ADHD treatment requires close cooperation among the child, their parents and the doctor. Regular follow-ups with the doctor are necessary to monitor medication. The doctor will want regular reports on the child's progress as well as to watch for possible side effects of medication.
Stimulants are the most common type of drug used to treat ADHD. Although they are stimulants, they actually cause people with ADHD be become calmer. Stimulants appear to balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. They help improve the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Although there may be a dramatic improvement, these medications tend to lose their effectiveness over time. The right dose also varies from child to child, so it can take time to find the correct medicine and the correct dose for an indiviual. Stimulant drugs are available in short-acting and long-acting forms.
Some of these stimulants include:
There is one nonstimulant drug called atomoxetine (Strattera) that is also used for ADHD. Antidepressants may sometimes be used in children who don't respond to stimulants or atomoxetine, or who have a mood disorder as well as ADHD. Clonidine (Catapres) and guanfacine (Intuniv, Tenex) are high blood pressure medications that may help with symptoms such as tics or insomnia caused by other ADHD medications, or aggression caused by ADHD.
The most common side effects of stimulant medications in children include:d ecreased appetite, weight loss, problems sleeping and irritability as the effect of the medication wears off.
It is usually best to use behavioral therapy along with medication. Counseling and behavior therapy provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or counselr can help families understand ADHD and how they can help their child control the symptoms. Counseling types include:
Parents can do some basic things to help their child with ADHD such as:
ADHD seems to be a chronic, long-term disorder. If not treated, it can result in alcohol and drug abuse, dropping out of school, trouble keeping a job and problems with the law. Nearly 50% of children with ADHD will continue to have trouble as they get older. However, as adults they often become better able to hide their problems and control their behavior.
While there is a great deal of interest in alternative ADHD treatments, such as herbs, diets and vitamin supplements, none of them have shown conclusive evidence that they work.