About Medication - IntroductionAbout Medication - Introduction

About ADHD and its treatment

Girl looking distressed and holding hands over earsADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is now widely recognised and being diagnosed in children, young people and also adults all over the world, including the United Kingdom.  The condition includes attention difficulties, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour and can vary from mild to severe in how it affects each individual.

You are not alone
ADHD is seen in about 5% of school-age children, which means 1 in 20 children can have difficulties associated with ADHD. It is important to understand you are not alone, help and support is available to manage the difficulties your child is experiencing at home and/or school.

What treatments are recommended for managing ADHD?

Your doctor or nurse may discuss with you about various treatment options as below:
  • Psychoeducation – providing you and your child the right information about various aspects of ADHD and encouraging you and your child to discuss and agree a treatment plan that suits individual needs.
  • Behavioural advice/strategies and offering parent training and support
  • School support with behavioural and educational strategies and classroom/ environmental modifications such as:
    • Changes to seating arrangements
    • Changes to lighting and noise
    • Reducing distractions
    • Movement breaks
    • Clear and concise verbal instructions and with supporting written instructions
    • Providing small chunks of work to enable focus for shorter periods
  • Importance of a balanced diet, good nutrition and regular exercise/physical activities
  • ADHD medication
Young boy at school sitting at desk

How do you manage ADHD?

Managing ADHD needs to be tailored to the specific needs and difficulties of the affected child and the family. According to NICE guidelines (national guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in England and Whales), experts recommend:
  • A holistic care approach - which means treat and support the child/young person as a whole person and not just the difficulty.
  • In addition, broad treatment plans to tackle and support various needs of the child/young person. These can be behavioural, psychological, educational or occupational problems.
  • The written treatment plan is agreed and shared between health professionals, family, school and relevant professionals.

When do you need to think about starting a medication for ADHD?

ADHD medication is generally recommended when there are persisting problems causing significant impact, after other treatments/support such as school support, classroom modifications and behavioural strategies have not helped adequately.

It is important that you discuss the features of ADHD with your child/young person and their teacher/s both to inform them and to understand their views. When medication may be needed, it is important to have a full discussion with the specialist doctor or nurse.  Remember medication is part of the whole treatment plan and works well in conjunction with behavioural strategies/treatments.

It is not always easy to make the decision to start ADHD medication. However, research confirms that it is often highly effective and millions of people have found it to be of great benefit to them in their everyday lives.

Most people with ADHD respond to at least one of the medications. For those people with ADHD who do not benefit from them, other medications are available from some specialists.

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