Treatment of ADHD helps control the ADHD symptoms, including inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Consistent ADHD treatment can improve the ability of the person with ADHD to function better in school, at work, and in social situations.
Treatment for ADHD is multifaceted. It consists of ADHD medications or behavioral modification therapy or both. ADHD treatment should be tailored to meet the unique needs of the child or adult who has ADHD as well as the needs of the family.
Although some pediatricians with special training in the disorder will diagnose ADHD in children, most will refer you and your child to a mental health professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or social worker trained in diagnosing and treating the disorder.
You can also find a professional who specializes in ADHD diagnosis through your health plan, your child’s teacher or school counselor, other parents of children with ADHD, or nonprofit organizations such as Children and...
What kind of treatment for ADHD is recommended for children and adolescents?
Studies have established the safety and effectiveness of using stimulant medications, other drugs, and behavioral therapy. These treatments do more than simply relieve the symptoms of ADHD. They also improve the child's ability to follow rules and to improve relationships with peers and parents.
There are two treatment strategies that have been shown to be effective for elementary-school-aged children with ADHD. The first is a closely monitored medication treatment program. The second is a program that combines medication with intensive behavior therapy. In a large study, nine out of 10 children improved substantially with one of these two treatment strategies.
The most effective approach to treatment for children and adolescents with ADHD is a multidisciplinary approach. This approach includes multiple elements that work best together and support each other. The components of a multidisciplinary approach to treating ADHD include:
Education for both parents and child or teen about diagnosis and treatment
Behavior management therapy
School teacher involvement
School counselor involvement
Which medications are used to treat ADHD in children?
The primary ADHD medications include stimulants, nonstimulants, and antidepressants.
Other FDA-approved drugs for ADHD in children and adolescents include the nonstimulants Strattera and Intuniv. Strattera works on levels of the brain chemical norepinephrine and is quite effective at treating and controlling ADHD symptoms. Intuniv affects certain receptors in the brain and also improves concentration and impulse control. Both of these drugs pose a much lower risk of abuse or dependence than stimulants.
The antidepressant Wellbutrin has been shown to be beneficial in treating ADHD. Wellbutrin can be an alternate treatment when tolerance or abuse of a stimulant is a problem.
Antidepressants have a positive effect on all three of the major components of ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. They are another option for children whose response to stimulant medication has been inadequate. They also are used as an alternative for children who experience unacceptable side effects, such as tics or insomnia, from stimulant medication.