• The Challenge of Treating ADHD

  • Are you wondering how to treat your child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? A big worry for parents is choosing the best way to help their child. Although it may be a challenge to treat ADHD, there are many ways to do it.

    Your child’s doctor may suggest one or both choices below to help your child with ADHD:

    1. Behavioral therapy: A therapist will work with you, your child and the school to set up a program to help and support your child.
    2. Medicine: Your doctor can help you choose the best ADHD medicine for your child.

    Deciding to use medicine to treat ADHD is not easy. Remember that ADHD is a real, physical illness like diabetes or asthma, and not just a problem with how your child behaves. Medicine is one way to treat it.

    But, there is a chance your child may not want to take medicine. Here are some reasons why:

    • Sometimes children don’t understand why they have to take medicine, so encourage questions. Being part of the team — with you, the doctor, teachers and therapist — can be a help and support to your child. As a team member, your child will be more willing to take part in the treatment.
    • Other children may bully or make fun. Remind your child that all children are different and have their own challenges, like wearing glasses or having to use asthma inhalers. Come up with a plan on how to handle the pressure. Remind your child that you are always available to listen to and discuss any problems. Be positive!
    • Sometimes children do not like the side effects of the medicine, such as feeling tired or not “feeling like themselves.” Talk to your child about both the good and bad things about the medicine. Ask your child’s doctor about what you can do about the side effects.
    • Children often have trouble swallowing pills, or don’t like the way the medicine tastes. Speak to the pediatrician about the easiest way to give your child medicine.

    Following up with the doctor is very important, especially if your child is taking medicine. Try to have a strong relationship with your doctor, and make sure to schedule the necessary visits.

    • After starting the medicine, take your child to the doctor before 30 days go by. Talk to the doctor about any side effects your child is having with the medicine. Make your next appointment before you leave the office.
    • After the first visit, plan at least two more visits over the next few months.

    And as always, never stop giving your child a medication before talking to the doctor.

    Although the decision on how to treat ADHD is not easy, there are people who can help you help your child have a happier life.