“I’m fearful that my child will need to be on ADHD medication forever.”
Parents are often concerned that once we start ADHD medication that it’s a lifelong commitment. They often want to know, will they be on ADHD medicine forever? And the answer is, we don’t know. ADHD was previously diagnosed between ages 6 and 16, as though it magically appeared in first grade and went away the day the child got a driver’s license. We now know that it’s not true. The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement says that ADHD can be diagnosed as young as age 4 and we know that the largest increase in diagnosis are coming in the adult population, folks that have had ADHD forever, and are tired of the frustration that it has brought to their lives.
So we know that ADHD is a lifespan disorder. You’re born with it and you die with it. But like any other chronic disease, it affects you differently at different stages of life, and whether or not to use medication at any point along the way, should be a very thoughtfully considered decision between you and your medical provider.
We reassess patients every three months, and one of the things we’re looking for is an opportunity for a trial off of medication. It’s suggested by the guidelines and it just makes sense. So don’t worry that medication is for forever, but ADHD is, and that’s okay, it can be dealt with like any other chronic disease in childhood.
This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.
James Wiley is the founder of Focus-MD. Focus-MD is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and related problem patients. They provide objective testing, medical treatment as well as behavior modification strategies to help or patients transform from frustration to focus. To find a Focus-MD clinic, click here.
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