The novel coronavirus struck the world hard. In many locations, strict “Stay-at-home” mandates were released, and many parents got to see, firsthand, the struggles that the teacher may have had with their child. As a direct result, during the pandemic, there was a surge of formal attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), a nonprofit that supports people with ADHD, received 62% more calls to the help line, as parents struggled to understand their child and their new diagnosis. Families battled as they adjusted to children learning at home and fought to keep grades and attention from tanking. The top concern from families new to the diagnosis: medication or therapy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes three treatments for ADHD: Behavior therapy, medication, and a combination of the aforementioned two. The goal of therapy: to learn and strengthen positive behaviors while giving the child the tools and ability to recognize and potentially eliminate negative or disruptive behavior. The goal of medication: to assist the child in managing their symptoms and open the possibilities of the child controlling their behaviors. The choice to medicate is always personal. ADHD is a diagnosis that affects everyone differently and what works for one child is not guaranteed to work for another. If a doctor tells you otherwise, get another doctor. 

Your doctor is your best source of advice. There are many support groups on Facebook and Reddit, and while they can offer you their personalized experience with therapy or some type of medication, it is extremely important to have an open discussion with your medical professional about the options open to you.  Take the time and question your doctor about the best way to manage your child’s diagnosis!

Here are some of the top questions to ask your doctor and open the discussion on how to best to provide treatment to your child.

  • What are the key components for successfully managing ADHD?

This is a broad open-ended question, which is a fantastic way to start of the conversation with your doctor on ADHD management. While answering this question, the doctor may hit other future questions that you may want to ask. 

  • What is your opinion on therapy and medication for ADHD management?

If especially interested in one over the other. Let your doctor know upfront, however, ensure you have a full understanding on all of your options. Remember, this is just one person’s opinion. This doctor is human, and their opinion may differ from another medical professional.

  • Is it possible for ADHD treatments, whether therapy or medication, to fail?

Nothing can be guaranteed, but there are steps and roles that you, as the parent, can play to increase your chances of success. Foreknowledge is one simple step.

  • Can you recommend any reading material or online resources that I should review?

Engage with your doctor on their subject of expertise. Through taking the time to do some of your own research, you can theoretically spark future conversations about treatment, management, and the potential of your child.

Do you have more questions about your child’s ADHD or just want to understand it more? Check out this lecture, How to Treat ADHD Based Off Science, from Dr. Russell Barkley, an expert with more than 20 years in studying this diagnosis. 

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