Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurocognitive disorder that’s characterized by difficult in paying attention and impulse control, as well as displaying hyperactive behavior. Although estimates vary, conservative number put out by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 5.4 million school aged children have the condition in the United States alone.
Everyone may indeed display ADHD-like symptoms on occasion, especially younger children. With true ADHD however, these symptoms are so strong and so persistent that proper functioning in everyday life and its activities becomes affected. If you think you or your child may have the condition, it is always prudent to have a diagnosis confirmed by a professional before any ADHD treatments begin, pharmaceutical, alternative, or otherwise.
As you may be aware by now, several different and distinct approaches exist with regards to treating ADHD, but some research has put forth the suggestion that the best way to treat ADHD is a multifaceted or multimodal approach.
What is A Multimodal Approach?
Multimodal approaches (with respect to treating ADHD) are employing several treatment methods simultaneously and having them work together to combat the symptoms of the condition.
There are several key components to a multimodal treatment for ADHD, and these are most often pharmaceutical, behavioral ADHD therapy, education, and nutritional supplementation.
Many pharmaceutical approaches exist which can help to combat the symptoms of ADHD, and these can include (but are not limited to):
The abovementioned medications are all stimulant based, but that’s not to suggest that they are the only pharmaceutical options available. Several non-stimulant based medications also exist to treat ADHD and these include:
The medications listed here are used as a way to combat the symptoms of ADHD, and improve a person’s ability to concentrate, focus, and live and work more effectively. It may also take several different doses prescribed by your doctor before you discover what works best for you. However, that is not to suggest that these medications are not without their side effects – these can include:
- Decreased appetite
- Sleeping difficulties
- Upset stomach
The majority of side effects experienced from these ADHD medications are relatively minor and the majority of these ameliorate over time. If they do not subside, the medical practitioner may choose to lessen the dosage or try an alternative medication all together.
Before any ADHD medication is prescribe, the FDA recommends that a very thorough medical exam is undertaken to determine any underlying risks of cardiovascular or psychiatric problems and the medication may adversely affect.
ADHD Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy is a drug free approach used to abate unhelpful behavioral traits which are attributed to ADHD such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Behavioral therapies are vast and varied and include neurocognitive training, instilling organizational and time management behaviors, or teaching them to be more responsible.
Behavioral therapy has also shown to strengthen the executive function of emotional control (an innate inability to deal with frustration and similar emotional states).
Educating both the person with ADHD, as well as their families and immediate social circles is an important aspect of threating a persons ADHD and managing it successfully. With respect to parents, ADHD education may include understanding what is and is not normal behavior for a child with the condition, and learning ADHD specific parenting skills to help manage symptoms. For a great start, take a look at the seven best ADHD books.
Supplements for ADHD
People with ADHD have been shown to be lacking in several essential micronutrients, and have consistently been shown to stand to improve their symptoms by carefully adjusting their macronutrients like essential fatty acids.
The following are a list of common supplements that can help address these nutritional deficiencies or imbalances and result in improved behavior in some cases:
- Cod Liver Oil
New research has been beginning to show the benefits of treating ADHD on multiple fronts with multimodal treatments. In a recent study of nearly 600 children with ADHD between the ages of 7 and 10 found that a combination of behavioral therapy and medication worked better in treating their ADHD than medication alone.
The research also indicated that the benefits reached further and purely the symptoms, with children reportedly improving in high stress and social environments in terms of their own social skills. It was also shown to benefit children with anxiety and depression as well.
One of the findings many parents will be most happy about is that those who partook in a multimodal treatment of their ADHD were also able to lessen the dosage of their ADHD medications.
What Works for You?
A multimodal treatment of ADHD is now looked at as one of the most promising treatments at present. The medication, therapy, and nutrition will depend on the child and should be catered to the child in question in coordination with a family practitioner.