Parents: Try Therapy Before ADHD Medication

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging parents of preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to try behavior therapy first before trying drugs.The CDC also is asking insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment.Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director, says long-term effects of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin on young brains and bodies haven’t had a lot of study.“Behavior therapy has been shown to help improve symptoms in young children with ADHD and can be as effective as medicine, but without the side effects,” she points out.Those side effects include irritability and difficulty sleeping. They also can curb hunger, which can stunt growth.More than 6 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and a new report out by the CDC shows 75 percent of those children between the ages of 2 and 5 already are taking medication for it.The report has guidelines for parents and health care providers to try therapy first.Schuchat says not all private health insurance companies will cover behavioral therapy, but Medicaid typically does.“Insurers should cover this,” she stresses. “We believe that Medicaid really makes an effort to make sure that the full package of recommended behavioral services are covered, but there still may be some variations state to state.”The report found 54 percent of children on Medicaid received psychological services each year, while just 45 percent of children with private plans did.Dr. Georgina Peacock, director of CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability, says doctors need to play a role in the decision about trying therapy first.She says it could mean the child can avoid taking the medications altogether, or the age that he or she starts taking them can be postponed.“Because that really lays the foundation,” she explains. “There may be times when medicine will be added to the treatment, but having this behavioral therapy first really will make a difference for families.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *