Too often doctors pump kids & adults full of drugs to treat the symptoms of ADD, ADHD & dyslexia. As a result, side effects may occur. Doctors don’t always consider the root cause of symptoms & alternative ways of dealing with the problem. You can see this for yourself in the new ADHD guidelines for pediatric doctors as of October 16, 2011. For some people medication is necessary, but sometimes other options should be explored first. We have a 5 page report on how to help people with ADD, ADHD & dyslexia w/o drugs.
ADHD: Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Summary of key action statements found in PEDIATRICS Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (October 16, 2011):
1. The primary care clinician should initiate an evaluation for ADHD for any child 4 through 18 years of age who presents with academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation).
2. To make a diagnosis of ADHD, the primary care clinician should determine that Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria have been met (including documentation of impairment in more than 1 major setting); information should be obtained primarily from reports from parents or guardians, teachers, and other school and mental health clinicians involved in the child’s care. The primary care clinician should also rule out any alternative cause (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation).
3. In the evaluation of a child for ADHD, the primary care clinician should include assessment for other conditions that might coexist with ADHD, including emotional or behavioral (eg, anxiety, depressive, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorders), developmental (eg, learning and language disorders or other neurodevelopment disorders), and physical (eg, tics, sleep apnea) conditions (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation).
4. The primary care clinician should recognize ADHD as a chronic condition and, therefore, consider children and adolescents with ADHD as children and youth with special health care needs. Management of children and youth with special health care needs should follow the principles of the chronic care model and the medical home (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation).
5. Recommendations for treatment of children and youth with ADHD vary depending on the patient’s age:
a. For preschool-aged children (4–5 years of age), the primary care clinician should prescribe evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as the first line of treatment (quality of evidence A/strong recommendation) and may prescribe methylphenidate if the behavior interventions do not provide significant improvement and there is moderate-to severe continuing disturbance in the child’s function. In areas where evidence-based behavioral treatments are not available, the clinician needs to weigh the risks of starting medication at an early age against the harm of delaying diagnosis and treatment (quality of evidence B/recommendation).
b. For elementary school–aged children (6–11 years of age), the primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD (quality of evidence A/strong recommendation) and/or evidence-based parent and/ or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation). The evidence is particularly strong for stimulant medications and sufficient but less strong for atomoxetine, extended-release guanfacine, and extended-release clonidine (in that order) (quality of evidence A/strong recommendation). The school environment, program, or placement is a part of any treatment plan.
c. For adolescents (12–18 years of age), the primary care clinician should prescribe Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD with the assent of the adolescent (quality of evidence A/strong recommendation) and may prescribe behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD (quality of evidence C/recommendation), preferably both.
6. The primary care clinician should titrate doses of medication for ADHD to achieve maximum benefit with minimum adverse effects (quality of evidence B/strong recommendation).