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ADHD in Children Health Center

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ADHD in Children

Drugs for Childhood ADHD

A class of drugs called psychostimulants (or sometimes just stimulants) is a highly effective treatment for childhood ADHD. These medicines, including Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, Focalin, Daytrana, Ritalin, and Quillivant XR, help children focus their thoughts and ignore distractions.

Another treatment used to treat ADHD in kids is nonstimulant medication. These medications include Intuniv, Kapvay, and Strattera.

ADHD medicines are available in short-acting (immediate-release), intermediate-acting, and long-acting forms. It may take some time for a doctor to find the best medication, dosage, and schedule for someone with ADHD. ADHD drugs sometimes have side effects, but these tend to happen early in treatment. Usually, side effects are mild and don't last long.

Behavioral Treatments for Children With ADHD

Behavioral treatment for children with ADHD includes creating more structure, encouraging routines, and clearly stating expectations of the child.

Other forms of ADHD treatment that may benefit your child include:

  • Social skills training. This can help a child with ADHD learn behaviors that will help them develop and maintain social relationships.
  • Support groups and parenting skills training. This includes support for the parents and helping them learn more about ADHD and how to parent a child who has ADHD.

What Treatment Is Best for My Child?

No single treatment is the answer for every child with ADHD. Each child's needs and personal history must be carefully considered. 

For example, a child may have undesirable side effects to a medication, making a particular treatment unacceptable. If a child with ADHD also has anxiety or depression, a treatment combining medication and behavioral therapy might be best. 

It's important to work with a doctor to find the best solution for your child.

The ADHD Coach

Coaching is a relatively new field in the treatment of ADHD in children. ADHD coaches are meant to help children achieve better results in different areas of their lives by setting goals and helping the child find ways to reach them. A child, however, must be mature and motivated enough to work with a coach.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on August 08, 2014

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