When a child is diagnosed with ADHD it is likely the paediatrician will prescribe medication, such as Ritalin. ADHD drugs are not addictive. They aim to increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. These medications boost concentration and focus while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviour.
Medication is life changing for many families. It may take time to establish the right medication and the right dosage, as everyone responds differently. There are a number of different medications, including long acting ones which last all day. Side effects of medication can include nausea, suppressed appetite and a small effect on height if taken regularly for years. However, there’s emerging evidence that taking ADHD medication during childhood may reduce the severity of ADHD permanently as it facilitates more direct neural pathways, which as the brain matures become permanent.
The most effective way to treat ADHD is by employing a “multimodal approach”. This simply means that the condition is treated in many ways, which may include: traditional medication, psychological assessment, parenting training, dietary changes, speech therapy, occupational therapy, better communication with the school, and “adjustments” and additional learning support at school to improve learning outcomes. To help parents navigate this, we’ve developed the Parent Checklist.
Macquarie ADHD Parent Support Group aims to help parents and carers by organising professional ADHD experts to talk on a range of treatment possibilities and strategies, which can help parents and carers embrace the positives of ADHD, such as creativity, energy, enthusiasm and intuition, while minimising its limitations.
“Your role is to get your ADHD child through the sausage factory of school with their self-esteem intact.”
Child Psychologist, North Shore