Deciding on ADHD Medication

CADDAC National Director

I recently came across an article that nicely summed up things parents should consider when deciding on ADHD medication treatment: linked here.

The article listed five things to parents should consider when making the decision, the first being a thorough medical evaluation by a trusted expert in the field of ADHD. For a description of what is involved in a thorough ADHD assessment access Diagnosing ADHD on the CADDAC Website. For further reading, access Assessment and Diagnosis for Children and Adolescents.

Once you are assured that your child has ADHD, your next step would be to ask yourself what is your desired outcome. How will it benefit your child? I would add that your expectations of medication treatment should be realistic. The symptoms that you would like to target should actually be something that medication will assist.

You will then need to consider all side effects; not just those of medication treatment, but also symptoms of untreated ADHD.  Also consider that the decision to try medication as a treatment is not a permanent decision. Most ADHD medication may be started and stopped quickly or used only when required.

Finally, remember that this is not a decision that must be made quickly or under pressure. Other treatments, such as school accommodations and parenting strategies, should be tried initially. Medication treatment can always be added at a later date if necessary.

On the other hand, it may become evident very quickly that many things have been tried unsuccessfully in the past and the child is in significant distress. In this case, a medication trial may be initiated immediately.  Also you should be aware that it may actually take some time to find the right medication and the right dose.

Medical professionals make a treatment decision by assessing benefit /risk ratio and so should you. What are the potential benefits to your child and what are the potential risks? While assessing these, make sure that you are relying on proper medical research that has been peer-reviewed and duplicated on a large scale, not anecdotal stories on the Internet.

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