Treating ADD – The Range of Possible Options

This article was originally written by Sarah Jenkins

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Attention Deficit Disorder, a challenge to say the least, may have you ready to pull your hair out. Luckily, there are treatments available to help your child be more successful at completing daily tasks, paying attention, and resisting impulsive activity. Generally, there are three most utilized methods for treating ADD: medication, behavior therapy, or alternative medicine.
Medication has been the primary treatment method for Attention Deficit Disorder for decades. Although it has been the center of much controversy the last several years, many argue that the effectiveness of medication can not be matched by any other treatment method. On the other hand, it is also argued that the side effects common of such medication make it a poor choice of therapy. ADD is most often treated by a form of stimulant medication. While this medicine would cause increased activity in most people, it has a calming effect on people with ADD. There are also other forms of medication used as well.
Side effects of the medication used to treat ADD are typically decreased appetite, and weight loss as a result, increased anxiety, insomnia, and/or irritability.
Behavior therapy, on the other hand, does not have the side effects common with medication. On the other hand, it will not have the overnight reaction typical of medication treatment either. Behavior therapy focuses on teaching the child effective management skills to deal with the disorder, as opposed to masking its existence. This may include the use of organizers to keep up with schoolwork, as well as introducing a reward system for good behavior. Such steps teach the child the positive results of good behavior, instead of concentrating on negative behavior and harsh discipline. This treatment route is a long and arduous process and will not display immediate results, although the results that come about may be more long term in nature.
Treating ADD with alternative medicine has also proven to be an area of controversy. Technically, “alternative medicine” is anything that falls outside the realm of standard medication and behavioural treatments. The list of alternative treatments include dietary intervention, nutritional supplements, interactive metronome training, motion sickness medication, treatment for candida yeast, optometric visual training, thyroid treatment, and lead treatment. While these treatments seem to be plentiful, it is important to understand many of these are unproven, or in fact, proven to be ineffective by the scientific community. No treatment should be instituted without the supervision of a doctor.