Meditation and Childhood ADHD

It’s no secret that meditation has a plethora of benefits to offer. From reducing depression, to improving the quality of one’s sleep [1], it’s already established to be a fantastic solution to emotionally based problems. Now, according to an experiment’s protocol published on BMC Psychology’s website [2], it seems Dutch researchers are going to be exploring its effects on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

The type of meditation most often considered by psychiatrists and psychologists is mindfulness meditation. We’ve written about it in the past as a useful psychological tool. To best begin to understand what mindfulness meditation is, it’s perhaps best to start with what mindfulness is. The University of Massachusetts’ Medical School has a wonderful Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program with a heavily comprehensive FAQ that states [3]:

It is the intention to pay attention to each and every moment of our life, non-judgmentally. While there are many possible definitions, the key aspects of any definition of mindfulness involve purposeful action, focused attention, grounded in the current experience, and held with a sense of curiosity.

In considering that, it becomes rather trivial to piece together what one means by mindfulness meditation. Focusing inward on being non-judgmental; being with your thoughts without putting anything extraneous on them.

Why is Researching This Important?

The first reason is the increase in interest and exploration into the effectiveness of alternative treatments. With more and more calling out to have a say in their healthcare it becomes paramount to better understand where these sorts of things are as effective traditional medical care. With countries like Switzerland set to require insurance cover these treatments within the next year, we’re seeing a mad dash to sort it out.

Beyond this though, is the price of treatment for ADHD. The authors point out readily just how necessary it is to change our paradigm because of the costs, both financial and health:

[…] it was estimated that medical costs per child with ADHD is $1079 during a period of 14¬†months, whereas costs for behavioral treatment per child with ADHD is $7176 during that same period of time. Nevertheless, concerns about the frequency of methylphenidate prescriptions and its possible disadvantages are rising increasingly. These concerns are with good reason, given the literature on the substantial limitations of (stimulant) medication for ADHD. First, usage of stimulant medication may result in side effects such as insomnia, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, headache, anxiety, stress, and nervousness.

To break that down a bit: to treat a child without reliance on medication currently costs upwards of $7,000 per patient. To do so with drugs (in this analysis, ritalin) the  still costs over $1,000, and comes with a lengthy list of side effects. It would be fantastic to be able to meet these needs by teaching the children effective coping strategies.

For more news on this, check out the experimental protocol published here and stay tuned for the results! Or, if you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, check out our article on its effects on depression!

[1] Journal of Psychosomatic Research
[2] BMC Psychiatry
[3] University of Massachusetts
[Original Image] Pixabay User: jarmoluk

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