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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children: Treatment

When you treat your child’s ADHD, it can help him do better in school, in social situations, and at home. Plus, ADHD treatments are safe, studies show.

The right treatment plan can control symptoms including inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This can help your child follow rules and improve relationships with parents, teachers, and peers.

Treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s best to work with your child’s doctor to come up with a treatment plan that will meet the specific needs of your child and family. Your child’s plan may include:

  • ADHD medications: stimulants, nonstimulants, antidepressants, and more
  • Behavior therapy: training for parents and teachers that teaches them how to help children set goals and meet them by using rewards and consequences

Treatment for Young Children

There are two treatment strategies that have been shown to work best for elementary-school-aged children with ADHD.

  1. A closely followed medication treatment
  2. A program that combines medication with intensive behavior therapy

In a large study, 9 out of 10 children improved with one of these two treatment strategies.

Treatment for Children and Teens

The treatment that seems to work for children and teens with ADHD combines a few more things. They work best when tried together. This is sometimes called a "multidisciplinary approach" to treating ADHD. It includes:

  • Education for both parents and children or teens about diagnosis and treatment
  • Medication
  • Behavior therapy
  • Teacher involvement
  • School counselor involvement

Which medications are used to treat ADHD in children?

The main ADHD medications include stimulants, nonstimulants, and antidepressants.

Stimulants are the most common treatment for ADHD in children and teens. They are usually the type of medicine doctors try first. If they don’t work, your child’s doctor may try a different type of medication or have your child take a stimulant together with a second type of medicine.

Stimulants include:

Nonstimulants are FDA-approved drugs for ADHD in children and teens. These drugs pose a much lower risk of abuse than stimulants.

Nonstimulants include:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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