Do we know if ADHD treatment helps children get better over time?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine

A groundbreaking study in 1999 showed that medication and behavioral therapies were the most effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, a 2007 follow-up study, led by Dr. Brooke Molina at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that this benefit might not last long-term. In fact, by 2007, most of the young people from the 1999 study had stopped taking their medications. In 2007, when researchers compared the youth on medications to those who had stopped medications, they didn't notice any significant differences. The researchers concluded that medication therapy might not drastically reduce ADHD symptoms after many years. However, the study authors noticed that the children who responded well to treatments early on were still doing well in 2007. 

It is just difficult to say whether medication, behavioral treatment, or a combination of the two works best long-term.

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