ADHD Behavior Therapy verses Medication

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that providers prescribe behavior therapy and counseling before medication. Parenting and individual child and teen counseling can create desired changes in ADHD behaviors. Behavior therapy gives children choices to manage their own behavior and to make healthy choices and decisions. A behavioral approach will work for a majority of children and teenagers in counseling therapy. Data shows the long term trajectory of ADHD symptoms does not change with medicatio . Behavior therapy looks at the root of the behaviors and helps create change.

Medication does not look at a child’s thoughts or problem solving or behavior management it simply may numb your child out. However when your child or teen refuses to take the medication he or she will not have the skill set to manage his or her moods and emotions and it will be harder to learn the longer he or she has been relying on medication and not dealing with the underlying problems. Behavioral counseling and therapy is not done overnight however results can be seen in weeks depending on the child and family. Parents are involved at a high level to help implement behavior therapy and being consistent is very important.

Research shows using ADHD behavior therapy early on helps prevent other negative behaviors like oppositional defiance, anxiety, depression, conduct disorders , a low sense of self , self esteem and more.

It is important that children with ADHD receive positive praise and rewards after engaging in appropriate behavior. Improvement in parent child relationship was vital to a reduction in ADHD child behavior according to a large study done in Japan. Japan does not typically use Pharmaceuticals to treat ADHD .

ADHD effects children and adolescents worldwide at the rate of 3.5 percent of the worlds children according to researchers. ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the USA and worldwide. The main symptoms of ADHD are : hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention deficits.

Over sixty five percent of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD in a large study showed the symptoms into their mid twenties.

Healthy diets have a huge impact on ADHD according to research in Spain. Mediterranean diets filled with lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats provide the best nutrients for ADHD according to a recent study.

Over one million children are mis diagnosed with ADHD each year. This is concerning since many are put on stimulant medications and long term impacts of stimulants is not known for youth.

Many children are diagnoses with ADHD because they are young and immature and they do not have ADHD. Many children are simply emotionally immature and or intellectually immature. Many ADHD diagnosis are driven by behaviors at school. Teachers are overwhelmed and they do not have the resources to take time to manage a child’s behaviors with many classrooms having a 30:1 ratio . Teachers really need many more assistants and if they did the suggestion of an ADHD diagnosis would disappear most likely.

Children and adolescent teenagers that experience stress and trauma are more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis. Psychosocial issues are rarely looked at by pediatricians according to recent ADHD studies. Children with ADHD may display: disruptive behaviors, impulsivity, issues with organization, issues with memory, challenges with problem solving and more.

ADHD like symptoms are often found in children and teens that have family stressors and or environmental stressors. Family discord and divorce are some examples where ADHD like behaviors are likely to be seen. Research shows that environmental stressors may increase levels of stress to a high toxic level. This level of stress may impair a child or teens brain development, behaviors, and overall it may impact their physical health as well as their mental health.

When environmental stressors like divorce or family stress is not looked at many practitioners may diagnose a child or teen with ADHD and are at risk of overlooking a child’s past trauma or current trauma as well as environmental factors that are the triggers for the behaviors like Impulsivity, disruptive behaviors, challenges with focus or problem solving etc.

Financial hardships, domestic violence, divorce, mental illness in families, incarceration of parents, discrimination death, grief and loss must be looked at in depth before one gives a child or teenager a diagnosis of ADHD.

Children and teens can learn ways to mange behaviors and moods via therapy and counseling. Parents can learn tips to assist in healthy behaviors at home and at school through child therapy and family counseling from a professional who specializes in these areas. provides child, teen, adolescent, and family therapy in Phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona. David Abrams MAPC, LPC has expertise working with ADHD children and teens for over fifteen years as well as parenting techniques for ADHD

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.