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ADHD Treatment

What is ADHD Treatment

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Updated May 16, 2014

ADHD Treatment

There is no "cure" for ADHD, however, many treatment approaches may alleviate or significantly decrease ADHD symptoms. As a result, improvements are evident in school/work performance, relationships with others improve, and self esteem increases.

No single treatment works for every individual. Treatment options should be explored with a health care provider who will consider the patient's needs, and family, medical, and personal history. Some people respond well to medications, some to behavioral interventions, many respond to a combination of the two. Counseling, education, and support services are often helpful. Typically, a multimodal approach to treatment works best.

Medications

Stimulant medications have been found to be effective in alleviating ADHD symptoms. Common stimulants include Ritalin, Dexedrine, Concerta, Metadate, Focalin, and Adderall. Some people respond better to one kind of stimulant and not another. Read more about Stimulant Medications.

While stimulants are typically the first choice of medication used to treat ADHD, there are a several non-stimulants that may be prescribed. These include atomoxetine, tricyclic antidepressants, and bupropion. Read more about Non Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD.

It is important for individuals on medication to be medically supervised. Effectiveness of medication, side effects, dosages, etc. need to be monitored by a medical doctor.

Additional Reading:
Stimulant Medications and Safety Issues
ECG Monitoring for ADHD Children
Reducing Side Effects of Medicine
Medication Guide for Parents
Medication Vacations

Behavioral Strategies and Interventions

ADHD, while not caused by environmental factors, can certainly be influenced by them. A chaotic, unstructured, unorganized setting can exacerbate symptoms. On the flip side, a setting that is structured, predictable, and motivating can greatly help. Many people with ADHD also respond well to a reward system with clear consequences for behaviors. Positive behaviors are rewarded with the goal of increasing the occurrence of them. Negative behaviors may receive consequences with the goal of decreasing them. This type of system is called behavior modification and it has been found to work well with children and many adults. Click on the following links to learn more about behavioral interventions and organizational strategies.
What is Behavior Management?
Implementing Behavior Management Strategies at Home
School Tips for ADHD Kids
Organizing the ADHD Household
Strategies for Success in the Workplace

Parent Training

ADHD can be exhausting. Parents dealing with children with ADHD may benefit from education and training. This training gives parents tools and techniques for managing behavior problems at home. Parents may also benefit from support and acknowledgement that they are on the right track. Click on the links below to learn more.
Parent-To-Parent Training
Parenting Your ADHD Child
Parenting Your ADHD Teenager
Tips for Families
Parenting and Self-Care

Social Skills Training

Social skills training focuses on helping an individual with ADHD learn new, more appropriate behaviors and ways of interacting with others. The goal is to improve the basic ways an individual relates and interacts with others on a daily basis. Click on the links below to learn more about ADHD and social issues.
Developing Positive Peer Relations
ADHD Children and Group Settings
Adult ADHD: Improving Relationships
Adult ADD and Friendships

Counseling/Psychotherapy

Counseling and/or psychotherapy provides an individual with ADHD a place to process feelings and develop strategies for dealing with the effects of ADHD. ADHD often results in broken friendships, poor relationships, and a plunging self-esteem.
Counseling and ADHD

Coaching

An ADHD coach partners with their clients to create daily structure and organization while providing support and encouragement to set goals and rewards and keep them focused even when obstacles occur. Click on the links below to read more about ADHD coaching.
ADHD Coaching
ADHD Coaching for Students

Support Groups

People, either loved ones of those with ADHD such as parents, spouses, etc., as well as individuals with ADHD may find strength, education, and encouragement in support groups. Sharing with others who are going through the same situations can be a tremendous booster. To locate an ADHD support group click on the links below.
Find Local ADHD Support Groups
ADD/ADHD Discussion Forum

Complementary Treatment Approaches

The following links provide information about additional or complementary approaches to treating ADHD.
Exercise and ADHD
ADHD and Nutrition
Outdoor Play Improves Focus
Tips for a Good Night's Sleep
Improving Working Memory
Fish Oil

If an individual does not respond to a multi treatment approach, the original diagnosis of ADHD should be reviewed. Coexisting conditions that may be contributing to the lack of improvement should also be reassessed. The individual’s, family, and school compliance with the treatment approach should also be evaluated.

Additional Links:
Who Provides Treatment?
Find a Local Treatment Provider
Optimal Treatment of ADHD
The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. ADHD: A Complete and Authoritative Guide. 2004.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical Practice Guideline: Treatment of the School-Aged Child with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics. Vol. 108:4:1033-1044. Oct. 2001.

National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. 2006.

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