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Therapy as First-line Treatment for ADHD

kid therapyUnfortunately, when parents learn that their child is diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a pharmaceutical intervention is often called upon.

New findings from the largest-ever study on the best treatments for ADHD suggests the initial preference for stimulant-based drugs is misguided, say researchers at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention.

Research by William Pelham, PhD, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and others shows that when children are treated with behavioral interventions — and their parents are trained to better manage their children’s behavior — medication is used less often.

And, when it is used, it’s administered in much smaller doses, Pelham said.

“Medication should not play nearly as large a role as it does now in treatment of ADHD,” Pelham said.

That’s because while medications address ADHD symptoms such as restlessness and fidgeting in a classroom, they don’t address the impairments caused by ADHD. Those include a lack of successful interactions with peers, deficits in reading and math skills, and difficult relations with parents and family members.

Pelham also pointed out that researchers still don’t know what long-term effects these medications may have. So far, research indicates that ingesting a large amount of drugs, particularly in higher doses over years of treatment in childhood, may reduce a child’s adult height by two inches, Pelham said.

Source: American Psychological Association

Therapy as First-line Treatment for ADHD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Therapy as First-line Treatment for ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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