The goals of current treatment of attention deficit disorder or attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) are to improve functioning and reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Treatments include medicines, certain forms of psychotherapy, training and education or other forms and combinations of treatments.
The most commonly used forms of drug for the treatment of ADHD are stimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidate. Using these types of medications for ADHD seems to be quite strange since hyperactivity is one classic trait of ADHD. Stimulants actually innervate brain circuits that govern focused behavior and attention helping then reduce hyperactivity. Certain non-stimulant drugs such as clonidine, guanfacine and atomoxetine are also available for addressing hyperactivity. A lot of children with ADHD take medicines that improve the ability to learn, work, focus and lessen hyperactivity. Many of these drugs also better physical coordination.
Since children with ADHD display unique symptoms, one ADHD treatment for one child may not work on another child. One child might suffer from side effects from a drug that may not cause side effects on another. One can try many types of medicines or dosages before discovering medicine that is really effective on a child. Children with ADHD taking medicines should be carefully and closely observed by doctors and caregivers.
Stimulants can come in skin patch, liquid, capsule or pill form. Some drugs are designed for extended, long-acting, or short-acting release. Usually these drugs have the same active ingredients but they are released differently in the body. Extended or long-acting release drugs usually allow a child to take the drug just once per day usually prior to school time so the child may not be required to daily go to the school nurse for another dose. Doctors and parents can decide together what kind of medicines are the most effective for the child, if the child may only need to take medicines when going to school or if the drugs can be given during evenings and weekends too.
What are the side effects of stimulant medications?
The typical side effects of stimulants include irritability, anxiety, sleep problems and low appetite. Headaches and mild stomachaches are also experienced by some children taking these drugs.
Less common side effects of stimulants include tics. Tics are repetitive and sudden sounds or movements.
Medications do not cure ADHD. They help the person in controlling the symptoms of ADHD. Medicines can help a child complete schoolwork and pay attention. What is not clear though is whether ADHD medicines can help the child learn better. Combining practical support, counseling and behavioral therapy with drug therapy can aid the child with ADHD and his family to deal much better with daily ADHD-related problems. The drugs work optimally when treatment is closely and regularly observed by the prescribing physician and the dose is modified based on the child’s requirements.
For ADHD, different kinds of psychotherapy are applied. Behavioral therapy’s goal is to assist the child in modifying his behavior. Behavioral therapy might entail practical assistance like working through emotionally challenging situations, completing schoolwork or helping organize tasks. Behavioral therapy can instruct a child on how to observe the child’s own behavior. Enabling the child to praise himself or reward him for behaving in the right manner (like thinking before acting or controlling his anger) is one way to help the child modify his behavior slowly but surely. Teachers and parents can provide either negative or positive feedback for specific behaviors shown.
Social skills may be imbibed into the child by the therapist. These skills can include the ability to respond to teasing, asking for help, sharing toys and waiting for one’s turn. Learning to read the tone of voice and facial expressions of others and how to properly respond to it can also be included in social skills training.
Understanding and guidance from teachers and parents are needed by a child with ADHD in order to perform well in school and to reach his full potential. Anger, blame and frustration may already exist in the family of a child with ADHD before the condition is diagnosed. The child and the parents may require therapy to help remove any bad feelings. Parents can be educated about ADHD by mental health professionals and how it can affect a family. Therapy can help both the parents and the child in developing new ways to relate well to each other.
Helping parents gain good parenting skills can help them devise ways of instituting a system of consequences and rewards to modify a child’s behavior for the better. Parents are encouraged to also share a relaxing or pleasant activity with their child. This may help tem see what skills their child has and reinforce those skills by praising the child’s skills, abilities and strengths. Parents can learn stress-management techniques that will improve their ability to cope with frustration to keep their composure and be calm when dealing with their child’s behavior.
There are many benefits to be gained when the whole family participates in therapy. Family members can be assisted by therapists to create ways to manage disruptive behaviors and to abet positive changes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of treatment that addresses a patient’s condition by considering his body, problem and personality. ADHD treatment through acupuncture is viewed in an entirely different way than western medicine that sees ADHD as a complex neuro-developmental condition. TCM believes that ADHD is caused by orifice blockage by static phlegm or blood or by spirit agitation by some type of heat, insufficient nourishment of the spirit. Static blood can cause disruption in the normal engenderment of blood which leads to spirit nourishment deficiency.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be combined and used as an alternative therapy for treating ADHD. One recommended therapy is combining ear acupuncture and Chinese herbs that can serve as a primary treatment for children with mild ADHD or as adjunct therapy to treat more severe cases in order to lessen the medication dosage needed to minimize side effects.
Goldfarb Chiropractic and Acupuncture Center
1339 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, NJ 07052