The fact that ADHD is a lifelong disorder increases the need for a developmental perspective when designing interventions at various stages of life of the child, adolescent or adult with ADHD.
Children with ADHD often begin tasks before direction are given; they may work quickly and impulsively without thinking; and they may make carelessly errors in an effort to finish quickly.
Impulsive behaviors often lead to social rejection by peers, criticism from teachers, exasperation and exhaustion in parents.
More often than not, no one therapy, treatment or intervention will alleviate ADHD symptoms in a child. Rather, it is a combination of tools and positive interventions that can make remarkable differences in these children and their lives in our society as it is.
No one treatment has been found effective for ADHD; this gives rise to many different approaches such as sugar-controlled diets and megavitamin therapy. Parents need to know that any treatment heralded as the cure for ADHD is probably too good to be true (McCracken, 2000a). ADHD is chronic; goals of treatment involve managing symptoms, reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity, and increasing the child’s attention so that he or she can grow and develop normally. The most effective treatment combines pharmacotherapy with behavioral, psychosocial and educational interventions (Pary et. Al, 2002).
Medication are often effective in decreasing hyperactivity and impusiveness and improving attention; this enables the child to participate in school and family life. The most common medications are methylphenidate (Ritalin) and an amphetamine compound (Adderall) (Lehne, 2001; McCracken, 2000a). Ritalin is effective in 70% to 80% of children with ADHD; it reduces hyperactivity, impulsivity and mood lability and helps the child to pay attention more appropriately. (Ask your Doctor First)
Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and premoline (Cylert) are other stimulants used to treat ADHD. The most common side effects of these drugs are insomnia, loss of appetite, and weight loss or failure to gain weight. (Ask your doctor First).
Ritalin, Dexedrine and Adderall are also available in sustained-release form taken once daily; this eliminates the need for additional doses when the child is at school. Because premoline can cause liver damage, it is the last of these drugs to be prescribed.
Giving stimulants during daytime hours usually effectively combats insomnia. Eating a good breakfast with the morning dose and substantial nutritious snacks late in the day and at bedtime will help the child to maintain an adequate dietary intake. When stimulant medication are not effective or their side effects are intolerable, antidepressants are a second choice.
Some antidepressants are effective in the treatment of ADHD. Sometimes a stimulant and an antidepressant are both prescribed.
Tricyclic Antidepressants are most commonly used for depression, but sometimes also for sleep disorders, bedwetting and ADHD. The tricyclic antidepressants are helpful for mood swings and impulsiveness, but they do not seem to help increase attention as much. Side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation and dizziness.
MAO Inhibitors are most commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, but can be used in the treatment of ADHD. MAO Inhibitors seem to do a better job of controlling ADHD symptoms than Tricyclic antidepressants, but are prescribed less frequently because of dangerous side effects.
All of the antidepressants last longer than the stimulants, so fewer doses are needed to control symptoms. If irritability, mood swings or temper are part of your ADHD symptoms, an antidepressant – either alone or in conjunction with a stimulant – may be helpful.
John E. Neyman, Jr. is not recommending nor suggesting anyone take medications. John is only sharing what doctors have done. Always see your doctor and get his/her advice on what to do before taking anything.