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What Are the Different Types of ADHD Treatment Options?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder diagnosed in children and adults. Symptoms of the disorder range from mild to severe, and include difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, difficulty sitting still, impulsiveness, and disorganization. There are many ADHD treatment options available for sufferers of the disorder, including medications, behavioral treatment, therapy, self-help techniques, and lifestyle changes. Many people diagnosed with the disorder find they benefit greatly from utilizing several different ADHD treatment options at once, while others find relief in a single medication or method. ADHD treatment is an ongoing and often changing process, so it is important for patients to discuss their treatment options with their doctors and other health care professionals on a regular basis.

Medications for ADHD are a controversial topic, and many parents choose to refrain from using medications as ADHD treatment options for their children. They often do help many ADHD patients manage the disorder when prescribed by a doctor familiar with the patient's condition and medical history. Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications, though some are only approved for use in adults. Doctors may prescribe anti-depressants to ADHD patients who do not respond well to stimulants.

Therapy is one of the most commonly used ADHD treatment options. It is often tried before starting medication, though many patients find the greatest relief from symptoms with a combination of medication and therapy. There are many types of therapy for ADHD sufferers, and several types may be tried before finding a style that suits the individual. Some forms of therapy focus on encouraging the patient to identify negative patterns and thoughts so that healthy mental and behavioral approaches to combat these issues can be taught. Other forms, particularly therapy sessions for children with ADHD, focus on behavioral coaching to teach patients to consciously control their symptoms as much as possible.

Some self-help tactics and lifestyle changes help many ADHD sufferers gain control over their symptoms and manage the disorder. Eating a nutritious diet can help relieve some symptoms by providing the body with the nutrients it needs for brain function, energy, and mood stabilization. Taking omega-3 supplements or eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and fortified dairy products, can help increase mental focus and clarity in some individuals.

Regular exercise helps the brain focus and remain attentive by increasing the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. These are the same chemicals influenced by many ADHD medications. Physical activity is also a good way for ADHD patients to reduce stress, and it provides a healthy outlet for symptoms related to hyperactivity.

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