10 Issues Mother and father Ought to Know
Medication for children with ADHD is a hot topic. Over the years we have spoken to literally thousands of parents about the pros and cons of making this difficult decision for their children.
With Impact Parents, we take no position for or against prescription drugs. Instead, we believe that any comprehensive treatment for ADHD should include some form of “brain activation”, whether through medication, diet, or other means of optimizing brain function. We have spent countless hours coaching parents to evaluate their options and make the best decisions for their family. We respect that it is a very personal choice.
So, as you are trying to make the decision of whether or not to try prescription drugs for your child, we want to share with you a few thoughts that we think are very important to consider.
parents‘Perspectives on Medicines
We hear a variety of messages from parents about medication, such as:
- “No matter what, I don’t want to give my child any medication.”
- “I’ve tried everything possible to avoid my child getting medication and you are my last hope.”
- “I avoided giving my child medication for a long time, but we finally gave in and it’s amazing the difference that makes.”
- “We put our child on medication, but we don’t see much of a difference.”
- “We tried drugs years ago, but my kid became a ‘zombie’ and it just wasn’t worth the side effects.”
- “Medicines returned my child to me.”
Treating ADHD in your child
Download a free leaflet, Recommended Treatment For ADHD: Drugs and Behavior Management, to find out what is really recommended for your child or teen.
10 Essential Considerations About ADHD Medication In Children
Regardless of where you are currently on this spectrum, we urge you to keep these 10 key considerations in mind:
- You will not be able to evade other people’s judgment. Medication is a controversial issue in the world of ADHD management. Regardless of whether you choose to take medication recommended and prescribed by your child’s doctor, there will be someone who will think your decision is completely wrong. So try to find some trustworthy resources to guide you through the noise so you can make a clear decision for your child.
- Think in terms of Identify ways activate the brain. You can do this in a variety of ways throughout your child’s life – with exercise, diet, exercise, sleep management, brain training, games, coaching, and / or medication. Whether or not you choose to take prescription drugs, it is important to understand that the ADHD brain needs to be activated on a regular basis.
- Drugs are one of the tools in the Toolbox we use to manage ADHD. Whether or not you currently choose to take prescription drugs, it is important to educate yourself about medications so that you can make an informed decision.
- Medicines are usually no one-off decision in treating ADHD. You will most likely make different decisions over the years based on a variety of circumstances. Even if you choose to take medication continuously, you will likely need to make changes somewhere along the way. It is in the nature of any chronic condition with a wide variety of treatment options.
- If you are opting for prescription drugs, make sure you do clear about the changes you might expectbecause only some common ADHD behaviors can be improved with medication (such as improving concentration or decreasing impulsiveness). Indeed, some aspects of the executive function, such as organization, cannot be treated with medication. Ask your doctor whether your expectations are realistic and how you will rate its effectiveness.
- Drugs are not a panacea. It does not “remedy” deficiencies in a child’s executive functions. It can enable a child to be open to self-management learning tools. But taking pills without skill enhancement is a missed opportunity that prevents you from cultivating future independence.
- According to ADHD: Parents Medication Guide, prepared by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association, Drugs are “effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD, as long as they are given in dosages that are adjusted for each child to get the best response – either alone or in combination with behavioral therapy”. Stimulants such as methylphenidate or amphetamines are the drugs of choice for ADHD because they “reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, improve alertness, and increase the ability to get along with others. . . . Stimulant drugs have been available for decades and have been very well studied. Evidence shows that these stimulants are fairly safe when prescribed to healthy children and used under medical supervision. . . . Some parents prefer another class of medication called non-stimulatory drugs because of the side effects associated with taking stimulatory drugs. These drugs can be a good alternative for children who do not respond well to stimulant drugs, who cannot tolerate the side effects of stimulant drugs, or who have other conditions along with ADHD. “
- Our friend and colleague, Laurie Dupar, is a nurse and our contact person for pharmaceutical questions. She has a great list of 13 questions to ask prescriberswhich you can download for free here.
- As with any drug, there is one broad potential Side effects Associated with ADHD medications and are more common in younger children. Talk to your doctor about the side effects to look out for and what to do if you have any concerns. Because most ADHD drugs show immediate results, they can often be stopped without any problems.
- Contrary to what you often hear in the media, ADHD medications are not addicting for people with ADHD. If anything, people with ADHD have difficulty remembering to take their medication, which is the opposite of what one would expect from an addiction. According to “What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse and ADHD Treatment,” on the CHADD website and other sources, taking drugs to treat ADHD in children may actually reduce future risks of addiction or alcoholism.