Have you ever been around a child or teenager who couldn’t focus and settle down? That no matter when or where they are, they seem to be full of energy? These children may be among many who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Their interesting quirks become apparent in schools with a lot of rules to follow. To help them fit in, we need to find the best ways to manage their symptoms through medication or meditation.
ADHD As A Behavioral Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition diagnosed in 8.4% of children in the U.S. Adults can be affected by this condition, and boys are more likely than girls to develop it. ADHD is a mental condition that manifests as a behavioral disorder.
Its cause has remained unknown to this day. It usually manifests in one of the three types: inattentive, impulsive/ hyperactive, and combined type.
With these symptoms, treatment for ADHD ranges from prescription medication to behavioral intervention, meditation, or counseling. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, usually not managed with medication alone.
For holistic care and well-being, counseling and other therapeutic techniques are proven effective in managing symptoms of ADHD.
Medications For People With ADHD
Consultation with a psychiatrist is essential for proper diagnosis and prescription medication. Psychiatrists may provide counseling through the prescription of effective drugs.
It is necessary to find a suitable type of medication depending on ADHD symptoms and severity. Through medication and counseling, people with ADHD may better cope with their condition.
Opting for medications to manage ADHD is not an easy decision to make. Talking to your psychiatrist will help you make the best choice. Some people only need to take their medicines during parts of the day, at a specific dosage.
For example, some children with ADHD only need medication during school hours, on weekdays. There are two general types of medications for ADHD: stimulants and non-stimulants.
These drugs are the most common and initial prescription for the management of ADHD. Stimulants target the levels of brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine.
These chemicals, when increased, can improve concentration or focus. Some of the most common Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants are amphetamine-based stimulants, dextromethamphetamine, dextromethylphenidate, and methylphenidate.
When stimulants are ineffective or causing undesirable side effects, your doctor may prescribe non-stimulants. These drugs work through a different method or pathway in the brain. They also increase the level of essential chemicals such as norepinephrine. Examples are atomoxetine, antidepressants, guanfacine, and clonidine.
One of the most significant advantages of taking prescription medication is its relatively immediate effect and steady supply. But like any other drug, the pitfalls of ADHD medications are their side effects.
The most common side effects are headache, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, nervousness, irritability, dry mouth, and weight loss. Talking to a counselor may also help in coping with the challenges of taking prescription drugs.
Psychotherapy and Counseling For People With ADHD
One of the mainstay treatments for ADHD is psychotherapy and counseling. Since ADHD has no known cure, it is best to find ways to cope with the condition.
Different aspects of life can be impaired by ADHD, from school to family. Through counseling, people with ADHD may fully engage in their daily activities and improve their quality of life.
Counseling is beneficial for both people with ADHD and their caregivers or loved ones. Psychotherapy and other similar strategies are not just a tool for prevention. Counseling and meditation techniques also serve as a guide when bouts of impulsivity or inattention take place.
● Behavioral Therapy
Behavior therapy is a common intervention for children. To help manage their behavior, adults at home or in the school determine triggers and develop strategies.
The child can monitor their behaviors and responses to certain situations. Then, they can learn more suitable answers and receive rewards for good behavior. Counseling is geared towards the parents as well as teachers, if possible.
● Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) And Other Forms Of Psychotherapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing the person’s thoughts affecting their behavior. Psychotherapy usually works on a person’s perspective when faced with a challenging situation.
This form of counseling is beneficial when ADHD has comorbidities of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. It can promote well-being by targeting thought and behavior patterns.
● Support And Group Counseling
Child-rearing alone is hard, and most parents will find it extra challenging to raise a child with ADHD. Connecting with others going through the same ordeal, while facilitated by a counselor, can ease the burden of any caregiver.
Besides emotional support, group counseling creates a safe space for sharing experiences, concerns, and ideas. Parents do not only support but also learn from each other.
● Mindfulness-Based Therapy
At the heart of meditation is mindfulness, such as yoga, tai chi, and other mindfulness-based strategies. With training and practice, people with ADHD can apply this technique, especially during stressful situations.
It allows anyone to be more aware of their inner self and regulate their emotions. At first, a counselor may guide you until you learn to practice mindfulness on your own.
The good thing about counseling and meditation is their flexibility to be used in various situations. It helps parents and children prepare for the future, no matter what awaits them.
Because they have gained the ability to cope, people with ADHD can adapt better as they grow. Though results are not instant, dependence on drugs is minimized together with its side effects.
Which Is Better For ADHD: Medications Or Meditations?
There is no one size fits all intervention for ADHD. We must remember, each child is different. Our bodies respond differently to every stimulus, so what works for one may not be effective for another. The key is to be open to new knowledge and to keep on trying.
We cannot expect a perfect solution right away. A child grows, and we must always flow with change. The path to healing is a continuous process, especially for a lifelong condition like ADHD.
Upon trying these different techniques, you may also realize there is no one “best” treatment for ADHD. It would be up to the parents to find out what is best for their child. It can be a combination of different strategies.
These treatments are to complement and not compete with each other. Counselors can work together on different strategies to help your child.