Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly abbreviated as ADHD, is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Everyone experiences these kind of things at one point or another, but in ADHD they are frequent and severe enough that they interfere with daily life. While it is best known as a disorder that affects children, and is in fact the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder, it can also persist into adulthood and continue to affect life far beyond school. The symptoms of ADHD often change over the course of one's life, so adults may experience the disorder differently and benefit from a different treatment regimen than children.
The causes of ADHD are complex and not yet fully understood. Scientists have determined that there is a genetic component, meaning that the disorder runs in families, but there are a number of other factors that contribute to it as well. These other factors include exposure to environmental toxins and contaminants either during pregnancy (smoking, alcohol/drug use by the mother, etc.) or afterward (such as ingesting lead or other dangerous substances), low birth weight, head injuries during early childhood, and various psychosocial factors. Experts believe that the majority of cases feature some combination of these things, where a genetic predisposition to developing ADHD is "activated" by the presence of one or more of the aforementioned environmental triggers. Interestingly, the genetic component of ADHD is believed to overlap to some extent with genes responsible for other neurological disorders, including autism.
There is no permanent cure for ADHD, only treatments that minimize its symptoms, improve functioning, and help those with the disorder to lead more normal lives. There are several different medications available to treat ADHD, though these are not always effective (up to 30% of those taking stimulants show no significant improvements) and may cause unwanted side-effects. Because of this, 60-65% of parents whose child has been diagnosed with ADHD seek out some form of complementary alternative medicine. The list of treatments presented here is intended to help those who are looking for this kind of solution, either to use in conjunction with medication or as a replacement for it.