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What is the treatment for attention disorders?

The treatment for attention disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is pretty similar for children, teenagers, and adults. Your best bet is to visit your doctor or a psychologist to design a treatment plan that works for you. To get started, ask your doctor about ADHD medications. Medications have different side effects, and some work better than others. Don't give up if you don't like the first drug you try.

Along with ADHD medications, there are multiple treatments available in a therapist's office. Individual therapy can help you learn ways to manage your ADHD symptoms at home, school, or work. Family therapy may help you, your spouse, and your other children, if ADHD symptoms cause strife at home. If your child suffers socially due to his ADHD symptoms, consider social skills training groups. In these groups, children have a chance to process their feelings and learn healthier ways to get along with others. Ask your child's therapist about home visits. Many professionals work with children at home and in the school setting.
For nearly six decades, many children with attention disorders have benefited from being treated with medication. Three drugs, Ritalin (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), and Cylert (pemoline), have been used successfully. Although these drugs are stimulants in the same category as "speed"and "diet pills,"they seldom make children "high"or more jittery. Rather, they temporarily improve children's attention and ability to focus. They also help children control their impulsiveness and other hyperactive behaviors.
The effects of medication are most dramatic in children with ADHD. Shortly after taking the medication, they become more able to focus their attention. They become more ready to learn. Studies by NIMH scientists and other researchers have shown that at least 90 percent of hyperactive children can be helped by either Ritalin or Dexedrine. If one medication does not help a hyperactive child to calm down and pay attention in school, the other medication might.
The drugs are effective for 3 to 4 hours and move out of the body within 12 hours. The child's doctor or a psychiatrist works closely with the family and child to carefully adjust the dosage and medication schedule for the best effect. Typically, the child takes the medication so that the drug is active during peak school hours, such as when reading and math are taught. In the past few years, researchers have tested these drugs on adults who have attention disorders. Just as in children, the results show that low doses of these medications can help reduce distractibility and impulsivity in adults. Use of these medications has made it possible for many severely disordered adults to organize their lives, hold jobs, and care for themselves.

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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.