ADHD Treatment Options
Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall improve ADHD symptoms in 70-80 percent of kids. There are also non-stimulant options, but they can take longer to have an effect. They usually aren’t prescribed unless the stimulants didn’t work or there is a medical concern about using them. Some of the most common side effects of both are a decrease in appetite and sleep problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 6 and up be treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy.
This type of therapy helps reduce unwanted behaviors such as being disruptive in class and improves skills such as organization. A therapist may see the child directly, but they will often also train the parents in behavior management. They may recommend behavioral interventions in the classroom. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends behavior therapy for all children with ADHD.
In 2019, the FDA authorized an electrical stimulation device for kids age 7 to 12 to relieve ADHD symptoms. It works by sending a low electrical pulse through a nerve on the face that connects to the brain. It’s an option for families who want to manage the disorder without medication, but the device costs nearly $1,000 and may not be covered by insurance.
Eating certain foods may help balance out mood swings, and limiting other foods, like sugar, may help with hyperactivity. This is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside other treatments.
Running around and working out can burn off hyperactive energy and improve ADHD symptoms and cognitive functioning. This is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside other treatments.
Spending time in nature can improve concentration and relieve symptoms of ADHD, at least in the short term. Aim for at least 20 minutes per day. This is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside other treatments.
- Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness activities such as yoga can help kids with ADHD pay attention and self-regulate their emotions. This is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside other treatments.
Recently, a digital therapeutic called EndeavorRx® was authorized by the FDA as indicated to improve attention function as measured by computer-based testing in children ages 8-12 years old with primarily inattentive or combined-type ADHD, who have a demonstrated attention issue. This is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside other treatments.