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What are common treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
Common treatments for children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include medication and behavioral treatment. Combining these two types of treatments can help you or your child with ADHD live a healthy, productive life.

Ask your doctor about the safest medications for ADHD. Know that medicines affect people in different ways. What works for you may not work for another and vice versa. Discuss any unusual or uncomfortable side effects with your doctor.

If you see a therapist, ask him about different types of therapy for people with ADHD. Individual, family, and other types of therapy can help you learn new ways to communicate and behave, even through the hardships that ADHD brings. Talk to your doctor or therapist to find out more.

The largest nationally funded study (MTA Study Group 2009) on the effects of medication to treat ADHD in children reached the conclusion that while medication works in the short-term, and works quickly, 8 years later the benefits of medication treatment are not different from those who initially did not receive medication. Neuropsychologists can tell you that the brain will habituate to medication treatment, and now the state of the art nationally funded research tells us the same.

 The conclusion of the biggest study with the longest follow-up, with the leading experts is that we need to develop new and additional treatments for ADHD. One new and additional treatment includes a strength based approach of finding and focusing on gifts to build motivation and confidence.

Using this approach you can begin to define yourself by what you do well rather than by your weaknesses. For the rest of your life you can benefit from focusing on what is working rather than on what is not working.

ADHD comes with gifts as well as challenges. Many kids and adults with ADHD are creative, emotionally sensitive and good at reading others. These very gifts may make getting good grades harder, they offer opportunities for success in many arenas and career choices.

Instead of asking yourself "What is wrong with me?" begin to ask, "Where would I really fit in?" To make the most of your ADD gifts, you have to situate yourself in an environment that is a good match for you.

Counseling and medication both are commonly used in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The first step in treating ADHD is to confirm the diagnosis to make sure you don't have a case of simple misbehavior, behavior caused by a traumatic event or a different disease or disorder. Once the disorder has been confirmed, treatment may begin-which usually entails a combination of medication and therapy. There are many approaches that fall under the category of counseling. In some cases, parents also seek individual treatment or attend group counseling or support group sessions.

Therapy can include behavior therapy, psychotherapy or instruction in social skills. Therapy can teach a child about his or her disorder and can help them make adjustments. For instance, it can help a child learn how to control his or her impulse to be disruptive in class.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.