Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may affect different aspects of life, including personality, work, and relationships. Getting the right treatment is crucial in managing ADHD. Many studies have been conducted to investigate the efficacy of different treatment options for ADHD. Two major components are used in the treatment of this condition – behavior modification and medications. In some cases, a combination of the two is found to be more successful in controlling the symptoms.
Behavior therapy and counseling are found to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of this condition in both children and adults.
There are many different types of behavioral treatments, including the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral interventions – This method aims at teaching self-control through verbal instructions, cognitive modeling, self-evaluation, and other techniques.
- Clinical behavior therapy – This method focuses on training teachers, parents, and caregivers on behavioral treatment.
- Intensive behavioral management – This is an intensive program for behavioral management which helps in self-control and socialization.
- Contingency management – This is yet another intensive method of behavior management. This method focuses on encouraging specific behavior through the use of rewards and other responses.
Different types of drugs in different forms like short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting medications are now available for the treatment of ADHD. The most effective type, its dosage, and schedule differ from one person to another. Typically, these are used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
- One of the most commonly prescribed medication is psychostimulants. These drugs can help the person to concentrate better, and reduce hyperactivity, and is reported to be effective in 80% of patients. It could be useful in ADHD with moderate to severe symptoms. Psychostimulants are prescribed for both children and adults. Sustained-release form of stimulants are now available which are effective throughout the day.
- Non-stimulant drugs are recommended if stimulants are not effective or have unpleasant side effects in the patient. Non-stimulants are also prescribed for both children and adults. Non-stimulant drugs are effective in controlling impulsive action and in improving concentration of the patients.
- If both stimulants and non-stimulants are associated with side effects or are considered not effective, other medications like tricyclic antidepressants could be used.
A combination of medication and behavioral therapy can be used to manage ADHD, and has the potential to be more effective than using just one of the treatment methods alone. By adding medication, the time spent on behavioral modification could be reduced to a certain extent, and by using behavioral modification along with drugs, the dosage of drugs can be lowered.
ADHD is unique for each child who experiences it, and so is treatment.