Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
It was correctly pointed out that powerful ADHD medications can have potentially harmful effects on the developing brains of small children. The major point at the end of the ADHD post that I submitted was that there remain large numbers of adults who are not diagnosed with this disorder. This became easily confused with the central theme of the posting which was that ADHD is a real diagnosis and a real disorder and not that more medications should be used for children. In point of fact, too many parents, worried about their children, are too ready to listen to the experts and accept medication treatment without looking into all types of behavior modification programs.
Even with regard to adults, there are other alternatives than going straight to medication treatment. Behavioral training in the form of coaching, behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapy are useful techniques to be used. Of course, when nothing else is working and a person is in danger of losing their job or marriage, and then medication becomes important as an adjunct to behavioral therapy.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that there is no panacea when treating ADHD in children, adolescents and adults. As a society, we tend to medication oriented and this may be due to the impact that powerful drug companies have in encouraging us to turn to new medications. On the other hand, we Americans tend to want quick fixes when there are lots of problems that require time, treatment and lots of patience before solutions are found.
Finally, ADHD is a real diagnostic category and not something to be scoffed at by people who tend to be skeptical and rejecting of new information. Increasingly, research is showing that there are differences in the brains of people who have and do not have ADHD. These differences are being revealed by brain scans. Very often, time and maturity along with training and behavior modification, make stimulate the brain to overcome these problems. I would add that ADHD is not a single entity but is made up of several sub categories that have not yet been revealed. Further research will give us greatly improved treatment techniques.
Because we know that ADHD is real and can be scientifically quantified, treatment is necessary for the youngsters and adults who are hampered by it. Too many adults complain about how they were made to feel when they were children and were "out of control" at home and in school. It is essential that parents take this diagnosis of ADHD seriously and get the appropriate treatment for their youngsters so that they can learn to master their behavior and the social skills necessary for success in school and society without being made to feel that they are "bad."
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