ADHD Treatments – Risks and Alternatives

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There are many different types of drugs that doctors use to treat ADHD and they have different side-effects, most rather minor but others quite unintended.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) now ranks among the most common childhood disorders. Symptoms include difficulty controlling behavior, paying attention and staying focused, as well as over-activity. The ailment can continue through adolescence and into adulthood.

Children who take a drug for treatment of ADHD should be using one that does not pose a health risk for them through side-effects. It is important to consult with the child’s doctor to understand which drug is most appropriate.

The most common side-effects of these medications are a decrease in appetite, nausea, weight loss, difficulty with sleeping and irritability when the effects of the drugs wear off.

Some nonstimulant medications, such as Atomoxetine, have also been linked to jaundice and other liver problems. Depression and suicidal tendencies have been linked to some ADHD drugs, too.

In extreme cases, ADHD medications have been found to cause heart-related deaths. While these are very rare, it is still something to keep in mind when considering having medication prescribed for a child.

Counseling and Lifestyle Changes

Apart from drugs, counseling has proven to be quite effective in treating ADHD. Therapy is usually administered by a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Such counseling can often successfully diagnose and treat other behavioral problems, which may be exacerbating the symptoms of the ADHD. The following are counseling options for both parents and children:

    • Behavior therapy
    • Psychotherapy
    • Parenting skills
    • Family therapy
    • Social skills

Changes in lifestyle at home and wherever the child goes are also useful in treating ADHD. The following are some ways to help alleviate a child’s symptoms:

    • Showing more love and affection
    • Learning to be more patient
    • Being realistic with expectations
    • Spending quality time with the child
    • Keeping a regular schedule and weekly program
    • Encouraging enough sleep for the child
    • Avoiding stressful situations
    • Balance the family life and reduce conflicts

Other Alternatives

Generally, the medical establishment will not support alternative remedies, including herbal cures. They only encourage medication used in combination with behavioral therapy.

However, an increasing body of literature is linking ADHD to metabolic disorders, obesity and related cofactors, such as overeating, eating poorly, gaining weight, lack of physical exercise, too much TV, etc.

For a child who is overweight and suffers from ADHD, it seems that working on weight loss can be an effective remedy. As is so often the case with modern ailments, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise are important steps in overcoming this disorder.

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Tam Tam Cavemen

Tam Tam is a young boy, and like most young boys he has way too much energy.

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