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Is medication alone sufficient in treating ADHD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.5 million U.S. children have been formally diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention, sitting still and focusing. A child with the disorder may also talk a lot and out of turn. Because of the symptoms associated with ADHD, children with the disorder are often labeled as being disruptive or problem students. These symptoms can also greatly impede a child's ability to learn and do well in school.

Scientists have not been able to pinpoint exactly what causes some children to develop ADHD, but both genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role. There is no cure for ADHD, but symptoms often improve or dissipate with age. Additionally prescription medications and behavioral therapy can be effective in helping manage symptoms and with the development of important coping skills.

Despite scientific evidence proving the benefits of behavioral therapy for children with ADHD, a recent study by the Rand Corporation reveals that the vast majority of these children never receive therapy. For the study researchers examined more than 300,000 children age 17 and younger from some 1,500 counties throughout the U.S. When reviewing the number of privately insured ADHD adolescent patients who received behavioral therapy, researchers found a wide variance between states and even counties.

With approximately 11 percent of U.S. children being diagnosed with ADHD, there's wide concern about how the disorder is being treated. In recent years, the potential for drug abuse and misuse among both adolescents and adults diagnosed with ADHD has been widely reported. There's also concern among those who contend that prescription drugs alone are not effective in helping children with ADHD learn to effectively cope with their disorder.

Source: The Inquirer, "Kids Taking ADHD Drugs Get Little Psychotherapy: Study," Sept. 23, 2014

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