TCM Acupuncture as an Adjunct in the Management of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Young People/Adults Aged 16 or Over: Is This a Realistic Option? A Case Study Series

By Karen Crossland



ADHD is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children, which persists into adolescence and adulthood in the majority of cases. The exact cause(s) of ADHD are unknown. However, it is believed that a combination of genetics, neurological development and environmental factors are at the root of the problem. Objective: To investigate whether TCM acupuncture is a realistic option as an adjunct in the management of ADHD in young people/adults aged 16 or over.


The case study design was chosen as the research methodology. Three participants were recruited to the study. Participants were treated weekly for a period of four weeks with the option of two additional treatments. Point prescriptions were individual to each participant and in accordance with TCM acupuncture, as taught by the Northern College of Acupuncture, York, UK. Issues with the design and implementation are discussed within the dissertation.

Outcome Measures:

The outcome measures used were MYMOP, ASRS-v1.1 and participant consultation notes. Data was analysed by identifying commonality of TCM patterns across the participants, simple frequency counting and the participants’ perception of changes in their symptoms following treatment.


Overall ten TCM patterns were identified across the participants with six being common to all: Liver Qi Stagnation, Heart Xu, Spleen Xu, Kidney Xu, Blood Xu and Lung Xu. The findings of the study suggest TCM acupuncture may instigate positive changes in the symptoms of ADHD in young people/adults aged sixteen or over. All the participants of this study perceived and reported some positive changes to their symptoms.


TCM acupuncture may be a realistic option as an adjunct in the management of ADHD in young people/adults aged 16 or over. Recommendations are made for further research.