Let's face it, for the parents of children with ADHD, and the adults who are frustrated with similar symptoms affecting every aspect of life, there is no question. Giving a child a pill for the disorder is not enough. Patients, family members, and friends already know at least 5 big reasons ADHD medications are only part of the answer for relieving the symptoms and making life more bearable.
Amazingly, the most common ADHD medications used to treat the disorder are actually stimulants! Considering the major symptoms, it seems totally bizarre to treat a hyper-activity, attention deficit disorder with drugs that will further stimulate the brain. However, the opposite is usually the case. Psycho-stimulators often help balance the chemicals in the brain, resulting in a calming more attentive persona.
However, doctors will be the first to admit that ADHD medications are only a small part of the treatment necessary for children and adults suffering from this all-too-common debilitating affliction. Here are 5 reasons why medication is only part of the treatment:
1. Time limitations
2. Side affects
3. Simultaneous disorders
5. Coping skills
Of course, the long list has been the subject of volumes. Nevertheless, let us consider just a few of the most prominent reasons why any ADHD medication alone will not work.
Generally, ADHD medication only work for 4 hours, or at most 6 hours. Thus, it means parents, school officials, and health care providers have to medicate children more often. Unfortunately, it is not recommended that kids be responsible for taking the pills as prescribed, so a supervisory adult must always be available when the next dose is due. Thus, the problems of ensuring proper dosing can be a challenge.
Unfortunately, most any ADHD medications on the market today are not without side effects. While some patients may only recognize the benefits, other patients have to cope with added problems. Thus, it is questionable whether the benefits outweigh the added health concerns. Some of the potential problems include:
• Weight loss
• Increased activity before next dose
• Risk of addiction
In many cases, many ADHD medications decrease appetite. Thus, individuals will lose weight. While some people may consider this an added benefit, it can actually result in more health problems in the long-term.
In addition, there is the problem of increased activity between doses. It is not time for the next pill, but the ADHD medication is definitely wearing off. Thus, patients are left with a space of time where the symptoms are worse and coping is extremely difficult, until the next dose kicks in, and once again relieves the symptoms.
Then again, some patients also experience addition symptoms due to ADHD medication. Individuals may develop tics of the facial muscles, jerkiness, and other problems that will actually require more medication or coping skills.
As with any medications, there is always the risk that something will go wrong. Parents and patients have a legitimate worry that the medication will result in addiction. Then, if there comes a time to try something different, it will be almost impossible to get off of the stimulants. Also, some patients with ADHD have died, and doctors speculate the medication may have been a contributing factor.
Even with ADHD medications to deal with the symptoms, many of the patients also suffer from other disorders requiring equal attention. For example, individuals often have learning disabilities, glaring behavioral problems, anxiety disorders, depression and more. Thus, it is incumbent upon caregivers to address all of the health issues with a combination of treatments.
Since many patients have underlying mental, physical, emotional, and social health concerns, therapy is a resource that medication alone cannot equal. In truth, ADHD affects the entire family. Not only does the sufferer need therapy, loved ones need to have support and the tools needed to deal with this chemical imbalance and associated disorders.
Therapy for the whole family is vital. ADHD medications are only a small part of the treatment package. Everyone needs better understanding of the disorder and the coping skills to handle life twenty-four hours of every day. ADHD is not easy for anyone, including siblings and loved ones who may provide emotional and relief support.
Make no mistake about it! ADHD is a disorder that cannot be maintained by ADHD medications alone. Oftentimes, patients have other health related issues to contend with, and family members are also suffering and need professional assistance. It is a problem that affects all facets of life, and needs to be treated with every tool available to patients, parents, and professionals.
by Einar Eskeland