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ADHD – Treatment and Management

Treatment for ADHD

Using medication alone is not usually the best treatment for ADHD. The first and foremost line of treatment is to address the child’s emotions (anxiety, panic, hyper-reactivity, impulsivity) and aim at making the child stable. If the child continues to have ADHD symptoms then medications may help.

Stimulant medications such as dexamphetamine and methylphenidate (Ritalin) are the two main medications used to treat ADHD. These stimulants act on neurotransmitters to release a chemical called dopamine. An increased amount of dopamine will help reduce hyperactivity and impulsive behaviours. Moreover, it is to note that the medications will work differently in different children so a particular child may benefit more from one of these medications than others. Some children may even benefit from taking a combination of the two.

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Caring for a child with ADHD

Caring for a child with ADHD can be very challenging as the patience of all family members is stretched. The aim in caring for a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD is to formulate the best way to help the child to learn and develop as well as reducing stress on all family members. Remember that a child with ADHD does not intend to be difficult.

Parents and caregivers needs to be consistent in their support routine, and it is very important to take breaks regularly, stepping back from problem to take a look at the situation when it is stressful.

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You can choose to:

* Develop consistent routines at home and school

* Keep instructions clear and simple

* Give reminders calmly

* Get physically close with the child and make the child’s full attention is given whilst talking

* Give one or two instructions at a time

* Praising is important, particularly if the child has done something good

* Ignore irritating behaviours and attitudes

* Discipline child for unacceptable behaviour for instance give timeout sessions

 

Other helpful tips to manage ADHD

Helping a child managing ADHD can be tailored to the individual child. Therapies such as counseling can help a child to develop concentration and social skills and can extend to controlling anger or treating impulsivity.

 

Therapies for ADHD can include:

* Behaviour modification

* Therapy aiming at rewarding child for good behaviour is more successful than punishment alone.

* Cognitive therapy

* Provides aids for a child to manage thinking skills such as problem solving and self control.

* Anger management

* This is for children with impulsive behaviour who are quickly frustrated and angered.

* Child learns to recognise the signs of growing frustration and learns coping skills which are designed to defuse the anger.

* Child also learns to relaxation and stress management skills

* Social training

* Suitable for a child with ADHD who do not get along with their peers due to aggressive and lack of social skills.

* Training teaches child to interact with peers.

* Family counseling

* Family counseling is for all members within the family and helps with formulating coping techniques for raising a child with ADHD.

 

Where to get further help

* Your regular GP

* Sydney Developmental Clinic * http://www.sydneydevelopmentalclinic.com.au/faq.htm

* Learning Discoveries Psychological Services * http://learningdiscoveries.com.au/adhd/?gclid=CP2nwN6blr4CFYaVvQodqT8AxA

* Support groups:

* Every day with ADHD and challenging behaviour  * http://www.everydaywithadhd.com.au/adhd-support-groups.html

* Raising children network *  http://raisingchildren.net.au/forum/Topic66203-17-1.aspx

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