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Q: What is or are the best approach(s) to treatment of ADHD in our children?

A: It has been well-established through hundreds of studies that the most effective treatment for children over 4 with ADHD is a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. There are some children who don't have symptoms severe enough to warrant medication and can get by on behavior modification alone, but for children with the more serious condition, medical management is needed. As one parent stated: "If your son had diabetes, you would give him daily medication without giving it a second thought. ADHD is a medical issue, not a moral or social judgment." As another parent explained: "Without their medication, my children would have been verbally and physically abusive, subject to hours-long tantrums, distracted by air, hyper to the point they seem manic. Who can learn like that? And not just ABCs, but who can learn to attach, to feel empathy, to love, if your mental system is in such chaos? And when the medication or therapy or parenting strategy or diet works and you see the child you love behave like the child you love -- with all their wit, love, impishness, creativity, and energy but without the anger, frustration, confusion, and self-hatred -- well, then you're just very grateful to have your child back and you will believe in whatever it was that brought them back to you!"

Here is another example of a positive experience with medical management of ADHD, reported by the parent of an internationally adopted child: "On the advice of my school and my youngest son's pediatrician, I waited a year before we made a positive diagnosis of ADHD and put him on Concerta. Since then, the change in his behavior and progress in school has been dramatic. He used to get time outs in school everyday and would often get into fights on the playground. He is now proud to tell me every day that he is behaving himself and is doing his school work. He has always been a very sweet kid, but the change in his self esteem has been wonderful to behold. I notice less of a change at home, in part because the medication is worn off before I get home in the evening and because there are less severe demands on him at home. Still, it is nice not to have to start each evening talking about what bad things happened in school and be able to concentrate instead on what he learned."
Medication doesn't cure ADHD, and as many people have said, "pills don't teach skills." Stimulant medications shouldn't be used as an alternative to teaching a child how to behave and learn in the classroom.



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Last update on May 8, 2018