O. K. So now you have taken the step of having your struggling child or teen assessed by a professional, and he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The psychologist, or therapist, or physician now wants to begin a treatment program. But what should you know before you “sign off" on any particular treatment approach?
Here are some suggestions for you to consider. The following are merely our suggestions, but are based on having worked with over 1,000 children and teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Use your best judgment. Talk with your doctor. We don't want to be accused of practicing medicine across the Internet. The suggestions that follow will vary depending on your child or teen's diagnosis (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Inattentive Type vs. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Impulsive-Hyperactive Type, and with or without temper problems, with or without some depression or anxiety, and so on) and also on the time of the year in which you are beginning treatment. To learn more about the different types of ADHD and specific treatment strategies for each type.
During the summer vacation and early in the school year we like to try the “alternative" interventions, such as the homeopathic nutraceutical medicines Attend, its “cousin" nutraceutical Extress, our recommended eating program, and essential fatty acid suppliments. EEG Biofeedback training is also a good “alternative" treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder. If these strategies work, and they will about 70% of the time, then we can keep the patient off of medication and see them succeed.
If the diagnosis is made later in the school year we tend to recommend trials of medication right away for just about everyone with Attention Deficit Disorder, knowing that we have the summer coming up to try alternatives that might be able to cut the dose of medication in half, or eliminate the need for medication altogether. But later in the school year time becomes a larger factor. We don't want the school year to be wasted or lost, so we need to try the most powerful interventions at that time.
But here is our thinking. First we want to do what we can to “salvage" the school year if we only have a few weeks left. Since medications can begin to give benefits very quickly often the child will pass classes that he might have failed otherwise. Additionally, by having a “real world" trial of medication prior to the summer break, we can use the benefits received from the medication as a “bench mark" with which to measure the effectiveness of the “alternative" treatments that might be tried over the summer months.
Also, please remember when discussing these suggestions with your physician or your psychologist, that old saying, “If the only tool that you own is a hammer, then all the world looks like a nail. " Professionals who are unfamiliar with treatment options such as the “Attend" amino acids, or the EEG Biofeedback training, will tend to discount them immediately out of their ignorance. I did this myself for years, and this is where you must decide for yourself how best to help your child or teen with Attention Deficit Disorder.
You can learn more about the six types of ADHD
, specific treatment strategies for each type, alternative treatments for ADHD, and much more at the ADHD Information Library.
Douglas Cowan, Psy. D. , is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net , helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL. , is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.