Treatment of ADHD

This section of the site discusses the various treatment options for ADHD.

Medication is often an important component of the treatment plan. For most children, medication is very effective for treating inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity and for improving behaviour. In turn, medication often improves children's relationships with their peers and parents. However, medication alone is not the whole answer. Children usually need extra help with academic and social skills from teachers and parents, even if they are taking medication. The best treatment for ADHD is usually a combination of behavioural treatment and medication.

Medication vs. behaviour therapy: what the research shows

Early research had shown a benefit of stimulant use over behaviour therapy in the treatment of ADHD symptoms over the short-term and that stimulant use alone was equally effective as a combination of stimulants and behaviour therapy. However, longer term results have shown that stimulant use, behaviour therapy, and their combination, all improve ADHD symptoms and no one therapy is more beneficial than the other. In other words, there is no benefit of stimulant use over behavioural therapy. Both are equally effective. This has been further demonstrated in follow-up studies. Behavioural therapy and medication are considered to be important features of an effective ADHD treatment plan.

For ADHD treatment to work, consistency and communication between home and school are very important.

Tara McAuley, PhD, CPsych

Peter Chaban, MA, MEd

Rosemary Tannock, PhD