If you suspect that your child may be suffering from ADHD, you should contact your pediatrician. This will try to determine the extent of the disease. After all, ADHD does not always have to be treated. This is usually only necessary when it comes to social and psychological impairments due to the symptoms that the child shows. Find out more about the correct treatment of ADHD in children.
Multimodal therapy for ADHD
The treatment of ADHD in children aims to alleviate the typical symptoms of the disease and to allow the children better social integration. Through the treatment, the children should be able to lead a largely normal life.
ADHD can be treated by various methods - usually a combination of different methods, a so-called multimodal therapy, is recommended. In the process, behavioral therapy is carried out with affected children, but at the same time medication is also administered. Parents and children are also informed exactly about the disorder and get valuable tips for everyday life at hand. If the affected child suffers from anxiety disorders or depression, psychotherapy is sometimes used.
ADHD: Treat with medication
Drugs are usually prescribed to children with ADHD only if there is marked hyperactivity. The drugs inhibit hyperactivity, make the child calmer and easier to concentrate. Thus, a social exclusion should be avoided and further therapies such as behavioral therapy should be made possible.
Frequently, psychostimulants such as methylphenidate or DL-amphetamine are used to treat ADHD. These drugs ensure that the duration of action of the messengers dopamine or norepinephrine is prolonged at the synapses. This overrides the imbalance caused by lack of dopamine in ADHD children.
As an alternative to psychostimulants, agents such as atomoxetine, which is one of the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, may be prescribed. As the name implies, they inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine into the cell, increasing the level of the messenger's chemical in the synaptic cleft. In addition, some antidepressants and sedatives for the treatment of ADHD in children are used.
Side effects of psychostimulants
Psychostimulant treatment is effective in about 85 percent of patients with ADHD. However, side effects such as headache and abdominal pain, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite or tearfulness can occur when taking it.
In order to minimize the side effects, it is important that the dosage of the medication is tailored to each child individually. For this purpose, the amount of active ingredient is increased until the lowest effective dose is determined. For children under the age of six, there is little experience with methylphenate. Therefore, drug treatment should only be given in urgent cases and under strict medical supervision.
Incidentally, drugs that are only suitable for children once a day are best for children. This reduces the risk of forgetting to take the tablet. In addition, the children do not have to take their medication at school in front of their classmates.
ADHD: behavioral therapy for parents and children
Behavioral therapy is a special form of psychotherapy in which parents and children frequently participate together. The older the child is, the more the therapy starts on the child. At the beginning, parents are usually given detailed information about ADHD so that they can support the therapy accordingly. The siblings and possibly even the educators or teachers can be involved in the therapy.
The goal of behavioral therapy is to train the children in dealing with the symptoms of ADHD. During therapy, the children should learn to control their symptoms better: For example, it is being worked on that the children react less aggressively and are less easily distracted. Unfavorable behaviors should be removed through training and replaced by newly learned behavior. This should enable the children after the therapy a largely normal life. In the context of behavioral therapy - if there are motor difficulties - also worked on this.
Biofeedback in ADHD
Biofeedback refers to a process in which people can consciously perceive unconscious bodily functions and control them at will through their power of thought. ADHD uses a special form of biofeedback, neurofeedback. This is feedback on the brain activity of the person concerned.
Neurofeedback uses electrodes to relay a person's brainwaves to a computer screen. An animation is running parallel to this - for example, a goalkeeper is shown on penalties. The animation works only when the brain waves are strong enough. If the child is very attentive, the goalkeeper can hold the ball, otherwise the ball goes into the goal. In this way an attempt is made to automate attentive behavior, so that it can also be called up in other situations, for example at school.
Long-term therapy is important
When ADHD occurs in children, it is important that the disease be treated long term. If no treatment is given or if it does not continue long enough, this can have serious consequences for the child: ADHD children without therapy often do not go to school and later do not find a profession that matches their mental abilities. They also find it difficult to build and maintain social contacts with other people. In the long term, this can lead to low self-esteem, which in turn can lead to mental illnesses such as depression.
How long ADHD has to be treated always depends on the individual case. While in some children therapy can be stopped after a few years, others require lifelong treatment.