When To See a Psychiatrist About an ADHD Child 224 Aug

Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.

One objection that many parents have is that they don’t want to see their kids taking medication. Some don’t believe ADHD is even a real condition, and that it’s something that you can just will yourself not to have. Ask yourself if you can will yourself not to have bad eyesight, or to will yourself out of having cancer. ADHD is a neurological condition, so even though it could seem like something that a child is faking, if the child genuinely has ADHD, it’s not fair to assume that he or she can fix it through willpower. If your child has ADHD, you can’t outsmart it or will it away. You can’t just try really hard to make it a non-issue.

This isn’t to say that you can’t make the condition easier to live with by adopting certain strategies. But, to say that an individual with ADHD should be able to focus and concentrate just as well as someone without ADHD is to be insensitive and ignorant about the condition. The next step for many people who have been diagnosed with ADHD is to get started with some kind of treatment. Often, this treatment takes the form of a stimulant medication like Adderall or Ritalin.

This is a common and reasonable solution, but even when your child is on meds, it doesn’t magically fix everything. Like nicotine patches in smoking that help you wean off cigarettes, meds for ADHD can provide a solid foundation for shedding bad habits and forming more healthy, productive ones. But, this doesn’t mean that there’s no effort involved. There are some problems that the child must address whether taking medications or not, and the medications should serve the role of a helper, not a panacea.

Really, though, you won’t know what the solutions should be until you first know what problems the child is really trying to deal with. Instead of trying to treat the condition as a contest of willpower, seek the advice of professionals with expertise in ADHD treatment. Get their take on it, see what they think is going on, and find out what solutions they recommend. If you take the approach that says the child is just being lazy, irresponsible, or hyper, without realizing that there is a neurological basis for that behavior, you probably won’t be able to properly address their behavioral problems.

There is no denying that it can be scary to find out what problems the child has. Perhaps you might feel guilt, or shame, or sadness. These are valid emotions, but just don’t let them prevent you from taking the necessary action to help your child. A child who truly has ADHD can’t outlive or cure it; they can only take reasonable steps to manage it and live the best possible life.

In the end, it truly is the parents’ responsibility to take care of their children the best they can. If you’re not sure whether your child has ADHD, then you can’t provide them with the best possible care. Go to a professional, determine the right method of treatment, and proceed with knowledge. Ultimately, your child will be better off — and so will you.

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Most medical doctors who treat ADD/ADHD do so as part of a larger practice. ADHD Specialists focuses primarily on only treating ADD and related conditions. This intense focus allows us to continually sharpen our clinical skills, attend specialized training, utilize the latest therapies, and build our process to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Often medical, testing and counseling services are all separately owned and located practices. It just does not make sense to have to travel from one location to another to treat the same condition. Besides the issue of time and travel, how cohesive and effective is care being delivered in multiple locations by multiple, unrelated providers who don’t have time to talk to each other?

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