Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coping with ADHD Treatment

It can be difficult if your kid is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The symptoms alone are enough to cause you, your child, and the rest of your family some difficulties.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Since symptoms of ADHD vary and their causes are not clear, doctors usually hold off diagnosing ADHD in children until they exhibit the following symptoms with greater intensity compared to what is normal for their age:

1. Inattention. Children with ADHD find it difficult to concentrate on one activity at a time or forget easily even when just told of something.

2. Hyperactivity. ADHD-affected children are often in constant motion even when they seem to be just sitting. Squirming, fidgeting, playing with things at reach, and running around are common manifestations.

3. Impulsiveness. When a child with ADHD is struck with an idea, he immediately acts on it without thinking of consequences. As a result, most ADHD children are accident-prone and susceptible to tantrums if they do not get their way.

If you suspect that your child has ADHD or has been knowingly diagnosed with the condition, do not be anxious. With your help and guidance, he is perfectly capable of living a full life. Medications that can help you and your kid manage his condition, ADHD can be a bearable situation.

Or is it?

The Problem

Insomnia, stomach problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and weight loss are common side effects often associated with ADHD medication use. Apart from his ADHD episodes, your kid may suffer from loss of sleep, decrease in appetite, and being underweight before he gets better. While switching medications is often a solution, this entails another adjustment periods as your kid’s body tries to get accustomed to a new set of drugs.

The Solution

Steven Parker, M.D. the director of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at the Boston Medical Center advises that if the benefits of the drug (i.e. better learning capability and mood control) outweigh the side effects, it is often better for kids and parents to tough it out. Here, we provide you tips on reducing or preventing the onset of side effects when using ADHD medications:

1. Implement changes in eating habits.

Unless otherwise indicated, taking ADHD medications with food is recommended as it can prevent the onset of stomachaches and gastrointestinal problems. Taking ADHD treatment medications with food also prevents headaches by preventing sudden changes in blood pressure. If possible, work mealtimes around his medication schedules or give him a snack before administering medicines.

2. Consider long-acting medications.

Short-acting medicines have the disadvantage of triggering headaches as an offshoot of their speedy reaction time. If your child suffers from headaches a lot especially after taking medications, work with his doctor to develop a medication schedule that offsets headaches during times when your kid is at school. If the headaches are too severe, switching to long-acting formulations is a viable option.

3. Develop a sleep routine.

Aside from keeping your kid’s bedroom as a strictly sleeping zone – no homework, no TV – you can also help him sleep better by prohibiting caffeinated drinks and developing a sleep routine. Consistently practicing a bedtime routine that is comfortable for both you and your child can help prevent insomnia caused by ADHD medications.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

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