How We Stopped Using Ritalin for ADHD and ODD

I have written before about our decision to use medication for my oldest son’s ADHD and ODD. It was not a decision that we made lightly, and at the time, it was one that was necessary. For over two years Joshua was on a combination of Ritalin and Tenex to manage his ADHD and ODD behaviors. It didn’t make things perfect, but it slowed his thought process down enough that he could begin using different methods to make better choices.

This year in school, Joshua decided he did not want to take his medication anymore, and in school he would skip it, which led to detentions and referrals. So, I made the decision to homeschool him and enrolled him in FLVS. I also made an effort to research different natural methods of managing his ADHD and ODD. After a lot of research, I found a combination of things that I thought would work well together to manage his behavioral issues.

First, let me say that the same combination may not work for everyone, it is not a perfect fix, but Ritalin wasn’t either. There have been days when he has acted up way more than he ever would have on Ritalin and Tenex, but it is manageable and part of it is the fact that he is now a teenager. The extra amount of effort on both our parts is worth getting him off of the Ritalin. I also have not been given any products or paid to post this. I purchased all the items with my own money and am simply sharing this in hopes that it might help another family that wants to be done with prescription medications that might be damaging their child’s health.

Our Regimen

First Thing in the Morning

2- Attentive Child Chewables (This helps with concentration it is a mixture of Grapeseed Oil, Magnesium and other natural supplements.)

2 – 500mg Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules with high levels of DHA and lower levels of EPA (These have been shown to possibly help with oppositional behavior in a study found here.)

1 – 100mg L-Theanine Capsule (This helps to boost mood, has a calming effect and helps with sleep, an issue my son was having trouble with on Ritalin.)

Late Afternoon

In the late afternoon if Joshua seems to be extra anxious and fidgety, he will take the items below. This is not everyday and more often than not, he is not taking anything later in the day.

1 – 500mg Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules with high levels of DHA and lower levels of EPA

1 – 100mg L-Theanine Capsule

We started this regimen several weeks ago, and since then we have been doing very well. Like I said, there have been a few more outbursts and issues than there was when he was on Ritalin, but it is worth it for him to be off the medication to us. Plus, Omega 3’s with high levels of DHA have proven to need several months to show their full results, so I am optimistic that things will improve even more in the future. Please remember that I am not a doctor, just a mom sharing her experience.


  1. We were giving my son Attentive Child and then ran out. I didn't realize how much it was helping him. Where do you get your supplements from?

  2. I've never heard of Attentive Child but I'm so glad it seems to be making a difference for your son. You're such a good mom in how you did all the research and are always putting those kids first.

  3. It's amazing what effect natural ingredients can have if you dutifully research and know what works together. I hope Joshua has great success with these.

  4. My son is on the autism spectrum and occasionally has trouble concentrating. I love that the Attentive Child chewables are all natural and will be on the lookout for them soon!

  5. I may have to try these with my daughter. I've tried fish oil for an extended period w/o noticing a difference, but never the Attentive Child or L-Theanine

  6. We have a Vitamin Shoppe too! I think it might be a Florida thing. 🙂 I am glad that you've found more natural alternatives to Ritalin! My cousin was on it for a while and it did help with his ADHD but had a lot of unpleasant side effects!

  7. I know sometimes you have to take medications, but I do love that you are trying (and I so hope it continues to work for your son) a natural solution. I was wondering, too, does food affect his behavior? I was just curious if you avoided certain foods or not?

  8. So glad this is working for him. I wonder if L-Theanine would help non-ADHD people with sleep and focus. I have issues with both during PMS.

  9. I don't recommend Ritalin, Adderall, or anything of the like to anyone. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and Ritalin caused me a host of problems, including stunting my growth. Naturally, both of my children have ADHD. When my son first started school, they wouldn't let him attend unless he was on medication. Even though he was very energetic and hyper, he was very sweet and lovable, yet I believe Adderall changed his personality dramatically. He shows serious signs of ODD behavior. Now, he's on Vyvanse, and it's a slight step up from Adderall – focus wise. However, I still experience dramatic, sometimes scary and violent outbursts. I have mentioned about this to his doctor quite often, but she's no help at all. So I'm definitely going to look into your regimen.

  10. I used to take medicine for ADD.. I felt so much better once I stopped! I wish my mom would have looked into alternative methods.

  11. Good for you and Joshua for deciding that it was time to stop the medication. You both know what's best and I hope things continue to go well with your new regimen.

  12. I'm so glad that you guys have found a regime that works for you! There's definitely nothing wrong with taking the medication when it's the best solution but if he was unhappy taking it, and doesn't need it with this system in place, then that's even better!

  13. Donna, not really. In the beginning before we started medication, we went the all natural organic route and it did not affect him at all. That said, we still have a pretty healthy diet for the most part. There are not a lot of junk snacks in the house, for the most part between meals they have fruit. I try to limit his exposure to red dye, but other than that, we have not found diet to make a big difference.

  14. So glad that these are working. I often think that sometimes those other pills are prescribed when they are not necessary.

  15. I had no idea people had other options. This would be helpful for someone wanting to avoid the meds – thanks!

  16. I'm so glad that you found a more natural means to control it. I'm starting to think that Cadence is ADD. I don't want to use drugs on her, though.

  17. Good for you for trying to find something that will work for you. My oldest son has ADHD or had not sure if it goes away or not. He went off his medicine this school year (11th grade) and I can tell that he really no longer needs it. This was a great relief for me. I know how hard the decision to medicate is having been through it myself.

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