Sanaz Majd, MD
1-minute read

The treatment of ADD falls into two main approaches: improving the environment, and giving medications. Of the two, the pills get the attention, but the environment is a lot more important.

The following things can improve the environment for a person with ADD:

  • Use Structure -- In general, people with ADD have a hard time staying on task and so they do better in a structured setting with clear expectations. 

  • Switch it Up --  Boredom is the enemy. That is why boys with ADD have no problem focusing on video games; these games change a lot and are constantly exciting.

  • Minimize Distractions -- Kids with ADD do better when they sit in the front of the classroom because there are fewer opportunities for distraction. 

  • Be Clear -- Vague or complicated instructions need to be avoided. Breaking tasks down to smaller parts and checking off each part when done helps a lot. A small number of long-term deadlines are not as good as many shorter-term ones. Get-it-Done Guy has a great tip on providing context that can be adapted for this situation.

  • Provide Supervision -- Kids with ADD do much better in a smaller classroom where they can be brought back on task. The same is true for adults.

ADD image courtesy of Shutterstock

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.