Through its Vital Signs report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) argued that although most kids that are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are treated with drugs, behavioral therapy is just as effective and it doesn’t divert into long-term side effects.
Prescription ADHD drugs often cause stomach aches, sleep problems, tics, irritability, headaches and decreased appetite; although most side effects are caused by not taking the right dosage.
CDC officials have stated that behavior modification therapy is a much less invasive and harmful method of treatment for children diagnosed with the disorder.
“Research has shown that the benefits of behavior therapy can last for years,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC stated.
Although children can continue to take the ADHD prescription drugs, behavioral therapy incurs in a much lesser intrusion in the organism, as there are no chemicals being deposited into the child’s brain and bloodstream. Dr. Schuchat also said that there has not been enough research as to which are the long-term side effects of ADHD drugs on children.
“When parents can not only learn to deal with their children’s behavior but also be a conduit to improving behavior… that’s the best way to go,” stated Dr. Brandon Korman, chief of neuropsychology at Miami’s Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
He also commented that behavior therapy is of great benefit as it improves performance in school, work and at home, since the children are actually learning to behave rather than being suppressed by prescription medication. The lasting benefits of behavior therapy make this type of treatment a viable investment for any parent that cares for the future behavior of their children.
ADHD behavior therapy comprises exercises on positive reinforcement, communication and discipline. Parents are to undergo courses and talks where they will receive the tools and methods that will deliver the best and most beneficial results on their children, without having to resort to prescription medicine.
ADHD in American children
It is estimated that one out of every three kids is diagnosed with ADHD, and four out of five diagnosed get prescribed ADHD drugs to treat the disorder; on top of this, only half of these kids receive any psychological treatment alongside their medication.
The CDC Vital Signs report included recommendations to encourage parents to be referred to behavior therapy before choosing prescription medicine; it was also stated that younger children from the age of 2 to 5 tend to show the best benefits in behavioral therapy.