FAQs on Medical treatment

Potential abuse of stimulant medications – “Am I drugging my kid?”

This is one of the greatest fears of or accusations launched at parents. Let us quote the American Academy of Pediatrics again (“ADHD – A Complete and Authoritative Guide”):

"Used properly, there is no evidence that they produce ‘speedlike’ or ‘euphoric’ effects in children or adolescents when restricted to normal treatment doses. In addition the use of stimulants by children with ADHD has not been found to lead to street drugs use in teenagers. On the contrary, substance of such drugs such as alcohol and marijuana is more common in adolescents with ADHD who are not treated.”

Should I immediately stop medications once I see some side effects?

'Side effects’ of the medication should be discussed with the doctor.

Over- or mis-interpretation of some signs as side effects is very common and would affect the decision of how to manage them and the effectiveness of treatment. Parents or sufferers should report their observations to the doctor to validate if it is really a side effect, or due to some other reasons.

What is the right dose of medications?

Some parents want their physicians to prescribe the lowest possible dose of medication. It is now known that the best results from medications are achieved by the dose that shows the most improvement with the least side effects.

Medication as a last resort

Many parents view taking medications especially stimulants as the last resort – after all other measures have been tried. However, research has shown that such other treatments are more likely to work if the child is also taking medications by helping the child to focus.

Alternative treatment

Many non-medical treatment modalities in the community are welcome by people who are worried about medication. However, almost all of them are not evidence-based and the predictability of the therapeutic outcome is sporadic and/ or anecdotal. Some of these could be effective in some patients for some time and only to a certain degree. However, the investment in terms of time and money in these treatment modalities can still be substantial and some modalities may have its own undesirable effects, e.g. an elimination diet which may take too much ingredients from the child and results in malnutrition.

If parents really want to try alternative treatment, it is important to give some time limit of the trial. If not successful, the parents should immediately withdraw from it and seek for professional advice.

The official treatment guideline of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which is supported by large amount of scientific research results, is a good reference source for sufferers, parents and other frontline professionals in dealing with ADHD alike.

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