How Is Pharmacotherapy Used To Treat Adhd
A group of drugs called psychostimulants are an effective treatment for ADHD. The two most commonly used medicines in this class are methylphenidates and dextroamphetamines . These medicines help people with ADHD focus their thoughts and ignore distractions. Stimulant medicines are effective in 70% to 90% of patients with ADHD. New medicines are also being developed.
Examples of short-acting , intermediate-acting and long-acting forms of these medications include:
- Short-acting: Ritalin®, Focalin®, Methylin Chewable®, Methylin Solution®.
- Long-acting intermediate release: Ritalin SR®, Methylin®, Metadate ER®.
- Long-acting extended-release: Concerta®, Aptensio® XR, Metadate CD®, Metadate ER®, Ritalin LA®, Focalin XR®, Daytrana®, Quillivant XR® Jornay.
- Short-acting: Dextrostat®, Dexedrine Tabs®, Evekeo®, Zenzedi®, Adderall®, ProCentra®.
- Long-acting intermediate release: Adderall®, Dexedrine Spansule®.
- Long-acting extended-release: Vyvanse®, Adderall XR®, Dyanavel® XR, Adzenys® XR-ODT.
Non-stimulant medicines include atomoxetine guanfacine , and clonidine . They are often used as additional treatment, or can be used on their own if the healthcare provider approves. New nonstimulant formulations are in the pipeline of several pharmaceutical companies.
At What Age Can Adhd Be Diagnosed In Children
It can be difficult enough for a grown adult to realize that he or she may be struggling with a mental health disorder. You can imagine how hard life is for children with mental disorders, who have no idea why they seem or feel different from normal children. Thats where parents and other caring adults can make a difference in a childs life by seeking testing, and potentially treatment, on his or her behalf.
Not every temper tantrum signifies a disorder, but a string of irregular behaviors might hint at an underlying condition. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population. The good news about this disorder is that it can be diagnosed early in children. Weve provided a brief overview of ADHD and ADHD testing so that you can be aware of the options available to you and your child.
How Is Adhd Diagnosed
Healthcare providers use the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition 1, to help diagnose ADHD. This diagnostic standard helps ensure that people are appropriately diagnosed and treated for ADHD. Using the same standard across communities can also help determine how many children have ADHD, and how public health is impacted by this condition.
Here are the criteria in shortened form. Please note that they are presented just for your information. Only trained healthcare providers can diagnose or treat ADHD.
Get information and support from the National Resource Center on ADHD
You May Like: How Do Babies Get Autism
Tips For Parenting A Toddler With Adhd
If your toddler has ADHD, one first step might be setting aside time to learn specific behavior therapy techniques from a qualified therapist.
Healthcare professionals recommend behavior therapy as the first treatment young children with ADHD should receive, and experts believe this therapy is most effective when it comes from parents.
A few key tips for helping your child manage ADHD include:
- telling them your expectations simply and clearly
- making sure they get lots of exercise, which will help them concentrate and sleep better
- creating a routine and sticking with it
The U.S. Department of Education offers specific techniques for teachers that you could also apply at home, making sure you adapt them to your toddlers developmental level. These include:
- praising your child when they start or complete an activity you asked them to do
- being specific, telling them exactly what they did well
- praising them right after they complete the action
- being genuine when offering praise and encouragement
- using visual prompts to remind your toddler about your expectations
- giving your child physical rewards for engaging in the right behavior
And if youre looking for more tips on parenting a child with ADHD, you can find them here.
Other Factors Affecting Adhd
When we look at the presentation of ADHD symptoms, age seems to be the biggest factor for differences in symptoms between individuals. However, ethnic and cultural differences can also play a significant role in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
According to research, differences in beliefs, values, and even medical approaches can impact the way that certain behaviors many of which are the direct result of ADHD are viewed.
In fact, various studies have shown that children who belong to marginalized ethnic groups are less likely to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment they need for their ADHD.
Other cultural factors that can influence the perception, diagnosis, and treatment of ADHD include:
- lack of knowledge about the condition
- fear of the stigma surrounding the condition
- lack of trust in the medical system
- reduced ability to recognize when symptoms are problematic
- differences in the way certain behaviors are viewed between genders
- language barriers for non-native English speakers
- no access or limited access to insurance or healthcare services
- lack of healthcare professionals who are culturally competent
All of these factors can play a role in the way that ADHD symptoms are viewed and can lead to barriers in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in historically marginalized communities.
