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Spending time in nature, a natural remedy for ADHD

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Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) should spend some quality time outdoors when they are not in school, according to a nationwide study.

By The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reported in Scienceblog Posted Jan 27, 2009

Researchers observed the positive effects spending time outdoors had on ADHD patients in different regions of the country. Participants, ages 5-18, spent time in “green” areas, which varied from big cities to rural settings. The results indicated a dramatic reduction in symptoms. Researchers believe that simply incorporating nature with regular after-school and weekend activities could be widely effective.

In the United States, ADHD affects one in every 14 children — which is equivalent to one or two in each classroom. About 2 million school-aged children and as many as 4 percent of adults experience the symptoms of ADHD. Those with the neurological disorder usually have problems in school, work and relationships. They often suffer from depression and substance abuse.

Researchers recruited the parents of 322 boys and 84 girls, all diagnosed with ADHD, through ads in major newspapers and the Internet.

  • Activities were conducted in a variety of areas, including indoors, parking lots, downtown areas, tree-lined streets, back yards and parks.
  • Researchers then asked parents, through online interviews, how their children performed during a wide range of activities.
  • Reports indicated that symptoms were reduced most in green outdoor settings, even when the same activities were compared across different settings.
  • In 56 different comparisons, activities in “green areas” had more positive responses than activities in other settings. In 54 of the 56, the difference was significant, signaling that the findings were consistent.

Those involved with the study are excited with the results and hope they will lead to more research and potential treatment.

While medications for ADHD work for most kids, experts point out that they are expensive and can have serious side effects, including loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. Society often places negative labels upon children with ADHD. Even more disheartening, about 10 percent of ADHD children don’t even respond to medication, which is the most popular form of conventional treatment.

Researchers said that exposing ADHD children to nature is an affordable, healthy method of controlling symptoms.

They suggest daily doses of “green time” can supplement medications and other traditional treatments of ADHD.

  • Spending time in ordinary urban nature — a tree-lined street, a green yard or neighborhood park may offer additional relief from ADHD symptoms when medications aren’t enough.
  • Some kids might be able to substitute a “green dose” for their afternoon pill, making it easier to get a good night’s sleep.

Increasing “green time” can be done by:

  • Choosing a greener route for the walk to school
  • Doing classwork or homework outside or at a window with a relatively green view
  • Playing in a green yard or ball field at recess and after school

This article is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as reported in Scienceblog

Posted in Connect with Nature Tags , , ,
  • Natural health

    Cooped in rooms and cubicles is a sureshot way of inviting all sort of disorders. Get out and embrace nature for your sake.

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