Everyday Health is gathering the responses of several professionals of the top 5 questions they get regarding ADHD. They asked me to participate. The following are the questions and my answers. Check in with Everyday Health next week to see the compilation of responses.
1. Why are there so many theories about the causes of ADHD? What are the most common?
Any disorder that does not have a known cause is open to a number of theories. People naturally want to know why or want to feel as if it can be prevented in the future. Heredity is believed to be the most commonly accepted cause.
2. How can you explain the value of treatment to resistant parents? For example, “I survived my childhood with ADHD –and I was never diagnosed or treated. Why does my child need ADHD treatment?”
Often children with ADHD have gaps in their education. As they are in and out of focus each day, they miss key points in instruction. As new skills build upon old skills, it can be more and more difficult to learn new tasks where there are gaps in the foundation. This difficulty can make focusing even more difficult, further compounding the problem. Treatment can help reduce or prevent this cycle.
3. What role does a child’s school have in helping him or her with ADHD?
The school can help by providing support and accommodations specific to the particular needs of your child IF it can be determined that the symptoms of ADHD are significantly impacting his or her education. Of course, each school has different criteria for determining if there is a significant impact.
4. Are the medications recommended for ADHD safe for children? What are the potential dangers?
There is not a lot of solid research yet on this topic. While the medications are believed to be safe, they have not been around long enough to fully study long term effects. There are also side effects that may make the medications not worth the benefits in some children. All of that being said, I’ve seen kids who are finally able to focus after starting medication. Taking the medication improves learning, grades, and self esteem, which has numerous positive long term benefits. Medication is not something to take lightly. Parents must think very carefully weigh the unknown risks of taking the medications verses the possible risks of refusing the medications. There is not one answer that fits all children.
5. What are the most common side effects of ADHD meds?
Weight loss, behavioral changes, and headaches are possible side effects.