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ADHD Medications With Other Treatments

When a child's schoolwork and behavior improve soon after starting a drug for ADHD, the child, parents, and teachers tend to applaud the drug for causing the sudden changes. Unfortunately, when people see such immediate improvement, they often think medications are all that's needed.
However, drugs don't cure ADHD -- they only control symptoms on the day they are taken. Although the medications help the child pay better attention and complete schoolwork, they can't increase knowledge or improve academic skills. They can only help the child use those skills that he or she already possesses.
Behavioral therapy, emotional counseling, and practical support will help children with ADHD cope with everyday problems and feel better about themselves.

Facts About Medications for ADHD

Key points to keep in mind regarding ADHD medications include the following:
  • These medications help many children focus and be more successful at school, home, and play. Avoiding negative experiences now may actually help prevent addictions and other emotional problems later.
  • About 80 percent of children who need ADHD medication still need it as teenagers. Over 50 percent need these drugs as adults.
  • If a child has ADHD and bipolar disorder, he or she will probably be prescribed a mood stabilizer, such as lithium or Depakote®. The healthcare provider will also carefully consider whether the child should take one of the medications usually prescribed for ADHD. If a stimulant medication is prescribed, it may be given in a lower dosage than usual.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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