ADD; ADHD; Childhood hyperkinesis
Treating ADHD is a partnership between the health care provider, parents or caregivers, and the child. For therapy to succeed, it is important to:
- Set specific, appropriate target goals to guide therapy.
- Start medication and behavior therapy.
- Follow-up regularly with the doctor to check on goals, results, and any side effects of medications. During these check-ups, information should be gathered from parents, teachers, and the child.
If treatment does not appear to work, the health care provider should:
- Make sure the child indeed has ADHD
- Check for other, possible medical conditions that can cause similiar symptoms
- Make sure the treatment plan is being followed
A combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best. There are several different types of ADHD medications that may be used alone or in combination.
Psychostimulants (also known as stimulants) are the most commonly used ADHD drugs. Although these drugs are called stimulants, they actually have a calming effect on people with ADHD.
These drugs include:
- Amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
- Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat)
- Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana)
A nonstimulant drug called atomoxetine (Strattera) may work as well as stimulants, and may be less likely to be misused.
Some ADHD medicines have been linked to rare sudden death in children with heart problems. Talk to your doctor about which drug is best for your child.
Talk therapy for both the child and family can help everyone understand and gain control of the stressful feelings related to ADHD.
Review Date: 04/11/2011
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California.