Friday, March 27, 2009

Medication Treatment for AD/HD

An article about medication effectiveness and side effects is circulating in the media. A piece by Shankar Vedantam appeared on the front page above the fold of today’s Washington Post. The article highlights some of the disagreements that have arisen between leading scientists over a follow-up to the landmark Multimodal Treatment Study on AD/HD. We encourage concerned parents to learn more by perusing the CHADD website and the website of CHADD’s National Resource Center on AD/HD. As always, parents should consult with their treatment and prescribing professionals before making any decisions about the treatment of AD/HD. Any treatment, including treatment of AD/HD, must be individualized to meet the unique circumstances of the person and his or her family.

Clarke

You can read this blog and others like it at the HealthCentral website.

4 comments:

FreeRangeMom said...

The significant problem I see with this study is that it's so focused on medication, that it skips over the most important part of the story -- what kind of treatment should we giving our children. Parents need ideas and resources about what works to treat ADHD -- not more worries and criticism about whether medication is right for their child.

Talk therapy with the wrong therapist does NOT help reduce symptoms of ADHD -- from my experience it can even make them worse. Talk therapy does not work with a 4, 5, 6, 7 or even 8 year old who don't have the cognitive skills in place to work on inattention or hyperactivity. Perhaps the parents were the ones receiving the talk therapy? That makes more sense to me.

What parents need are clearly defined treatment parameters. They need tools to evaluate whether a psychologist is capable of addressing the problem. They need clear guidance about what are the core components of a behavioral intervention to ADHD. And we need standards and certification that our licensed mental health professionals are trained in treating ADHD.

We also need to talk about who pays for this therapy? Even middle class families with insurance can hardly afford long term behavioral intervention support of a trained professional.

I bet the vast majority of parents have their children on medication because nothing else was working They were desparate, they tried it and it worked. They continue to use medications because they work. In our family we tried everything else first -- including talk therapy. We can see the difference in focus, hyperactivity and executive skills with medication -- even after 3 years. If we didn't, we'd stop using them.

Parents of ADHD children need support, not criticism. Reports such as this latest study, only add fuel to the fire to those on the outside of this disability who are quick to criticize the families who are struggling to live with it every day.

I urge CHADD to help shift the focus away from the medication debate, and instead shed light on what parents can do to help their children be successful in life -- much less remember to bring their homework to school tomorrow morning.

Peggy Dolane
Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Well said Peggy,
My grandson is diagnosed with ADHD and a co-morbid unspecified mood disorder. A vast range of medications have been tried and I am thankful the resources have been available.
One thing all of the professionals we have seen so far agree upon is that my grandson is ADHD. The issue that, as a family, we struggle with is the fragmentation and lack of comprehensiveness of the mental health services available, the gross inadequacy of the social service system and the oppositional perspective of mental health needs inherent in our legal system.
Dealing with a psychriatic disgnosis that is a moving target because there is no continuity or consistency in the system and attitudes that believe that mental health issues are not regarded as real just bad behaviors is like trying to find your way out of a forest in a deep fog. Every way one goes you come up against another big tree.
Medication is just one tool in the tool box to deal with psychiatric
issues.
Without a care system that provides a consistent comprehensive approach that includes the identification of the
care provider team, with clear standards and best practice guidelines regarding their role, their practices and how they communicate with each other, the patient, the family and the community in which the client lives many resources and much valuable time will be squandered. It is necessary to continue the medication research, but revamping the system is really the issue.
Thanks for listening

Anonymous said...

Sports & active community interaction
helps Parents and children become a greater part of their community and thus better the life style of their families & children.

Anonymous said...

Mom in Missouri -
I waited a whole year before I would put my son on medication - it was not an easy decision. He is now 17 and we are managing the ADHD with medication and other behaviors. Talk Therapy worked for both of us - but we used it for about 2 years with a psychiatrist that specialized in ADHD children.
Now My son has been on medication for over 10 years - is that safe? Are there any studies on this? We still use "Drug holidays" so we both can tell when he is not on medication. He will also be attending college next year so I am concerned about his self discipline (I guess all parents are concerned about that some.!)