Treatment for ADHD is based on your or your child's symptoms and problem
behaviors. Medicine is the most effective treatment for the major ADHD symptoms
of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Other treatment is sometimes
When Amanda, 30, was diagnosed with ADHD five years ago, she began to understand the risk-taking that had marked her teens and twenties: the drug abuse, binge drinking, and casual sex with numerous men who had flirted with her in bars.
She couldn’t put the brakes on those intensely exciting experiences, but she also despaired that her life was out of control. “Before I was diagnosed, I was depressed a lot because I just didn’t understand what was wrong,” says the Baltimore resident, whose last...
Another condition, such as
anxiety, occurs along with ADHD. Medicine combined
with other treatment often is used.
Other Treatment Choices
interventions help train parents, teachers, and other adults responsible for a
child with ADHD. Programs emphasize the need to establish routines and rules
for behavior and to closely monitor how a child responds. The adult
consistently delivers rewards or consequences depending upon how the child
complies with the rules. This type of treatment has been shown to be more
cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques.
Cognitive-based therapies depend more upon the child to self-direct behavioral
changes. A child with ADHD is not likely to have the
skills to change his or her behavior without help and guidance from adults.
Behavioral interventions most often used to help treat ADHD in a
Behavior management. Time-out and
reward systems can help a child with ADHD learn appropriate behaviors for the
classroom and home. Parent training in behavior management skills is conducted
during a series of 6 to 12 counseling sessions of 1 to 2 hours a
Social skills training. These techniques help the
child learn to be less aggressive and impulsive, to manage anger, and to behave in a
more socially acceptable way.
family therapy. All household members can benefit from
learning methods to deal effectively with ADHD behavior.
Complementary and alternative medicine is used by some
therapists or others who do not operate within mainstream medical practice. But
none of these complementary therapies have been shown through clinical research
to be effective in treating ADHD and should not replace proven conventional
methods. More research is needed before any can be recommended as primary
treatment for ADHD. But a person with ADHD may
benefit from safe, nontraditional therapies used in addition to conventional
medical treatment. For example, acupuncture or biofeedback may help relieve
stress and muscle tension and improve a person's overall well-being and quality
If you are thinking about using complementary and
alternative medicine to help treat ADHD, be open with your doctor about the
subject. He or she can help direct you to treatments that are safe to use in
combination with proven techniques. Only those treatments that best help
control ADHD symptoms without causing physical or emotional harm should be
What To Think About
Overall, medicines are the most
effective treatment for ADHD, although individuals vary in their response to
medicine. Behavioral training, training and education for parents, and
counseling are sometimes used as the primary treatment for mild symptoms.
Usually, these methods are used in addition to medicine for people with
moderate to severe symptoms.
Parents may understandably be
reluctant to give their child medicine. But studies show that for short-term
use, these medicines are safe and can positively affect behavior and improve
the quality of life for people with ADHD and for their families. It is
important to talk openly with your doctor about any concerns in order to best
understand and treat ADHD.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this