ADHD Treatment Options
If ADHD is diagnosed, these are the most common treatment options.
Treatment options for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) vary widely according to age and the type of ADHD present, though they do affect improvement in most cases. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Treatments can relieve many of the disorder's symptoms, but there is no cure. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives.” It is important to note that ADHD is not simply a childhood disorder — it does last throughout adulthood — but that lifestyle changes and coping skills can often work even without medication to help you lead a more “normal” life.
Medical intervention. A wide variety of medications are available for treating ADHD, including both stimulant and non-stimulant medications. Stimulants have been in wide use for treating ADHD in younger children because, in many cases, these medications have a paradoxical effect that actually calms the child down. Non-stimulants are more likely to be used in adolescents and adults, as well as children who do not respond properly to the stimulants. While medications do carry a number of potential side effects, they are often effective in increasing concentration and reducing the level of abnormal hyperactivity.
Behavioral therapy. Nearly everyone who is prescribed medication for ADHD will also be advised to get behavioral therapy as well. Behavioral therapy teaches a number of coping skills to help slow down reactions and improve impulse control. Eventually, many people who take ADHD medications can reduce their dose or even eliminate the pharmaceuticals altogether as they learn how to channel energies, think through actions and better manage their level of focus.
Lifestyle changes. Some of the symptoms of ADHD can be managed or alleviated through changes in everyday lifestyle. It’s important to get a good amount of exercise and quality sleep every day in order to enhance focus and better equip you to recognize and manage symptoms as they arise. Flexibility in everyday tasks is often beneficial, allowing for breaks or switching tasks whenever it becomes difficult to pay attention. However, it may be helpful to stick to a set schedule every day with only a certain amount of flexibility built in, making it easier to see what needs to be done every day and accomplish it. Stress management is essential, both for the sufferer and immediate family members. Finally, written goal-setting for both short- and long-term goals, with a nice mix of instant-gratification and delayed-gratification tasks, can help keep you on track.