Recommended Reading: Can A Whole Family Be Autistic
What Strategies Can Help An Adult With Adhd Succeed In The Workplace
If you struggle at your job, it may be because your job requires strong organization, focus and decision-making skillsthe very skills that people with ADHD struggle with. Your healthcare provider can help. Ask your provider for referral to other professionals, such as a professional ADHD Coach, who can offer the following tactics that can help you thrive at your job:
- Time-management training to help get to work on time, handle tasks and attend meetings at designated times and meet deadlines.
- Relaxation and stress management training to help cope with new and difficult situations and people.
- Occupational therapy to teach strategies for organizing home and work activities.
- Job coaching or mentoring to support better working relationships and improve on-the-job performance.
What questions should I ask my childs healthcare provider about ADHD?
- Does my child have a learning disability in addition to ADHD?
- What type of ADHD does my child have?
- Does my child have a psychiatric illness in addition to ADHD?
- How do I explain to my child what ADHD is?
- Whats the best medicine for my child?
- How do I improve my childs self-esteem and self-efficacy?
- How do I talk to my childs teachers about his/her ADHD?
- How do I judge if a medication is worth the side effects that come with it?
- What are the side effects of the prescribed medications?
- What are my childs strengths? What are my childs weaknesses?
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider about ADHD?
How Is Adhd Treated In Adults
Your ADHD treatment will depend on the severity of your ADHD, any other conditions you might have, and your specific goals.
Many people assume that the only treatment for ADHD is medication, but thats not the case. In fact, medication is most effective when its combined with other treatments as part of a plan. ADHD treatment in adults includes:
- Medications. Adults are often prescribed the same medications as children with ADHD. There are stimulant and nonstimulant medications available. Depending on your specific treatment plan, you might also be prescribed an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
- Lifestyle changes. Getting into a routine and monitoring your overall health can help your ADHD symptoms. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress can make a positive difference in your symptoms.
- Exercise plans. Getting exercise can be very helpful in managing ADHD symptoms. Your doctor can help you work out a plan thats right for you. Activities like yoga can be especially helpful for people with ADHD.
- Therapy. Therapy can help you manage your stress and emotions. It might also be helpful to go to family or couples therapy to help you and your loved ones adjust to the diagnosis together.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy . CBT can help you learn new techniques to manage your ADHD symptoms.
- Coaching. Coaching can help you learn better organization, time management, and other skills.
Recommended Reading: Do People With Autism Drive
What Should I Know About My Child Participating In Clinical Research
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so others may receive better help in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Clinical trials for children are designed with the understanding that children and adults respond differently, both physically and mentally, to medications and treatments. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for your child. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.
How Can I Prevent Adhd
There are certain risk factor categories for the development of ADHD, some of which can be changed, some that cant. They are:
- Prenatal exposure to toxic substances.
If you or your parents have ADHD, there is a higher probability that your children will, too. Unfortunately, theres nothing that can be done to prevent the genetics from ADHD expression. The same goes for biologic factors. People can be born with chemical imbalances or they can have adequately functioning neurotransmitters.
Environmental toxins have been linked to ADHD in children. Parents may have their home tested for lead, for example, to prevent lead poisoning which increases the risk of ADHD. Another way to help reduce the risk of ADHD is to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs while pregnant with your child.
You May Like: How To Tell My Child He Has Autism
What Can I Expect If I Or My Child Has Adhd
ADHD is a complicated condition with various symptom expressions. If you or your child have ADHD, educate yourself as much as possible about the behaviors that make life difficult. Consider medicines and behavioral treatments. Your healthcare provider will help you with these. He or she will sum up the results of the ADHD evaluation and will recommend appropriate treatment. A combination of pharmacotherapy and behavioral treatment, is generally recommended. A trained behavioral health clinician can give general guidelines for managing your own or your childs ADHD and these can be tailored to your familys needs and your childs strengths and weaknesses.
Also, it is always useful to have appropriate expectations for yourself and your child. Dont expect your child to get out of bed the first time you wake them up, and dont be too hard on yourself if making progress is difficult. It is always best to have your partner and friends help with tasks like organizing and time management. Stay in contact with your healthcare provider, especially if there is a change in you or your childs behaviors, or there is a reaction to prescribed medications.
Two important questions to ask yourself are: 1) “Am I moving forward in the world of action or am I living in my head? 2) “Am I moving closer to my values or am I moving away from what I value?”
Behavior Therapy Doesnt Work
Behavioral therapy actually aims to help parents effectively manage and improve their childs behavior by changing how they approach and interact with their child. This form of therapy, taught by a therapist or another trained medical professional, has been proven time and time again to be an effective intervention for children, especially those between ages 4 and 6.
Behavior therapy wont change the wiring of a childs brain, says Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a psychologist based in Pennsylvania. It can, however, minimize distractions and change the tone of the interactions between a child and parents or teachers.
