Editorial: A non-drug treatment for ADHD

Spoiler alert: this is not another negative article about ADHD medication.

It’s easy to find negative articles about ADHD medication. Take the recent John Hopkins study that revealed ADHD symptoms continue to persist over time for children who take medication.

Several articles reporting on the study results pounced on the opportunity to skew the interpretation of the findings for their agenda concluding ADHD is either overdiagnosed or untreatable. In fact, the researchers concluded something quite different:

ADHD in preschoolers is a relatively stable diagnosis over a 6-year period. The course is generally chronic, with high symptom severity and impairment, in very young children with moderate-to-severe ADHD, despite treatment with medication.

In other words, ADHD symptoms persist in children over time in spite of if they take medication or not.  This isn’t a surprise, is it? Imagine if researchers reported that the symptoms of diabetes in children persisted over time, in spite of regular use of insulin.  That doesn’t mean that diabetes is over-diagnosed and insulin shouldn’t be used to treat it because symptoms continue over time in spite of medication, right? Ritalin doesn’t cure ADHD it just treats the symptoms.

Yes, we agree that other ADHD intervention strategies are needed. In fact, we have research that proves that the Edge coaching is effective at helping students learn strategies to cope with the symptoms of ADHD. Students receiving coaching showed substantial gains in their overall approach to learning.

Please note: it is not necessary for students to take medication to benefit from ADHD-specific coaching.

We believe that ADHD medication is a personal decision that must be made by parents, students and a qualified mental health practitioner. We also believe that using a number of strategies (a multi-modal approach) to treating ADHD is the best approach. And while medication, in most cases, can be effective at managing some symptoms of ADHD, it is not a cure. Even those who respond to medication will benefit from additional behavioral support, such as coaching. For those who are deciding whether or not medication is right for them, they may also wish to explore alternatives such as working with a qualified Edge coach who is trained to work with students who have ADHD.

In a recent (non-scientific) survey by Edge, 60% of our readers use ADHD medication to treat their ADHD. .. and they also use coaching, exercise and meditation as strategies, too. It’s time that the public focus its attention on supporting people with ADHD instead of tearing them down for using medication as one part of their ADHD management strategy.

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  1. Aditya

    A natural ADHD treatment will not be addictive so one does not have to worry about having to use it out of habit even after you don’t really need the treatment anymore. Secondly, there are no legal repercussions for any natural treatments.