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What are the treatment recommendations for children with ADHD?

Up to 80% of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sufferers experience improvement by taking medication. But ADHD medication is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. The treatment that's right for you will depend on factors such as your age, your symptoms, your medical history, and your tolerance for side effects.
Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner
As of 2010, the combination of intensive medication therapy and intensive behavioral therapy is the best treatment for childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Multimodal Treatment Study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA study) was designed to identify the most effective treatments for childhood ADHD. In this study, children were placed into four treatment groups and followed for 14 months. The treatment groups included:

  • intensive medication therapy alone
  • intensive behavioral therapy alone
  • combination of intensive medication therapy and intensive behavioral therapy
  • control group that received general medication or therapy care that wasn't as intensive as the other groups

At the end of the study, the researchers noticed that twp groups experienced the most positive benefits: those who received intensive medication therapy and those who received the combined medication and behavioral therapy treatments. The children who received both the medication and therapy treatments experienced the most positive benefits after 14 months.

Current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines children (6-18 years of age) with ADHD, treatment includes ADHD medication with or without behavior therapy, with both medication and behavior therapy as the preferred treatment. Behavior therapy is recommended first for preschoolers (4-5 years of age) with ADHD.

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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.