How to Treat ADHD Without Medication

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 9, 2023

The incidence of ADHD has exploded in the past 20 years. Exploded, from being a rare condition not long ago to now being a problem diagnosed in as many as 33% of young male children in some U.S. counties. Young college students have revealed in documentaries, “I don’t know anybody in my dorm who isn’t using Adderall (ADHD medication).”

It simply is not possible for a genuine disorder to suddenly appear and spread with such speed.

One of the world’s leading pediatric neuroscientists, Dr. Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., recently stated publicly that ADHD is “not a real disease,” and he warned of the dangers of giving psycho-stimulant medications to children.

One noted pediatrician and early expert on ADHD wrote a list of classic ADHD symptoms on the left-hand page of his book. On the right-hand page he wrote the symptoms of a child distracted by physical pain—sore throat, asthma, headache. The two lists were THE SAME, strongly indicating that children with “ADHD” don’t have a “disorder” at all. They’re just reacting in understandable ways to PAIN.

Is it possible that some children need medication for their ADHD symptoms? Yes, but ask yourself another informative question: If your baby is having trouble going to sleep at night, is it possible that putting vodka in her milk would help her to sleep more quickly? Yes, but none of us would do that because there are other, less dangerous steps to take before drugging her.

Similarly, parents can take many beneficial steps to eliminate their child’s “ADHD” symptoms long before considering a prescription for what Dr. Perry called “dangerous medications.”

For thirty years, I have spoken personally to uncounted adults who describe how they “missed out on their childhood and their lives” because of the chronic effects of their ADHD medications.

So what is this pain that causes the symptoms of ADHD? What are the reasonable steps we can all take before accepting the risks of very dangerous psycho-stimulant medications on a young brain forming the connections that last for a lifetime? 

Why ADHD Medication is Not Working

What is the Real Cause of ADHD?

THIS is THE question. Until you can answer it, you will be confused and helpless with your child. And almost no experts can answer it.

We cannot understand our children until we first realize that what we all need more than anything is to feel LOVED. As proven by many studies, love is THE ingredient necessary for happiness, and without it we WILL be in pain. We WILL feel small and helpless, and we HATE that. So do our children.

Our children are in pain because they don’t feel sufficiently loved BY US. Yes, I know you love your children as well as you can, but YOU were not given the KIND of love YOU needed as a child either, so you don’t have it to give.

LOVE is both the reason for our children’s pain and also the answer. But we must understand that NOT just any kind of love will do.

What we all need is UNCONDITIONAL love, or Real Love®, which means to care about another person without any thought for something in return. There is no disappointment or irritation in Real Love®. You didn’t get that kind of love—with no disappointment or anger—so you don’t have it to give your children. How do I know that you didn’t get unconditional love?

Remember in your childhood how many times:

  •  your parents or others rolled their eyes at your mistakes.
  • they criticized your performance, especially with a “tone.”
  • they told you they were disappointed in you—with their words, their facial expression.
  • you just needed to talk to someone, but there was no one there.

Each of these times we were not unconditionally loved—whether aggressively or by simple neglect—we FELT the message, “I don’t love you.” Really. It was like being poked with a sharp stick. Our children have the same pain.

All of us—including our children—MUST be unconditionally loved and taught

  • How to find and maintain our feelings of worth 
  • How to find our creativity and let it blossom
  • How to identify and be responsible for our feelings.

When children don’t feel unconditionally loved, they try ANY behavior that will earn our approval or protect them from feeling worthless. They try to please us, to earn praise. When that wears off, they try anything that temporarily numbs their pain or gets attention:

  • Whining, complaining
  • Disappearing into screens
  • Anger
  • Endless behaviors that hurt them and annoy us
  • And sometimes they helplessly react to their pain with all the symptoms of ADHD.

To be plain: the reason your child has all those symptoms of pain is that you were not loved unconditionally yourself, and now you don’t know how to give that life-giving ingredient to them.

And yes, you’re doing your best, but your disappointment, irritation, or simple lack of involvement with your child—all of which happen much more often than you might think—cause them pain, and reflexively your child reacts with the symptoms many people call ADHD. Do not feel guilty. It all began with the love you did not get yourself.

Take the first step right now. Say out loud these words: “My child is in pain because of MY disappointment, irritation, or lack of involvement, which proves that I simply don’t know HOW to love my child unconditionally.”

Yes, ouch, but now we can talk about truly effective solutions.

When No ADHD Medication Works

Symptoms of ADHD

You’ve already researched the symptoms, so you know them by heart: poor attention span, forgetful, doesn’t listen, easily distracted, interrupts people, and more. Now, let’s look again at those “symptoms of ADHD.”

I once conducted a conference for parents where I asked everyone to stand up. Then I said, “As I describe the following symptoms, sit down—if you have any of them on a regular basis.”

By the third symptom, almost everyone had sat down. By the fifth, nobody was standing. Then I said, “Each symptom is from the list accepted as necessary for making the diagnosis of ADHD. You would all likely qualify for a prescription for ADHD medications.”

How to Treat ADHD Without Medication

Is That Possible?

Oh yes, it really is. And I know that you’re looking for a cute list of steps to take—we all are. But there is no shortcut to learning to be a loving parent, which is easily one of the most difficult jobs on earth.

We must be TAUGHT how to parent, and in the Ridiculously Effective Parenting Training, you will learn how you can completely eliminate disappointment and anger from your life.

And THEN you can learn how to unconditionally love and teach your children. THAT is the solution for preventing and treating your child’s pain and symptoms. 

After thirty years of experience I have learned that love WORKS, but learning to receive and give it requires vulnerability and focused effort on your part.

There are no easy or quick solutions, but THERE IS A SOLUTION.

I promise you that children who feel loved simply don’t suffer with the pain and symptoms you have seen in your child. I know this. They become happy and creative. Why? Because they have ENOUGH of what they need most—the love of a parent.

Your problems—and your child’s problems—were created over many years. How fortunate that solving these problems can happen much more quickly.

Change takes focus and practice, but loving is certainly not more difficult than the way you and your child are living now.

As you learn to be loving, you will feel so much happier yourself.

You will enjoy the privilege of watching your child naturally and freely acquire confidence, creativity, and happiness.

You will experience the peace of a loving home, the confidence of being a loving parent, and the joy of raising children who are loving and responsible.

What could possibly be better?

 There is a solution!

Learn what you need to do to experience the peace of a loving home.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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