Saturday, November 28, 2015

Will ADHD medications help?

I have a 7 year old son who is struggling with the same issues you discuss on your blog. I am a mental health professional and work with kids but it is difficult when it is my own child. We have him on a medication trial with concerta 18mg but it only seems to make him tired. He is in therapy but it is not really helping. Would straterra help. What do you suggest?

Hi, You mention two medications that can  be used for attention deficit disorder (ADHD).  If your child has ADHD, then your doctor may try either of those medications. Most doctors will try a stimulant like Concerta first.  Concerta is a time released form of ritalin.  More research has been done on stimulant medication for ADHD than any other class of medications, and stimulants have the highest percentage of positive results: from 70 to 90 per cent effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD.  The other medication you mentioned Strattera is sometimes used for ADHD, especially when a child has side effects to stimulant mediation.  However, I have not found it to be as effective in treating symptoms of ADHD.  

It is important to add that these medicines are not typically used for anger overload.  There is no research that I am aware of that they are helpful in the absence of ADHD.  If your child has anger overload issues and ADHD, then ADHD medicines may help your child self-regulate, i.e. become less impulsive.  And if your child is less impulsive, he may be able to pause and think more often when he is frustrated.  So you may then see some reduction in anger overload.  Still, it is unlikely that anger overload will disappear, and I would recommend you also work on the strategies in my anger overload manuals.  These cognitive behavioral strategies have been found to help reduce anger overload in a number of research studies of children.

Take care, David Gottlieb, Ph.D.

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