December 5, 2007

ADHD? Treat It Now!

Here is a fuller explanation of some of the research that's been in the press lately about ADHD. Going only by the brief stories in the mainstream media (the worst place to get your science news), you would think that many kids can grow out of ADHD and don't have to worry about it as adults. You would be terribly and tragically wrong.

“I think there’s been a bit of overinterpreting going on,” said Russell
A. Barkley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of
South Carolina, in Charleston, an ADHD expert who was not connected with the
brain-imaging study. His own research, based on longitudinal surveys and
behavioral observations, has long suggested that only 14 percent to
35 percent of children with ADHD fully overcome the symptoms by age
. Experts fear that potential misinformation about the disorder
will cause clinicians, parents, and educators to take a wait-and-see approach
with students who have ADHD, rather than tackle the problem head-on. "

The bolding is my own. If a child you know has ADHD, there is a slim chance they could grow out of it and even if they will, that is not a reason to avoid treatment. The drugs for ADHD are safe and effective. Therapy and coaching is helpful as well. There are alternative therapies which have some slight improvement, but they should not be your first choice. If your child were having trouble seeing, you wouldn't try vitamins and diet changes first, you'd go get glasses. ADHD drugs are like glasses: get them first, then work on the coping strategies and other needs. It's more important than you can know unless you have this disorder yourself.