As a parent, thinking about the use of medication for a child is very difficult. Not only do you have to manage the process of absorbing your child’s ADHD diagnosis, often you are then presented with the option to treat with medication.
That’s because medical practitioners look at medication as a “first-line treatment” for ADHD. What that means is that for many, many years, a number of medications have proven effective in addressing symptoms of ADHD. They are used in combination with other forms of treatment, such as psychotherapy, parent education and exercize to combat and hopefully reduce symptoms that interfere with daily life.
As a clinical social worker, I don’t diagnose or prescribe medications. But I can help clients learn as much as they can in order to make the best choices for themselves or their children. And I help you to address the feelings you are having about making these decisions!
Accept that you and your partner (if you have one) come to this with your own opinions and personal values about the use of prescription drugs. Mix that in with the advice of your physician who is advocating a trial of medication. If possible, ask others who have seen the effects of medication – such as your school’s principal, special education teacher etc. Seek out other parents who have tried them.
ADHD symptoms in children or adults can be improved with the use of appropriately prescribed, and monitored medication. The goal is symptom reduction, so that daily tasks such as school performance or workplace success is enhanced. They don’t work for everyone, and different drugs might need to be explored to find the best match.
For yourself, or your child with ADHD, find out as much as you can, and then make a decision based on good science, and your own instincts about what is best for your family.