What Parents & Those with ADHD Need to Know
TREATING ADHD: WHAT PARENTS & THOSE WITH ADHD NEED TO KNOW
By Ronald S. Kent, MD
Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves behavioral management, educational intervention and medical management. When this combination is used, most patients see a significant improvement in the problems caused by ADHD symptoms. However, medical management remains the most effective way to treat ADHD symptoms and also the most controversial aspect of treatment.
MEDICATION: THE IDEAL TREATMENT
Medication should be considered one of the primary treatments of ADHD and not a “last resort.“ There are very few situations in which medication is contraindicated for the treatment for ADHD. There are two groups of medications for the treatment of ADHD: stimulantsand non-stimulants. Stimulants are considered the medications of choice to begin treatment for ADHD. Non-stimulants can be used in certain situations as first-line medications and can be added to a stimulant to address untreated symptoms.
TYPES OF STIMULANTS
There are two types of stimulants: methylphenidate, the most common of which is Ritalin; and amphetamine, with Adderall being the most common of that type. There are about 30 different forms of stimulants that differ in what I call “the vehicle.” The vehicle is what the medicine is put in to get into the body and up into the brain
Although the chemical may be the same, the vehicle can definitely make a difference in how effective the medication is, as well as its side effects. Two broad categories of vehicles are immediate releaseand extended releasemedications. If possible, it is always best to use an extended release medication, since it not only helps relieve symptoms for most of the day but also tends to have fewer side effects.
Unfortunately, we do not have any markers that tell us exactly which medication will work the best or which medication will be best tolerated. The health care provider, parent, teacher and patient become a team as they try to determine which medication is best.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT ADHD TREATMENT?
A great place to learn more about ADHD and treatment is our 16th Annual ADHD and Related Disorders Conference Oct. 17-18 at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss. Click here for details about the conference.
Connections serves as a regional resource center providing medical, educational, speech/language and dyslexia evaluation services for children and teenagers.Following diagnosis, we work with you and your child to determine the best course of treatment and therapy for them. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 601-261-5159.