Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. It’s more common in boys than in girls. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention. These behaviors interfere with school and home life.
Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.
Causes of ADHD have remained unknown. There are several main research areas that include heredity, chemical imbalance in the brain, brain disorder, poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, substance abuse during pregnancy, and toxins. Symptoms include poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity which is having trouble waiting for his or her turn, blurting out answers, and interrupting others.
Despite wide use of medications for ADHD, there is concern about their safety, side effect and long-time effectiveness. In addition, some children and adults do not respond or show a poor response to stimulants, and some of them cannot tolerate it.
How can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture has proven to be effective in treating patients with ADHD in some clinical studies.
Zhang et al. conducted a clinical trial on the efficacy of acupuncture versus Chinese herbal treatments on young children with ADHD. The participants were divided into three groups. The first group received acupuncture, with 20 minutes per session. The second group received Chinese medicine. The third group received neither acupuncture nor Chinese medicine. The effective rates in the acupuncture group and the Chinese medicine group were nearly 85% and 79%, respectively.
In another study, a total of 100 children with ADHD were equally divided into two groups: acupuncture plus biofeedback, and biofeedback only. Biofeedback is a way to train areas of the brain involved in arousal and focus. Acupuncture plus biofeedback achieved a 92% total effective rate. Children receiving only biofeedback achieved an 83% total effective rate. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that acupuncture plus biofeedback therapy was more effective in patients with ADHD than biofeedback therapy only.
In a nutshell, the researchers concluded that acupuncture increased the efficacy of biofeedback treatments and was also effective as a standalone therapy for children with ADHD.
- HealthMCi. 2016. Acupuncture Improves Outcomes For Children With ADHD. http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1647-acupuncture-improves-outcomes-for-children-with-adhd. (Assessed 24 February 2017).
- He CD, Lang BX, Jin LQ, Li B. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treated with scalp acupuncture and EEG biofeedback therapy in children: a randomized controlled trial. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2014 Dec;34(12):1179-83.
- NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 72. National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK). Leicester (UK): British Psychological Society (UK); 2009.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Management of ADHD in Children, Young People and Adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53656/