Medications used to treat ADD have been around for many years. But how do you know which medications work best for you or your child? Unfortunately, you need to have a lot of patience sometimes when working with ADD medications, especially if other medications are also involved. Here are a few things I encourage you to consider before you begin a medication regimen.
- Obtain a proper assessment – Begin by talking to your primary care physical. Make certain your doctor has expertise in ADD and if not, it’s okay to ask who the ADD expert is in your area! If you feel you need a second opinion, GET ONE! Your doctor may refer you to a Pediatrician, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Neurologist, or Psychologist.
- Questions – NEVER stop asking questions about ADD and what medications are best for you or your child. Continue to ask until you are completely satisfied with the answers. Understand that a complete diagnosis involves a review of past medical history, past psychiatric history, family history, school history, and your current family social situation.
- Medication journal – I can’t encourage you enough to keep a medication journal and use it often. Note and date what’s working and what’s not. Note how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally. We are complete beings and understanding that those three things make up who we are is very important. Keep this journal out where you’ll see and use it often!
- Trial & error – Realize that you may deal with a lot of trials and errors when it comes to ADD medication treatment. Give it time!! Some medications take time to work in your system and others take less than an hour for you to feel the effects.
- Side effects – About 10-15% of people develop side effects to medications. That is a very low percentage! If you notice undesirable side effects, talk to your doctor about reducing the dosage until the side effects lessen. Be certain you consult your doctor if you are considering part-time medication usage (stopping on weekends for example). It is highly advised by doctors not to consider this option for certain medications.
- Other existing conditions – know that if you are experiencing other problematic conditions, you will probably be treated for those BEFORE you are treated for ADD.
- Using medication treatment along with behavioral treatment – Medications only help to control concentration, inattention and hyperactivity. Behavioral treatments help with coping skills, prioritizing, and handling difficult situations. Medication treatment in combination with behavioral treatment is going to give you the most well-rounded treatment in order to treat the whole person. It has been proven that close to 75% of people have been shown to much better outcomes than when using only behavioral treatment or only medication treatment on its own.
- Fear of medications – There is no need to fear medication treatment for children. Adderall, if your child has diabetes, you wouldn’t hesitate to keep them on medication to help manage it, would you? Ask yourself this one question: Have I balanced the risks versus the benefits? The risk benefit ratio with ADD is as simple as this: there is a 60 to 80 percent chance that the medication will benefit the person taking it and only a 10 to 15 percent chance of risk for side effects. So with these facts, it is very clear how effective medication is to treating the symptoms of ADD.
- Untreated ADD – Kids and teens with untreated ADD are at a higher risk of academic underachievement, drug and alcohol problems, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, social problems, family problems, and driving accidents. The earlier you treat ADD, the less risks exists!
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