Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Childhood Attention and Hyperactivity Problems

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ABSTRACT.To determine the prevalence and factors associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use for childhood attention and hyperactivity problems, we surveyed parents of children referred for evaluation of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Parents indicated whether they had used CAM therapies (e.g., acupuncture, nutritional supplements) in the past year and rated how important different reasons were in making their therapy decisions. Overall, 62 of 114 (54%) parents reported using CAM, most commonly expressive therapies, vitamins, and dietary manipulation, to treat their child’s attention problems. Parents who used CAM rated a “natural therapy” and “having more control over treatments” significantly more important in their choice of therapy than parents who did not use CAM. Only 11% of parents discussed using CAM with their child’s physician. Because parents often use CAM to treat their child’s attention and hyperactivity problems without their pediatrician’s knowledge, pediatricians need to initiate discussions of CAM use with patients and families.

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