Blog Post Series 4: Drug Treatments Vs. Non-drug Treatments

Posted on December 7, 2010


Hopefully by now, from reading my last three series of blog posts, you have a better understanding of ADHD and their different types of treatments. The idea was for you to grasp the adverse effects of the two and to be able to decipher on which treatment you think would be better for you or your child personally. If you are still not quite sure which route you want to take, here is some further help and information gathered from academic research, comparing the two treatments side by side. Also I will give some real life anecdotal experiences to show how others are affected by these treatments, in which you may find that you actually relate to.

First let’s recap. Starting off with drug treatments for ADHD. From the help of a Pros and Con article of ADHD medication by Mackenzie Quinn, we can see the the  general pros and cons without going into too much detail. The Pros: 1. It reduces behavioral symptoms faster than non-pharmacological treatments, in which takes a lot more time for development and results. 2. It decreases day-to-day life struggles such as concentration in school, and social ability with others. 3. People are than able to focus better in things such as school and work. The Cons: 1. The worry of future reliance and addiction of medication for people who take medications. 2. The adverse side effects from taking medication. 3. The reduction of symptoms from medication are only temporary and NOT a cure; furthermore few studies have been made on the long term-effects of medication. In the article, “Parents of Children with ADHD,” by ALLAN SCHWARTZ, PH.D., it discusses the frustration of a mother with a 32 year-old son who suffers from Adult ADHD. She writes a cautionary comment to other parents in which she states,

“Any parent with a child with adhd please be careful while they are young. My son was dx at the age of 6 and was placed on ritlan in high doses, he was kicked out of school in kindergarden and they refused to allow him in school unless he was on medication.

He is now 32, his adhd never improved, the experts now say its because of the medication. As they get older some go to street drugs because they are looking for that normal feeling again they had with the medication when they were younger. Some become worse, develop drug induced bipolar disorder which causes them a life time of hell and hard to get good help for because they can not keep a job or insurance.

Fight for your kids while they  are young, and make sure they followed up into their adulthood for their sake and yours.”

Here we can see how medication has effected her life and especially her son’s life.

Next let’s quickly discuss the pros and cons of non-drug treatments.The Pros: 1. Not having to take medication after medication. 2. No side effects. 3. No dependency on drugs. The Cons: 1. The process of getting results is longer 2. More research is needed to be done on these kinds of treatments. 3. Some of the treatments are extremely expensive. Because of the stronger cons of this type of treatment, that is why the mother with the 3 kids with ADHD that I had mentioned earlier chose this route for her children. Although it is more expensive to do such treatments as behavioral therapy and training exercises, she believes that this is the better and healthier route for HER kids.

Hopefully this has helped you in establishing which selection of ADHD treatment is best for you and/or your child. In conclusion, there is no right and wrong answer of which treatment is best really. The ultimate determining  factor is based off personal factors of the individual, and what makes you comfortable. Remember that every single person is different and react to things differently. As you can see there are pros and cons to every situation, in which you must consider into every aspect of your life: school, work, family, etc. Most importantly you must know that what is right for one child and family will not necessarily be right for another. Therefore, your decision must be based off of sufficient knowledge and research.

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