“Why should I decide to use medication for my child’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? (ADHD) symptoms?”
Let’s begin by understanding ADHD is a condition where many symptoms can be present, in different intensities. Every patient with ADHD may have different presentations of symptoms such as a child spending the day daydreaming and falling behind in their reading and homework but is not hyperactive, does not mean they do not have ADHD. There are patients that have different levels of symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and distractibility
Teachers are recommending an evaluation; the pediatrician has offered treatment because school is reporting your child’s performance is declining or behavior is deteriorating. As any parent your first thought is “I can talk to them and set some behavioral approaches to help them, and provide them with more time for homework and it will go away”. You do this for a few months with little or no improvement and now they are at risk of failing the grade.
As a parent you may not want to medicate your child for “behavior”, you want to educate them and discipline them because that is how you yourself may have learned. ADHD is a condition that mainly affects an individual’s daily lives during childhood and medication may assist in controlling the extreme symptoms.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like in the mind of an ADHD child?
You’d see things such as racing thoughts that sometimes are hard to control or slow down, difficulty holding conversations, or changes the subject constantly, outbursts of thought, they do this because they know they will forget the thought easily. You may hear them say things like “My mom calls me or gives me chores and I cannot remember them all!”, “Sometimes mom gets mad and I do not know why until she tells me she has been calling me several times and I don’t remember it.” In school settings they may say things like, “I forgot what I learned in school today so I don’t understand the homework and it makes my head hurt”. “I’m not smart like my friends because they don’t get in as much trouble as me.”
This can go on every day of your child’s life, without the proper resources. The importance of treating ADHD, earlier in childhood than later is:
1. Your child will be able to school knowing they can understand the material, follow directions, and the progress will show in their grades. Giving them feedback of: “WHEN I WORK HARD, THERE IS A REWARD.” Which is the principle for becoming a responsible and successful adult.
2. When your child looks at their performance in school, will realize that they are can do same or better than their peers, instead of trying and failing each time.
3. Self-esteem is the ONE and the MOST important benefit of treating ADHD. If left untreated, the child may feel that they perform under the rest of their peers, will accept they are “trouble” which may impact the relationship they have with their parents.
4. Other health conditions such as major depression and anxiety have a higher likelihood of occurring when ADHD is left untreated.
5. Last but not least: ADHD is not an intellectual disability, and only influences the ability to concentrate and control impulse. Once children receive the proper care they need, they are able to perform to their highest potential.
Then we can see our children succeed, be happy about who they are and want to make their dreams come true, because they know they CAN.
Treating ADHD is a matter of self-esteem and building character and discipline, it is not about obtaining all A’s in school and staying quiet in class. It is for the child to reach their fullest potential, so they can continue to grow knowing they can do anything they put their mind to.
As a parent the most important thing is to ask questions and become knowledgeable on the topic. Do not hesitate to consult with your health professionals about this condition. Although ADHD cannot be cured it can be managed in order to live more productive and happy life throughout adulthood.
About the Author: Karla Rivera,MD
I believe that children are the future and we are obligated as adults and professionals to help them soar by instilling confidence and hope in themselves. With medication management we give them a piece of the puzzle that gives them the leg up they need to keep fighting the fight growing up means.