He adds: Behavior therapy enables a child with ADHD to function better, just as changing the way a diabetics diet can help him feel and function better without changing his ability to process sugar.
Recommended Reading: Does Freddie Highmore Have Autism In Real Life
Signs Of Adhd In Children
ADHD primarily causes symptoms related to inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, or a combination of both.
With ADHD, someone may experience difficulties paying attention and staying organized, excess fidgeting or restlessness, and trouble with self-control or impulsive behaviors.
In children or toddlers with ADHD, this can lead to at home, in day care, or at school, such as:
- trouble focusing on activities and becoming easily distracted
- low attention span while playing or doing schoolwork
- fidgeting, squirming, or otherwise having trouble sitting still
- constantly needing movement or frequently running around
- engaging in activities loudly or disruptively
- excess talking and interrupting other people
How Common Is Adhd
About 11% of children between the ages of four and 17 have ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD typically first appear between the ages of three and six years old. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven years old. In children, its three times more common in young boys than girls.
ADHD isnt just a childhood disorder. About 4% of American adults over the age of 18 contend with ADHD behaviors on a daily basis. In adulthood, its diagnosed equally between males and females.
You May Like: What Does The Puzzle Mean For Autism
How Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Is Treated
For children with ADHD, although there’s no cure, it can be managed with appropriate educational support, advice and support for parents and affected children, alongside medicine, if necessary.
For adults with ADHD, medicine is often the first treatment offered, although psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy may also help.
Finding A Qualified Mental Health Professional
Finding a clinician that is especially familiar with ADHD is key to a good diagnosis. Seeking out hospital and University Centers, gaining referrals from your doctor, or getting suggestions from support group members are all ways to start your search. Don’t be discouraged if you have to look outside your home town to find someone that meets these qualifications.
Recommended Reading: How To Interact With Autistic Child
How Is Adhd Diagnosed In Children And Teens
To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must have been present before the age of 12. Children up to age 16 are diagnosed with ADHD if they have had at least six persistent symptoms of inattention and/or six persistent symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity present for at least 6 months. Symptoms must be present in two or more settings and interfere with the quality of social or school functioning.
Parents who think their child may have ADHD should talk to their health care provider. Primary care providers sometimes diagnose and treat ADHD. They may also refer individuals to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, who can do a thorough evaluation and make an ADHD diagnosis. Stress, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and other physical conditions or illnesses can cause similar symptoms to those of ADHD. Therefore, a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine the cause of the symptoms.
During an evaluation, the health care provider or mental health professional may:
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Your child is showing signs of ADHD that are causing problems at home or school. These signs include inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity. Parents and teachers often notice this behaviour during the child’s first few years in school.
- Your child shows signs of other mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, that last more than a few weeks or seem to be getting worse.
- Your child is having academic or behavioural problems at school.
Read Also: Why Is Everyone Autistic Now
Adhd In Toddlers And Preschoolers
Little kids are an active and unruly bunch. So how can you tell if one has ADHD? Usually, their unruly behavior is extreme.
These kids are “running, jumping, climbing on everything, they can’t sit still, they talk all the time,” says Steven Cuffe, MD, of the University of Florida Health, Jacksonville. “They’re often described as ‘on the go’ or ‘driven by a motor.'”
Russell A. Barkley, PhD, of the Medical University of South Carolina, describes fidgeting and restless behavior: “They simply can’t concentrate very long on anything,” even a bedtime story.
But some kids with ADHD can focus on things they are interested in, like certain toys or video games.
While you may see warning signs early on, the diagnosis usually comes a little later. A doctor can help you with strategies for parenting.
I Dont Want My Child To Be Labeled
Your child may actually be less likely to be labeled a troublemaker, a bad kid, or a daydreamer if you address his ADHD early.
One study showed that a child with untreated ADHD received 20,000 negative messages in the first 10 years of life, Dodson says. If a child mostly hears, Youre a little monster, youre impossible to deal with, it affects how the child thinks about himself. Treating ADHD can help your child function and behave better, and will most likely build his self-esteem.
SUPPORT ADDITUDEThank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.
Also Check: Person With Autism Or Autistic Person
Adhd In The Transgender Community
Most of the sources used in this article do not delineate between sex and gender and can be assumed to have primarily cisgender participants.
While research on ADHD within the transgender community is new, recent surveys state that transgender individuals are significantly more likely to report an ADHD diagnosis.
One study in Australia reports that ADHD is four times more common among transgender people than the cisgender population.
At the time of publication, no research could be found that discussed the breakdown of symptoms between trans men, trans women, and gender nonconforming people. Intersex people were also not represented.