How Can I Treat ADHD

There can be a lot of questions that arise when someone is dianosed with ADHD like how did I get it, is there a cure, and what treatment options are there? While scientists do not how someone contracts ADHD and there is no cure for it as of today, there are plenty of treatment options readily available.

Behavioral Therapy

For those diagnosed with under the age of 6, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents do not try medication first. Instead they recommend that a child try behavioral therapy. Within behavioral therapy, the therapist works with the child to learn new behaviors to try and replace the old, problematic behaviors.

Specifically parental training within behavioral therapy has proven to be the best treatment option for young children. In parental training, parents are taught new ways to help guide their children through managing their ADHD. Parents that are trained in behavior therapy can expect to learn how to:

  • Communicate in a positive manner with their child
  • Give positive reinforcement for good behavior
  • Create good structure and provide consistent discipline.

Not only has parental training shown to be the best help for children with ADHD, it's also been shown to strengthen the bond between the parents and their child, and to decrease children's negative or problem behaviors. Behavioral therapy training can also be especially beneficial to help daytime caretakers and school teachers to use in the classroom.

The AAP recomends behavioral therapy for a myriad of different reasons. First, it readily equips both the parent and child with skills that they can use instead of leaving both parties with no tools or tips and just a medication to rely upon. Second, behavior therapy has been shown to work as well as medication for young children with ADHD. Third, side effects from ADHD medication have a greater influence on younger children than older children. Finally, the long-term effects of ADHD medication on young children have not been well documented.

For children over six, the AAP recommends behavior therapy coupled with medication. Parenting training in behavior therapy can be helpful to children over the age of 6 but is not nearly as crucial for those with ADHD under 6. Other effective behavior approaches are:

  • behavioral classroom management
  • behavioral peer interventions
  • organization training
  • combinations of behavior treatments

Medications

There are two different types of medication that can be used to treat ADHD. Stimulants are the most common when treating ADHD. Between 70 and 80 percent of children say they have fewer symptoms after taking these fast-acting medicines. This type of medicine stimulates the brain to increase the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play crucial roles in thinking and attention. However there is a large health risk for people who misuse it or have preexisting health problems, as stimulants have been shown to raise blood pressure and heart rate. The following are a list of common stimulants that are used to treat ADHD:

Short-Acting:

Intermediate-Acting:

Long-Acting:


Nonstimulants are also approved to help treat ADHD. Nonstimulants take longer to work but can have the same desired affectiveness as stimulants and last up to 24 hours. A doctor might prescribe a nonstimulant when a person is having bothersome side effects from stimulants or when a stimulant is not effective. The following are a list of common stimulants that are used to treat ADHD:


Some medications may work well for one person, while not working well for another. It is important to talk to your doctor to find out which medicine and dosage will be best for you or your child.