What if my child cannot take ADHD medication?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

If your child can’t take any ADHD medications, you can still help him manage ADHD symptoms (drugs are only one part of ADHD treatment). Behavioral therapy is another very effective treatment option for your child. It includes modification of approach to different activities. Family or individual therapy and social and educational support are also involved. Speaking of educational support, under federal law, your child has a right to equal educational opportunities. If he qualifies, your child’s school (at no additional cost to you and your family) will create an individualized education program and assemble an all-star team of specialists to provide the education and services your child needs to succeed in school.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
If your child did not respond to medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you can explore non-drug ADHD treatments, like behavioral therapies. Of course, three out of four children will experience benefits from ADHD stimulant medications, but there are a minority who will not do well on the drugs. If this is the case, has your child tried several of the stimulant medications? Some medications work better for certain people than others. Or, has your doctor recommended any of the non-stimulant medications for ADHD? Antidepressants and other medications have been shown to be useful for the disorder as well.

If you have tried these, and your child really did not experience any benefit, consider talking to a psychologist or other expert about behavioral treatment for ADHD. Parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists can work together to create a non-drug treatment plan for children 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.