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Q: My young son has ADHD and the doctor wants to put him on Ritalin. I have some concerns about this drug. Are there any alternatives, preferably natural ones?
A: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involves serious and persistent difficulties with attention and concentration and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviour. It is said to affect at least five per cent of children in the UK, but the diagnosis is controversial, says Dr Alex Richardson of the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention at Oxford University. ‘There are no objective tests, and distinctions from normal behaviour are not clear-cut. Also many different things can cause or exacerbate symptoms. You should make sure your son’s problems are not primarily caused by sleep difficulties, lack of exercise, or worries about school or home.’