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Treatments for ADHD

Treatments for ADHD:

Symptoms of ADHD can be successfully controlled with medications. Drugs call stimulants are commonly prescribed. Stimulants actually work in reverse in people with ADHD and can produce a calming effect and improved concentration.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication treatments for ADHD are generally considered safe when given under regular medical supervision. The most common side effects of stimulants are decreased appetite and difficulties with sleep, which can decrease either with time or by lowering the dosage. There also may be an increased chance of serious but rare cardiovascular effects and suicidal thoughts in some people.

Because of the potential for side effects, treatment with medication must be individualized and monitored medically. What works for one person may not work for another or may result in unacceptable side effects. Different medications and dosages might have to be tried before finding just the right treatment for an individual.

ADHD is also treated with a variety of forms of psychotherapy. Behavioral therapy is geared toward helping a person to become more aware of his or her behaviors, monitor those behaviors, and to change unacceptable ones.

Both parents and their children with ADHD may also benefit from training in parenting skills. Parents are typically encouraged to provide quick and positive feedback for positive behaviors and to ignore or redirect negative behaviors. They are also taught to learn and promote situations that encourage positive behaviors for a child with ADHD.

ADHD treatment: Symptoms of ADHD can be successfully controlled with medications. Children are most commonly prescribed stimulants, which actually works in reverse in children with ADHD and produces a calming effect in them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved medication treatments for ADHD are generally considered safe when given under regular medical supervision. The most common side effects of stimulants are decreased appetite and difficulties with sleep, which can decrease either with time or by lowering the dosage. There also may be an increased chance of serious but rare cardiovascular effects and suicidal thoughts in some children.

Because of the potential for side effects, treatment with medication for children with ADHD must be individualized and monitored medically. What works for one child may not work for another or may result in unacceptable side effects for a particular child. Different medications and dosages might have to be tried before finding just the right treatment for an individual child.

Commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of ADHD are available in pill, liquid, and patch forms and include:

ADHD can also be treated with a variety of forms of psychotherapy. Behavioral therapy is geared toward helping a child to become more aware of his or her behaviors, monitor those behaviors, changing unacceptable ones. Behavioral therapy uses rewards and positive and negative feedback to help children understand when their behavior have been acceptable or unacceptable. Social skills training are also a part of behavioral therapy. This may include learning how to wait until someone is finished talking before responding.

Both parents and their children with ADHD may also benefit from training in parenting skills. Parents are typically encouraged to provide quick and positive feedback for positive behaviors and to ignore or redirect negative behaviors. They are also taught to learn and promote situations that encourage positive behaviors for a child with ADHD. This is very individual. For example, one child with ADHD may be able to handle and thrive in a structured situation, such as a team practice, but not in an unstructured situation with the entire team, such as at an amusement park with minimal adult supervision.

Treatment List for ADHD

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for ADHD includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • General lifestyle changes
    • Stress reduction techniques
    • Dietary changes - aimed at treating any possible hidden food allergy causes, although this is considered of dubious value by some health professionals.
  • Medications
    • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
    • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®, Dextrostat®, Adderall®)
    • Pemoline (Cylert)
    • Clonidine - mainly used for combined ADHD and Tourette's syndrome.
    • Antidepressants - if there is any anxiety or depression associated with the ADD; or as a second-line treatment for ADD when stimulants fail.
  • Supportive treatments
  • Stimulant therapy
  • Behavioural therapy
  • Methylphenidate
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Atomoxetine
  • Tricyclc antidepressants
  • Imipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Nortryptilline
  • Clonidine
  • Modafinil
  • Magnesium pemoline
  • Current data suggests that carefully titrated stimulant medication (Methylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine) provides the best first-line therapy for ADHD. Behavioural therapy is useful in conjunction with medication to address issues such as social skills and academic performance. Treatments include:
    • General lifestyle changes
    • Stress reduction techniques
    • Dietary changes - aimed at reducing food additives, colourings and sugars. Some anecdotal evidence supports this, but to date, no trials have produced supporting evidence
    • Medications
    • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
    • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®, Dextrostat®, Adderall®)
    • Pemoline (Cylert) - rarely used due to rare but potential hepatotoxicity
    • Atomexitine (Strattera) - second line agent, classed as non-stimulant
    • Modafinil (Provigil) - currently used as a third or fourth line agent
    • Clonidine - mainly used for combined ADHD and Tourette's syndrome
    • Antidepressants - if there is any anxiety or depression associated with the ADD; or as a second-line treatment for ADD when stimulants fail
    • Supportive treatments
    • Structured classroom management
    • Parent education methods
    • Teacher education methods
    • Tutoring supplementation
    • Behavioral therapy
    • Psychotherapy
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Social skills training methods
    • Support groups

ADHD: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for ADHD may include:

  • Normal child behavior - not every active child is actually hyperactive; not every shy child is inattentive; not every day-dreaming child is inattentive. Babies and small children have a very short attention span and children are still easily distracted until they are older.
  • Giftedness (High intelligence) - gifted children may be bored or restless in class giving the appearance of symptoms similar to ADHD.
  • Normal behavior - sometimes normal children act hyperactive or inattentive without any disease.
  • Bipolar disorder - hyperactivity could be from the mania from bipolar disorder.
  • more diagnoses...»

Curable Types of ADHD

Possibly curable types of ADHD may include:

ADHD: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: ADHD

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to ADHD:

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Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to ADHD, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for ADHD:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of ADHD:

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