One of the principle treatments for ADHD children are psychostimulants. Paradoxically, they have a calming effect and help to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, which in turn brings about an improvement in a child’s ability to focus, learn and work. Physical coordination is also greatly improved.
Some of the commonly used medications include Ritalin, Focalin, Adderall, Dextrostat and Vyvanse. Since medications may have side effects, dosage has to be carefully monitored by a physician.
There are a variety of psychotherapeutic techniques used to treat ADHD which help the individual manage their emotions and modify their behaviors. The best psychotherapeutic treatments for children with ADHD include:
Talk Therapy - This type of therapy provides an outlet for the child to express his/her emotions in a supportive environment. It not only helps the child cope with his/her hyperactivity but also reduces impulsivity and problem behaviors. Your child’s psychiatrist may also want you to be a part of the therapy sessions.
Behavior Modification Therapy - The aim of this therapy is to change or modify the problem behaviors and replace them with desired behaviors. Limits and consequences are set on problem behaviors to reduce their occurrence and desired behaviors are reinforced with rewards and praises so that they occur more often. The child is also taught to monitor his or her own behavior. Behavioral therapy may take some time to show significant results, however, over the course of a few weeks, you will notice a decrease in the impulsive and hyperactive behavior of your child.
Social Skills Therapy - This therapy involves teaching children social skills. Children with ADHD often have problems interacting with other people. Social skills training helps the child to learn skills such as turn-taking, sharing, asking for help, and also how they should respond to being teased. Usually carried out in a group setting, this treatment method will also teach your child to read facial expressions and to understand someone else’s tone of voice, something that does not come naturally to an ADHD child.
Self-Help and Other Treatments for ADHD Children
Dietary modifications can reduce the symptoms of hyperactivity in children. This involves cutting down on sugar, caffeine and food additives. Extra vitamins, minerals or omega-3 fatty acids can also be helpful.
ADHD children also need clear rules and a structured routine at home. This is why it is important that parents take an active part in the treatment of their ADHD child. Parental skills training can teach you how to use positive feedback to increase desired behaviors and how to ignore or redirect the unwanted behaviors. Managing out of control behaviors is another skill that a parent can learn and use at home.
Also, make sure to talk to your child’s school and work with the teacher and/or the school’s special education committee to get your child extra in areas where he or she may need it, such as reading, math and organizational skills.
Exercises, homeopathic medications, and getting a good night’s sleep will also help you manage your child’s ADHD. Herbs, neurofeedback and musical therapy are also treatment options that have been found to be useful.
NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.
National Institute of Mental Health: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
University of Maryland Medical Center: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Help Guide: ADD / ADHD Treatment and Help
Bupa: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children