SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine are common drugs prescribed to millions of children and adults diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Health experts say medication can help reduce the symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity in people suffering with ADD/ADHD, however, medications come with side effects and risks.
One Valley family says they've found another way to treat their child without medication.
"I remember chasing people and never got tired," said Chance Glover who has never gotten more than six hours of sleep. "I would get really mad and stuff."
At age 6, Chance was diagnosed with ADHD. It was preventing him from doing even the simplest of skills.
"He didn't stop moving for about 18 hours a day," recalled Chance's mother Lori Glover. "He'd have all this extra energy and then he'd be getting in trouble, but he didn't really understand why he was in trouble because he didn't know what he had done."
As of 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately five million children 4-to-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Over half of those kids were receiving medication treatment for the disorder, including Chance.
"We had to be very cautious with the dosage," Lori explained. "And kept it to be a very low dose so that he would eat and maintain."
Chance's mom told ABC15 some of the doses were so powerful, her son would do busy work for hours at a time.
"So we said as wonderful as those three hours were, we really miss our boy. We need to do something different," said Lori.
So, she enrolled Chance in Peaceful Warrior , a martial arts school based in Scottsdale.
"When he first started I saw a change right away," Lori remembered. "It's a place that he could always come where he was just accepted for who he is."
Chance learned manners, how to wait his turn and to patiently count to 10.
"Well basically it helps me in school," Chance smiled.
Shortly after taking classes Chance started showing improvement in his behavior.
"Some of the parents will share with me that, 'Hey my kid no longer needs meds or needs less meds,'" said Sensei Richard Poage. He has been Chance's instructor for seven years. He claims students, like Chance, start out wild and all over the place, but then they change.
"Having to slow down and focus, and focus on the simple things like your breath," Poage explained.
Chance, now 13 years old, holds several state and national titles in karate and says he's also winning his bout against ADD/ADHD.
"I'm proud of myself," Chance said happily.
"I never thought we'd come to the day where we would be looking at reducing his medication," Lori Glover smiled.
ABC15 checked with medical experts and, while martial arts has helped many families, doctors warn parents should not take their child off prescribed medicine unless they've talked with their physician. Plus, any change in medication should be done gradually over time, according to medical officials.
Chance's dojo is now working to develop a program tailored to children suffering from ADD/ADHD. It will be called ME (mental & martial enrichment) and will include specific methodologies geared toward growing the brain.