Attention deficit disorders such as ADD and ADHD affect an estimated 11% of all U.S. children. By impacting their ability to pay attention and other behaviors, life can become unbelievably difficult for these children. Although symptoms and their severity vary from case to case, many struggle with learning in a classroom setting, making their first foray into the world a frustrating one. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available; let’s take a look at a few of them.
Putting your child on a daily medication is a hard decision for any parent, but the benefits can certainly outweigh the negatives; talk to your child’s doctor to determine if any of the following may be a good fit for your child. There are two main forms of medication for treating kids with ADHD:
- Stimulant: It may seem counterintuitive to give a child who seems to have an excess of energy a stimulant, but central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are actually very effective, hence why they are the most commonly prescribed class of ADHD drugs. They work by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your child’s brain, thereby improving their ability to focus and concentrate. The big names in this category are Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta.
- Non-Stimulant: If stimulants don’t seem to be working, or your child is uncomfortable with the side effects, your doctor may suggest non-stimulants. They also increase norepinephrine levels in the brain, which are thought to help with attention and memory.
Although these drugs do carry side effects, every patient reacts to them differently. Again, be sure to consult with your doctor before moving forward with treatment options.
Medication doesn’t work for everyone; some are more suited to therapeutic options, or will see the best results from a mixture of both. There several therapy options for children with ADHD.
- Psychotherapy: ADHD is often accompanied by social anxiety, making relationships between peers and authority figures hard to manage. Psychotherapy allows your child to discuss their fears and frustrations in a healthy way, and gives them an opportunity to consider their actions before making them.
- Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy can teach your child how to monitor their behavior. You (and perhaps your child’s teacher) will be a part of this process; reward systems are often devised to help shape behavior response.
- Social Skills Training: Because social anxiety can be so crippling, especially at a young age, social skills training can help them work towards facing their fears. Additionally, they can focus on skills like waiting your turn, sharing, and asking for help.
Attention deficit disorders can affect adults as well as children, although it is less likely. Adults with ADD or ADHD may find that they suffer from the same issues with attention, and one other frustrating behavior: ADHD and insomnia (as well as ADD and insomnia) frequently go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for treatment options, talk to your doctor and see what they recommend based on your personal symptoms.