Officially, research shows that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the best type of treatment for the diagnosis of ADHD. However, in my work with people diagnosed with ADHD, most have been given the impression that the only treatment is medication. Both the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that a multi-modal (many methods – medication, individual or family therapy, educational guidance) approach be used in the treatment of ADHD.
When treating ADHD, a family therapist will help the person diagnosed with ADHD and their family members better understand the disorder, what it means for the person diagnosed, what it means to their family, and what is likely in store for both the individual and the family. Throughout the course of treatment, many things are likely to be discussed, such as being more direct in addressing the person diagnosed, extending greater patience to both the person diagnosed and everyone else in the family, how to maintain family expectations without being unrealistic.
The treatment of ADHD, often includes other combined issues that also need to be addressed. Many children diagnosed with ADHD suffer from social awkwardness, bullying, lack of effective time management and/or organization, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, defiance. Many of these symptoms or side effects of ADHD can be effectively treated in family therapy. Occasionally individual therapy is needed to help children diagnosed with ADHD deal with the bullying, anxiety, or depression that often follows the diagnosis.
While ADHD is a chronic disorder, it is not a life sentence of bad behavior and/or poor academic achievement. With proper treatment and management on the part of both the parents and the children, those diagnosed with ADHD will be able to function and succeed as much and sometimes even more than their peers. A balanced perspective and an aggressive early treatment intervention are best when faced with the diagnosis of ADHD.