Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Treatment

  • Treatment

    For treatment to be effective, patients with ADHD must be highly motivated to follow their treatment plan closely. Drug treatment for ADHD can work when patients take medications and adhere to the medication schedule. Young patients may benefit from parent management training, structured school settings, and social skills training.

    Students with ADHD often receive special accommodations for school testing. Arrangements can be made to take exams in private areas, to be given increased time on tests, and to have the ability to take breaks during exams. Parents interested in these options should contact their child's school.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    Behavioral therapy and family counseling are effective when used along with medication. Individuals with ADHD may benefit from strategies that help to improve organizational skills, relationships, and anger management. If an individual's ADHD disrupts family life, other members of the family may also benefit from counseling.

    Some patients for whom it is affordable may benefit from a “coach”, who is someone trained to provide daily encouragement and assistance in reaching goals. This person does not necessarily have to be a clinician. However, there is no scientific proof that this therapy works for adults.

    Joining an association of other adults with ADHD may also be helpful in gaining insight into problems and keeping abreast of new developments. One such organization is the Association for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD):

    CHADD8181 Professional Place, Suite 201Landover, MD 20785(800) 233-4050301-306-7070FAX 301-306-7090http://www.chadd.org/

    Students with ADHD are eligible for assistance under federal legislation section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Section 504 is intended to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Your doctor can help you access school services associated with this legislation by preparing a statement about how ADHD interferes with schoolwork, or by preparing a medication plan to be used by the school.

    Some people believe that changing the diet or taking nutritional supplements will help the symptoms of ADHD; however, there is no scientific evidence to support that such approaches are effective.

    Adolescents with ADHD frequently have learning disabilities. Teenagers with speech and language difficulties can develop inattentive and hyperactive behaviors similar to those of ADHD. Those with difficulties processing sound often also have attention and memory difficulties.

    Treatment for ADHD will not be successful if a patient with ADHD also has a learning disability that has not been dealt with.

    Adolescents or adults with ADHD who are not performing well at school or work often become depressed or anxious. About one-quarter of children with ADHD also have anxiety disorder. The failing grades, refusal to do schoolwork, poor performance at work, and lack of concentration characteristic of ADHD are also common signs of depression.

    A woman of childbearing age with ADHD who is thinking of becoming pregnant should talk to her doctor about whether or not to continue medication.

    People with ADHD are at high risk for other psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. Rates of antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse, and learning disorders are especially high in people with ADHD. It is unclear whether people with ADHD have genetic tendencies towards such problems, or if the other disorders result from their inability to cope with the problems of ADHD.

    ADHD is a lifelong disorder. While some children grow out of ADHD, most continue to have problems into adolescence and adulthood. Adults with ADHD usually need treatment throughout life.

    Problems associated with the symptoms of ADHD may become more significant after childhood. The consequences of impulsive behavior may be more severe in adolescence than during childhood and adulthood. For example, teenage boys with ADHD receive more driving tickets and have more car crashes than their peers. Poor academic performance during the high school years may also carry more significance than in earlier years. Conflicts at school and at home may seem less manageable than in childhood.

    In adulthood, frequent boredom, inattentiveness, and impulsivity can also have serious repercussions in relationships and on the job.

    People with ADHD may require lifetime therapy. Family members can help evaluate the effectiveness of medications and counseling, as improvements or continued problems may be more apparent to them than to the actual patient.

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I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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