Behavior Therapy Often Needs To Be Combined With Medication When Treating ADHD

When your child is suffering from ADHD, every day at school might seem like a struggle. There are often medications that are prescribed to treat ADHD, but these are the most effective when combined with behavioral therapy.

Medications and Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral management is usually the first step before your child would receive a medication. You will want to get your child's teacher involved so they can provide behavioral classroom intervention. Your child's teacher can monitor your child's behavior to make sure that they are making progress so you can decide whether you need to do something else to help your child succeed.

You can begin helping your child by structuring your home in a way that has a set routine. Children with ADHD have an easier time adapting when they receive positive reinforcement for following a routine. Good behavior should receive a reward, and negative behavior should be ignored to disincentivize it. 

How to Handle Very Bad Behavior

If the bad behavior is too serious to ignore, you will want to figure out if there are any triggers for bad behavior. You will then want to remove these triggers so that the bad behaviors do not become reinforced. For example, if you know that your child misbehaves when the neighbor's dog is around, consider coordinating with your neighbor so that the dog isn't outside when your child is out playing.

Punishments should only be used when stopping extreme behavior. One example is to limit video game time if your child does not focus on schoolwork or is acting out.

Stimulants and ADHD

In some cases, stimulants may be needed to balance brain chemicals. If a medication is prescribed, speak with your child's school about the need to have the medication taken at a certain time as prescribed by the doctor.

After your child begins taking the stimulant, you will want to report any side effects that your child experiences. Some children respond well to medication and do not suffer any side effects, while others might experience sleep disturbances or decreased appetite. 

Fortunately, a healthcare provider may be able to eliminate these side effects by changing the medication, adjusting the dosage, and weighing the benefits against the side effects. Also, if your child will know better than anyone how the medication affects them and can tell you about whether the medication is helping them focus in school. The medication should always be a supplement to behavior therapy.

Contact an ADHD treatment provider to learn more.