Are you considering medicating your child for ADHD? This decision should be made with input from your physician and a neuropsychologist. With a neuropsychological evaluation, it is possible to not only discover if your child has ADHD, but also how severe the inattention is, if impulsivity and/or hyperactivity are involved, and if there are other issues associated with the ADHD such as memory, fine motor, or learning problems. Importantly, what can also be learned is if there are problems which can make the child more susceptible to side effects of the medication. For example, if the child is found to have signs of anxiety, there is a possibility that he or she will be more prone to side effects such as tics, emotional liability, as well as others.
Another, and oft neglected, component of treating a child’s ADHD with medication is making sure that the child is being treated with therapy, such as behavior management and/or counseling. As a matter of fact, in the drug instruction sheet that comes with most ADHD medications is a statement that the child should be treated not only with that medication, but also with therapy for more successful results. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that when medication ONLY is used, it is often not as effective. The physician may increase the dosage, change or add other medications, or end up switching the type of medication altogether from a more traditional ADHD medication to entire other classes of medication (antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.). There is a possibility that, along with therapy, the outcome achieved using the originally prescribed medication would have been sufficient.
4 Considerations Before Medicating Your Child for ADHD
- Get your child evaluated and make sure that they actually have ADHD.
- From the testing, learn the details about your child’s particular ADHD (not everyone with ADHD is exactly the same).
- Learn if there may be an increased chance that the child may be susceptible to side effects of ADHD medication.
- If you decide to medicate, make sure that the child is receiving therapy in addition to the medication in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of the medication.
By following the above steps, you can improve the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the excess medication your child might receive otherwise.