For children with ADHD there are many child interventions to help these children and their families, the main ones being medication, behavior treatment i.e. working with the child at home and at school, parent training in groups or alone, family work or liaisons with school and treating other problems and complications.

In 1999 a large multi- centre study in the USA showed clearly that the best treatment for ADHD , especially if complicated by oppositional behavior ( a child shows severe signs of stubbornness and tantrums over a persistent amount of months where the problem escalates into aggressive and disruptive behavior like hitting , kicking, swearing , throwing things out of spite . Lying stealing, cheating or hurting others with no sign of remorse, the more serious condition of `conduct disorder ` is diagnosed, children with this problem may also behave cruelly to animals or start fires) is used of appropriate medication.

Historically in the UK we have saved medication for the last resort, partially as families are understandably not keen to medicate their children. Although studies have shown that behavioral treatments alone is likely to be relatively ineffective except in children with ADHD and anxiety symptoms who do not have oppositional behavior, where medication can be less helpful.

With medication children are much more likely to be able to respond to behavioral child interventions which can make a big difference in children with oppositional behavior, a combination of treatment is usually best in the long term.

Liaison with the school and treatment of other problems are always crucial.

Early evidence suggests that a crucial component of positive outcome is the parent’s ability to avoid blaming and criticizing the child, yet to parent consistently and firmly with the support of the child’s school.


Although medication alone may not be a solution to all the problems, stimulant medicines such as methyl- Phenidate (Ritalin) can dramatically improve the symptoms in up to 90 per cent of children, and are the most effective child interventions treatment in most cases. Ritalin works by stimulating neurotransmitters receptors in the brain such as dopamine, which directly affects attention, concentration, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, This literally allows your child to stop and think, perhaps for the first time in their life, this then enables a child to settle down and live a more normal life, build educational and social skills, boost self-esteem and restore hope.

Side effects

Over five million people over 40 years have been treated with stimulant medications, with no long- lasting adverse effects reported. Five to ten per cent of people get short-term side effects that are reversible on stopping the medication, These include slowing of growth, loss of appetite, poor weight gain, difficulty sleeping, headaches, daydreams and tics, These are usually minimal, and the medicine can always be stopped if it does not suit your child, Children must have their height and weight monitored regularly for this reason to help in this child interventions with ADHD.

Addiction and licensing

The medication is not addictive in children and works best with consistent parenting, it is not licensed for use under the age of six, it is a controlled drug (prescription only) because it can be sold illegally for its paradoxically stimulant effects in adults. Resent research has shown that treatment with Ritalin can prevent addiction to illicit drugs, which can be a common complication of untreated ADHD.

Prescribing Ritalin

Ritalin is often tested out first for a trial period of a few weeks to make sure that it works, before being prescribed on a long time basis but with regular check-ups, children tend to need medication for years sometimes into adulthood, sometimes the medicine can be used for phases to allow a child to catch up to a degree educationally and socially, with holiday periods (no medication) in between.

Newer preparations

Ritalin is now available in slow-release preparations with only once-a-day dosage, avoiding the embarrassment of taking tablets in school , The dual-release tablet Concerta XL cannot be abused because of its particular slow-release structure , A non-stimulant alternative atomoxetine ( Strattera), has also recently become available.

Parenting groups

These groups are extremely helpful for children with ADHD who develop oppositional or conduct problems because these children particularly need firm, caring and consistent parenting, without which they gravitate towards trouble.

Where can you get help?

You will need to be referred by your doctor to a specialist pediatrician or to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for diagnosis and treatment, some doctors outside mental health services sometimes have expertise in ADHD, but usually cannot offer the wider range of treatments beyond medication for more complicated situations.

Support is available through ADHD support agencies that run parent support groups in most areas, schools (educational psychologists and advice with special needs support) and possibly social services, for family support, financial advice or support, or childcare support if relevant.

There are many excellent self -help support aids on the market to help with child interventions on ADHD

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