By: PaxCare Staff
We want to say up front that we don’t personally believe that medication treatment for ADHD is completely useless or should be avoided altogether. We do think that people are being oversold on the effectiveness of ADHD meds, however. Ritalin, and its cousins are not a cure for ADHD. They only control the symptoms for a limited period of time. Likewise, in children, ADHD meds can stunt growth: “Adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be shorter and slimmer than their same-age peers, according to a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia today.” (Source: MedicalXpress) Most interestingly, research by SUNY Buffalo shows that even if they do initially bring on some improvement, ADHD meds stop working altogether within 3 years of beginning them. Read the entire article here.
So what’s a parent to do?
Fortunately, there are a ton of effective behavioral treatments for ADHD. Think of behavior therapy—and similar psychosocial interventions—as physical therapy for the brain. Psychotherapeutic exercises literally increase the connectivity, development, and healthy functioning of the brain, especially brain processes that control attention, awareness, focus, and impulse control—all skills lacking in persons with ADHD. In fact, cognitive-behavioral and psychosocial interventions for ADHD have consistently been shown to be more effective than medication for ADHD: “Cognitive and behavioral therapies that help young people reduce impulsivity and cultivate good study habits are costlier and take longer to administer, but may be more efficacious over time.” (Source: Scientific American) Ultimately, cognitive-behavioral and psychosocial approaches to treating ADHD actually heal the brain imbalances that make it difficult for ADHD sufferers to focus, follow-through, and control impulses.
Here is a great resource that lists many of the available treatment options for both children with ADHD and adults.
In addition to the above, mindfulness training (where the client learns how to calm and focus the brain through various exercises that improve concentration and focus) has been shown to be very effective for treating both adults and children with ADHD:
“The study by Grosswald et al. (2008) shows in 10, 11—14 year old children with ADHD reduced attention and total problems after transcendental meditation using a non-controlled pre-post design. Zylowska et al. (2007) report that mindfulness meditation training in 24 adults with ADHD resulted in improvements in self-reported ADHD symptoms and test performance on tasks measuring attention and cognitive inhibition.”
Likewise, neurofeedback, (a therapy that uses computer assisted exercises to teach the client to have conscious control of various brain skills like attention and focus) has a great deal of research showing it to be an effective treatment for ADHD:
“Neurofeedback trains children to become more aware of their physiological responses and how to gain control of the brain’s frontal lobe, which is the executive functioning center.”
Read the rest of the article here.
Take a look at the above links. You might be surprised to find resources that are more effective than meds and could actually cure the ADHD instead of merely controlling it for a time.