Managing ADHD with Essential Oils
Over the last week, I’ve had a lot of Mums ask me which essential oils we use for Sarah’s* ADHD. I thought it would be a great idea to share what oils have worked for us in this week's blog.
I have been using essential oils for the last decade. I used them throughout my three my pregnancies and labours and had amazing results; especially in childbirth! But once my pregnancy would end, I would always stop using the oils. I might use a bit of tea-tree oil now and again on cuts and insect bites, or use lavender to help me sleep. But it only seemed to be something that I would turn to when I was pregnant.
12 months ago a good friend suggested that I try essential oils on Sarah for her ADHD. We had pretty much tried every type of natural remedy going and various types of medication, but for us, nothing was working. My friend sent me some information about ADHD and essential oils and recommended some other oils that may help Sarah. I will be eternally grateful to her, because for us, the essential oils along with some other key changes, turned out to be a miracle for our family!
When I first received the oils, Sarah had recently come off medication for both ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Her behaviour was so out of control that I honestly didn't know where to start. These were dark times as we adjusted to a different child, but it was also the first time that we began to accept Sarah for who she was. There was nothing else to fall back on, so we had to step forward into unknown territory. During this time I was being called into the school most days. Her Teacher would ask me what we could do about her behaviour, how we could manage it and how we could stop her from hiding in the toilets and trying to escape. I honestly had no idea, but if she did, please could she let me know as we were having the same problems at home!
About a week after we started using the essential oils on Sarah, I went in to see her teacher and she told me that Sarah had been fantastic! She said she was calmer, less hyper and more focused and asked if we had started medicating her again. I told her that we had been using essential oils, and she started laughing and said; “Well, there is no way it can be that”!
We also noticed these changes at home and for the first time in a long time, the dark cloud that was following our little family was finally starting to blow away. I will be honest and say that I wasn't sure if the oils were simply a placebo effect, but I have come to learn that they are so much more than that.
The oils have helped Sarah with her impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattentiveness. They have also helped her with other symptoms that often come with ADHD, which for us was anxiety, sadness, and low self-esteem, anger and sleep problems. We have five oils that Sarah uses every day, and then we use other oils for different things, depending on how Sarah is feeling and acting.
For Sarah's ADHD we use Vetiver and Cedarwood, these were proven to help ADHD children in a study compiled by Dr Terry Friedman (link here). We also use Balance which is a grounding oil; it helps with relaxation, anxiety and can promote feelings of tranquillity. Next, we use Lavender Bliss which is fabulous for calming, helping with sleep and it releases tension and calms the mind (I also use this on Sarah at night as it helps her to go to sleep). Sarah uses the oils every morning, just a few drops of each one on her pulse points on her wrists and neck. She often inhales them too. When she seems anxious, or there is the change in her routine, we tend to swap the balance for Citrus Bliss as this is perfect for lifting the mood, reducing stress and helping alleviate anxiety. And finally for school, Sarah uses an oil called InTune; this aids with concentration, supports focus and helps her to stay on task.
The oils that I use on myself are Citrus Bliss (as above) and Elevation which helps me to feel happier! After suffering from anxiety and depression last year, I now can't live without these daily oils. Like Sarah, I use Lavender Bliss before bed as I find that it helps me get to sleep quicker. The oils smell quite floral which is perfect for Sarah and I (as we are girlies). However, they can also be used on the soles of the feet (for boys) or for girls who don't like to smell floral. I do find that the Intune is better on the back of the neck, but it's defiantly more of a masculine smell, so happy days! And the great thing about the oils is that a little goes a long way, so they last for ages.
ADHD brings with it many positives, which I hope to highlight with my weekly blogs, but there are always downsides. One of them is forgetfulness, so Sarah's teacher made a little chart that she sticks onto her table with plasticine. It has the days of the week and next to it, recess and lunch. It is laminated so Sarah puts a tick on the chart each day when she has used her oils - and the next week she rubs it off and starts again. She still forgets, but most of the time, she remembers because of the chart – genius idea and thank you, teacher!
I also have a memory like a sieve and can often forget that Sarah needs her oils, so I have reminders on my phone that help me throughout the day. Every morning at 8am a reminder pops up on my phone to give Sarah (and me) the essential oils and supplements.
We have been using the oils for over 12 months, but if I don't have that reminder, then I forget...ADHD hey! The other thing to remember is that you need to use the essential oils every day, it needs to be consistent to see the best results. Sometimes at the weekends we don't use them and on the holidays we are a bit more relaxed, by they are now so ingrained into our lifestyle, that I couldn't live without them.
The beautiful thing about the oils is that they can be used on anyone in the family. So if Alex* (who's two) isn't sleeping well, then I use Lavender Bliss on the soles of his feet, and if Belle* (who is five) has an insect bite, Lavender Bliss comes out again! They have multi-purposes which I love! If you have any more questions or want to know which brand I recommend, you can email me at email@example.com.
Lots of oily love,
And one final thing, please understand that due to FDA guidelines, I cannot diagnose or suggest treatment for what is labelled as a disease. Only drugs are approved by the FDA for treatment. I am just sharing information with others about something that has worked for Sarah and our family.
* Names have been changed to protect identities