Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Common Treatment Options for ADHD

ADHD is a behavior disorder usually diagnosed in children, although some adults can also show milder symptoms. It manifests as the child's inability to focus on one single action or object for a normal amount of time. Untreated, ADHD can have serious negative consequences in the long-run (social, psychological, academic).

Parents with children who suffer from ADHD already know that there is no treatment out there which can make this disorder magically disappear. They can only resort to the few options available that reduce their child's symptoms short-term. Commonly, there are three wide known treatment methods: medication, behavior therapy, and both of them combined. However, there are also other recently developed alternatives to traditional behavior therapy. Let's have a look at the whole list of treatments available:

· Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions (CBI)

Although its efficacy has not yet been established, this form of behavior therapy aims at developing self-control in children with ADHD. They are taught to self-instruct and self-reinforce whenever they find a breach in their behavior. In this way they can stop themselves, and, in time, be able to control their impulse behavior and inattention.

· Clinical Behavior Therapy (CBT)

This is a popular program of behavior treatment, widely applied in the classroom, but also at home. The purpose of CBT is first of all to train parents, teachers and caregivers how to implement contingency behavior management. Usually there will be a report card that records the targeted behavior in children and rewards accordingly.

· Direct Contingency Management (CM)

CM is an intensive behavior modification program, standardized for treatment facilities or classrooms. It uses positive (rewards) and negative reinforcement (privilege loss, time-out) to encourage wanted behavior, and to discourage impulsivity or inattention.

· Intensive Behavioral Therapies

This program combines CBT and CM, aiming at developing self-control and social skills within a friendly, safe and fun environment. This form of therapy is commonly held within summer camps, during which children have to attend a behavior intervention class and parents witness their progress.

· Combined Pharmacological and Behavioral Interventions

This form of treatment has been found by the scientific community to be the best approach so far for ADHD. One major advantage is that it reduces the time spent by parents and teachers in order to change a certain behavior, while the dose of medication can also be gradually diminished.

· Medication Treatments

Stimulants have been evaluated as the best medication available for ADHD treatment today. Basically, there are two major classes of stimulants: methylphenidate and amphetamine products. They can prolong attention span; they can improve self-control and behavior, while giving a real boost to social functioning. It is known that stimulants kick-in after 30 minutes and their effect lasts up to 12 hours.