As soon as a thorough, accurate diagnosis is made, ADHD treatment can begin. No single treatment is the answer for every child. Several factors are involved in determining which option is best, such as the child's needs, personal and medical history, and research findings. In many cases, a plan to treat ADHD consists of a combination of medications and behavior therapy.
Effective ADHD treatment depends on an appropriate diagnosis (see Diagnosing ADHD). A comprehensive medical evaluation of the child must be conducted to establish a correct diagnosis of ADHD and to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.
The condition can be reliably diagnosed when appropriate guidelines are used. Ideally, a healthcare practitioner making a diagnosis should include input from both parents and teachers. However, some health practitioners choose to diagnose ADHD without all this information and tend to either overdiagnose the disorder or underdiagnose it.
Once an ADHD diagnosis has been made, every family wants to determine what treatment will be most effective for their child. This question needs to be answered by each family in consultation with their healthcare professional.
No single treatment for ADHD is the answer for every child; a number of factors are involved in determining which treatment is best. For example, even if a particular treatment might be effective in a given instance, the child may have unacceptable side effects or other life circumstances that prevent that particular treatment from being used.
Furthermore, findings indicate that children with other accompanying problems, such as co-occurring anxiety or high levels of family stressors, may do best with ADHD treatment that combines both medication and intensive behavior therapy. In developing a suitable treatment plan for ADHD, the child's needs, personal and medical history, research findings, and other relevant factors need to be carefully considered.