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Behaviour Modification and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)


Behaviour modification is one of a range of non-invasive techniques or treatments used to treat a variety of conditions, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is part of a general move away from prescription drugs, which can often have negative side effects.

What is ADD?

ADD is a behavioural disorder most commonly observed in children.  The symptoms of ADD are varied, but may include some or all of the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Easily distracted
  • Mood swings; and
  • An inability to complete tasks 

This tends to have a significant impact on the child’s ability to learn, and problems at school are common. Traditional medical treatment involves the use of drugs that act on chemicals in the brain that cause the hyperactivity.  The most well known of these is Ritalin, which has been criticised for its side effects, including stifling creativity, nervousness and insomnia; amongst others.  Most children who are prescribed medication do now receive complementary treatment at the same time, including exercise and dietary advice.

What is Behaviour Modification?

Behaviour modification is a form of psychology that uses positive or negative reinforcement to encourage or discourage a particular type of action or activity. Positive reactions may include a compliment or reward, while negative reinforcement may involve a child being disciplined for unwelcome behaviour.  It is based on the principle of conditioning to achieve its goals, and has been used to treat a range of conditions other than ADD including:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety disorders; as well as
  • Separation anxiety disorder in children 
  • Some common behaviour modification techniques include exclusion, punishment and extinction; which is the elimination of incentives.

How Can Behaviour Modification Help ADD?

Behaviour modification will typically advocate a consistent approach to dealing with an ADD child.  This includes developing reinforcement strategies that can be implemented repeatedly, and which focus on the most disturbing aspects of the child’s behaviour.  This approach can work if applied over time, particularly if conducted in a positive way. This includes communicating with the child and explaining why they are getting the attention, and avoiding a culture of blame at all costs.

Locate a behaviour modification practitioner on the pages of this site and discover how they may be able to help you or your child’s ADD.

Find out about other effecitve natural ADD treatments.



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