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Most ADHD Patients Are Not in Treatment of Any Kind

Posted Dec 12 2012 3:16pm


.Most ADHD Patients Are Not in Any Treatment

Commanding Attention is not a book that promotes or prefers “natural” treatments for ADHD. It does not propose that the pharmaceutical companies are greedily conspiring to poison our children. It is not a book that is against drug therapy, yet I am bracing myself for the onslaught of criticism that I will receive from the established ADHD support community about my proposing that something other than drug therapy might also help the symptoms of ADHD.

The debate in the ADHD community for and against drug treatment is amazingly heated. At its best, these debates are informative and helpful but at their worst they are mean spirited and ugly. Flexible thinking is an executive function skill and it does not come easily to people with ADHD. Some believe that you either believe in treating ADHD with drugs or you don’t and there is no room for shades of gray in this debate.

I once challenged someone in a ADD forum to consider thinking of ADHD treatment is a more nuanced way the response that I got was this. “Shades of gray advice is irresponsible because it confuses parents of kids with ADHD into thinking that they can treat their kids with homeopathy and Health Food Store remedies and other treatments that don’t work.” I believe this attitude to be amazingly patronizing. It assumes that parents of kids with ADHD cannot understand a message that is not black and white.

I am a health care worker. I know for a fact that patients and parents can understand “shades of gray” health care advice. The advice must be clearly explained, the results of the advice must be monitored, you must be available to answer questions regarding the advice but you do not need to patronize the people that you are advising.

It is my belief that many patients benefit from ADHD drug therapy and that the majority of patients will get the most ADHD symptom relief from a combination of treatments. Drug therapy is not right, non-drug treatment is not wrong. They are both right and wrong depending on every individual’s symptoms and circumstances.

The saddest ADHD statistic is this. The majority of patients with a diagnosis of ADHD are not on any treatment. Of the patients prescribed medication, two thirds of them, despite debilitating ADHD symptoms, will no longer be taking their prescription medication a year after it is prescribed. Some will stop because of side effects, for some, the medicine will not help their symptoms, and others will stop for other reasons. For patients who cannot or will not take prescription medication, other treatments must be tried, and Commanding Attention contains valuable information for these patients.
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