“I think your kid might have ADHD,” is an all too common response when someone notices that a child has trouble settling down and perhaps can’t seem to focus well. Often that statement is followed by: “You should really have them tested and get them on some medication.”
Quickly resorting to treating a mental or physical ailment with drugs seems to be the unfortunate trend in our society. Let’s treat the symptoms with medications, so we don’t have to be inconvenienced by trying to figure out how else to manage them.
As with many other psychological problems, managing your child’s ADHD symptoms can be a long and winding road, especially since there are so many variances. Often, the exhausted parents simply want the problem fixed – so they can catch a break and don’t have to feel embarrassed any more when people make comments about their child’s behavior – and so they turn to the quick solution of treating their child’s symptoms with medication.
While there is certainly a place for medication in an ADHD treatment plan, are there important reasons why you shouldn’t settle for using drugs as the only solution?
Shortsighted Treatment Model
While medication is considered by many to be an essential part of treating ADHD; behavioral therapy and positive parenting practices teach adaptive coping skills while strengthening the parent child bond. Medication helps people with ADHD improve their ability to learn new skills that promote higher functioning. Therapy teaches those skills, so together you have a comprehensive treatment approach.
Possible Side Effects
There have reportedly been side effects such as weight loss, muscle spasms, hallucinations, or loss of joy (depression) in children who take psychostimulants. And while research seems to prove that there are no long-terms side effects such as kidney and liver damage, there’s no real information available on how these stimulant medications might affect the developing brain of a growing child in the long run.
Life-Long Self-Managing Skills
Learning how to function and developing healthy coping mechanisms to manage their own behavior and attention problems are life-long skills that can aid children when they grow up and as adults. Handling symptoms in this way is a valuable tool for the sufferer to employ as part of their ADHD treatment. It allows them to develop what works for them and gives control into their hands.
Impact of Parenting
It’s not easy to parent a child whose unpredictable and antagonistic behavior leaves you frustrated and even angry at times. But the fact is that parenting has a huge impact on how successfully ADHD symptoms can be managed. Getting support to help you learn better parenting strategies from a mental health expert will, in turn, put you in a position to assist your child to learn self-managing skills.
Aside from the fact that it’s quite possible your child has been misdiagnosed with ADHD when he or she is perhaps suffering from sleep deficiency, adequate sleep and nutrition play a big role in how severe ADHD symptoms are. Getting enough sleep is a must for children, otherwise, irritability and hyperactivity are sure to plague them. Many children with ADHD also respond well to an elimination diet. Cutting or strongly reducing such things as dairy and gluten-rich foods, eggs, soy and nuts, and foods loaded with sugar, artificial colors, or other additives can have a dramatically positive effect.
Obviously, there are compelling reasons to consider alternative strategies as part of your child’s ADHD treatment. Settling for medication alone is a quick and easy fix, but is it the best solution for the long-term and for your child’s well being?