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Articles of Interest:

ADD/ADHD

ADHD Symptoms

ADHD:What Do We Do?

ADHD:Ritalin a Wonder Drug?

ADHD Diagnosis

ADHD Diagnosis: Page #2

ADHD Developmental Course

ADHD and Disruptive Disorders

ADHD Assessment for Your Child?

 ADHD Assessment Page 2   

Cause of ADHD: Is it biological?

Cause of ADHD: Is it environmental?

ADHD Drugs

ADHD Drugs Page #2

ADHD Drugs and Side Effects

ADHD Drugs: Predictions of Effectiveness

Antidepressants for ADHD?

Antihypertensives for ADHD

ADHD Symptoms: Using Behavioral Management  

10 Things You Can do to Help Your Child With ADHD.  

 Help for Adult ADD/ADHD- The Fundamentals You Need to Know  

  Help for Adult ADHD Page #2

Website Map/All Articles

 

ADHD drugs: Effectiveness and Side effects

 

ADHD drugs: How effective are they?

adhd drug and childrenThe ADHD drugs Ritalin (methylphenidate) and dexadrine (d-amphetamine) are believed to produce their behavioral improvements through improving attentional skills, impulse control and a reduction in task-irrelevant activity in settings which usually require some restraint of behaviors. Noisy and disruptive behaviors usually also improve with ADHD drugs. Children with ADHD then become more compliant with parental and teacher commands, along with an increased cooperative behavior toward others. Research also has found that even ADHD children are able to perceive that the drugs are beneficial in the reduction of their symptoms, and have even described improvements in their level of self-esteem. However, ADHD children seem to report more side effects than their parents and teachers do.

Improvements in other domains of behavior have also been reported as a result of the use of ADHD drugs. The effects of stimulants have also been found to have some effect in reducing aggressive behaviors according to more recent studies in children with abnormally high levels of pretreatment aggressiveness. Also, improvements have also been noted in the handwriting of these children. Productivity at school and the accuracy of work completed may also increase dramatically as a function of the use of ADHD drugs. Some improvements have been noticed at lower levels, while others seem to improve most at the higher doses of medication. There is controversy however, as to whether these immediate improvements in academic performance actually translate into long-term achievement improvements. Nevertheless, stimulant medications appear to remain useful in the management of behavioral symptoms over extended periods of time. It seems relatively easy to conclude that the stimulant ADHD drugs produce significant improvement in academic accuracy and productivity in the short-term, but possibly have limited affect on the long-term achievement of ADHD children.

 

ADHD drug side effects:

The side effects which occur most frequently with ADHD drugs are mild insomnia and a reduction in appetite, particularly at the noontime meal. There is some belief that temporary growth suppression may occur although it is not generally believed to be severe or common. These side effects may be managed by ensuring that adequate nutritional intake is maintained through shifting the distribution of food intake to other times of the day when the child seems to have more of an appetite. Some ADHD children become irritable and prone to crying late in the afternoon when their medication begins wearing off. Some parents notice that there is also a corresponding increase in hyperactivity at the same time. A small percentage of ADHD children may also complain of stomach aches and headaches when treated with these ADHD drugs, but these symptoms tend to dissipate within a few weeks of beginning treatment and can be managed by reducing the dosage. Research has suggested that approximately 1 to 2% of children treated with ADHD drugs may experience motor or facial tics. Also, in children who already have these tics, there may be some exacerbation by the use of these medications in some cases, while in others, may actually even be improved. Overall, these stimulant medications seem to be relatively safe in children with comorbid ADHD and tic disorders, although you should always be prepared to reduce the dosage or discontinue the medication if children seem to experience drug-related exacerbations of their tic symptoms.

Information adapted from Treatment of Childhood Disorders by Eric J. Marsh and Russell A. Barkley

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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