Your Questions About Adhd Medications For Children

William asks…

ADHD Medications for a 4 year old?

I am hoping to specific information from parents that have experience with ADHD in younger children. What did medications were perscribed, what effects did you see, both pros and cons.

barry jennings answers:

To the best of my knowledge, there are no medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat ADHD in children under the age of 6. In extreme cases, a child might be so severely ADHD that his behavior results in multiple serious injuries (broken bones, etc.), and the risks of medication outweigh the risks of not medicating him. However, this is very rare. My mom said that in her 25+ years as a child psychologist (specializing in diagnosing and treating learning disabilities) she’s seen two pre-school age kids she thought were severely enough ADHD to justify medication.

If your child really is that ADHD that he needs to be on medication at such a young age, he’d likely be put on a form of stimulant (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.). There’s very little diffence between the different stimulants. The only non-stimulant medication approved to treat ADHD is Strattera. Because it’s relatively new, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe it to older children and adults, and would amost certainly not prescribe it to anyone under 6 years old as it is not approved for children under 6 years. Antidepressants are sometimes used to treat ADHD when traditional stimulant treatments prove ineffective, but they’re generally considered a back up treatment, and in most cases are less effective than stimulants.

Once the dose is properly adjusted, you’ll see significant improvement in behavior with minimal side effects. However, the long-term effects of stimulants on pre-school age kids are not well documented. Early childhood is a time of rapid neurological development, and the medications may cause damage in a 4-year-old that they do not cause in a 6-year-old.

The use of stimulant medications in pre-school age children is significantly safer than running in front of a bus or hanging off ceiling fans, but it’s definitely much more of a danger than getting a D in preschool story time. You shouldn’t even think about medicating your child at that age unless his behavior is resulting in repeated serious injuries, and all other options have been fully exhausted.

Robert asks…

Do you agree on medication treatment for add or adhd children? And if so how long should they continue on it?

I have 3 little boys out of them 2 I have decided to treat for adhd after all other alternatives have failed my 9 year old has been on the medication for 5 years-although my pediatrician claims the medication is beneficial as a mother I can’t help but to feel sometimes what if he (the pedi) is wrong.

barry jennings answers:

I have two boys and both of them are on medicine as well. It has made a tremendous impact on their behaviors. I know what you are feeling though. I hate the fact that they are on this medication. But….I don’t want my children to think that they are bad kids….If they are not on the medication…they are constantly in trouble at school. I have a psychologist talking with both of them. She told me that inside of their head there is so much stimulation that concentration is very hard. She said to turn on a TV very loud…on top of that turn on the radio very loud, then open your front door to hear dogs barking and children laughing and screaming all at the same time. I too have tried all the other alternatives as a mother. My children at some time just had a bed and a dresser in their rooms..that still did not work. I understand what you are going through. My youngest along with ADHD has oppositional defiant disorder. The psychologist also said that there are some things that ADHD children can control but just have to guided. I’d rather not have the medication…but if it’s helping my children…I will go with that until I find an alternative that actually works. They say that children can grow out of it or they grow with it into their adult lives. I understand the frustration and the contemplation of medication…You have do the best for your child.

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