To answer that question we must first discuss the role of medications in the treatment of ADHD. Medications have been used to treat the symptoms of ADHD for several decades.
Medications have the potential to improve several variables:
- Reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Increased attention and concentration
- Increased accuracy of school work
- Improved social interactions
- Decreased physical and verbal aggression
- Increased compliance with adult requests
- Improved motor coordination, potentially resulting in improved handwriting
Before you consider giving your child or teenager medications, you need to evaluate the necessity of such treatment since the presence of a diagnosis does not automatically indicate a need for medication treatment. Medication treatment becomes necessary if the disorder is clearly affecting a child’s function. Children function in different spheres (school, home, peers, etc.) and all of them should be thoroughly evaluated.
Don’t feel pressured to use medications right away without trying to explore other potential modalities of treatment such as school intervention, organization training, social skills training, behavioral modification, psychotherapy, executive function training, and parent training.
As a practice, we strongly believe in a conservative approach to the use of medications and advocate a holistic approach to addressing ADHD. We believe in using a collaborative model that addresses all the different challenges of ADHD. At the same time, we recognize that medications can potentially be helpful for many kids, teens and adults who struggle with ADHD.