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Medication vs. Natural Treatment for ADHD Essay

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (also known as ADHD) is an increasing struggle among children in today’s society that affects them at home, in their social lives and academically. Many people think that all-natural treatments are the only way to help children who struggle with ADHD; however, despite the controversy over using medication with possible side effects, Adderall can be a helpful tool in the battle against ADHD. ADHD is a chronic neurological condition that affects millions of children and can often carry into adulthood. Signs and symptoms of ADHD may include trouble staying focused, trouble listening, difficulty completing tasks, fidgets and squirms and tends to be forgetful. Clearly, having these symptoms can make it difficult for a child to succeed in school and in other activities as well. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2011) Many people believe that medication will affect a child negatively but medications are used every day to help with medical issues.

For instance, if your child had diabetes would you hesitate to treat the disease with medication? Obviously, parents would do what was needed to help their child overcome this disease. In the same way, we need to be open to the idea of using medication to treat ADHD. There are many treatments available to help in the battle against ADHD. Medication is a controversial subject when it comes to treating any disorder; however, when medicine is used under a doctor’s supervision and distributed correctly, it can have a positive effect on the problem. When medication is taken, it enters the bloodstream and the key ingredients begin to stimulate the brains production of norepinephrine and dopamine which improves a person’s concentration and alertness. People with ADHD also tend to suffer from high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat but when medication is taken, it can help to get these problems under control and return the person’s system back to a normal state. (Nall)

Another method of treatment that is widely used is natural treatment such as dieting and counseling. Some people may see positive results with Natural Treatments but for some children, medication is the only way to get their symptoms under control. Some experts believe that ADHD can be caused by food allergies and that by using the elimination diet, you can locate the allergy and treat the symptoms. In an elimination diet, you remove foods one at a time that your doctor believes may be causing the symptoms. Gradually, you begin re-introducing these foods back into your diet and when your symptoms return, then a diagnosis can be confirmed. (“Elimination diet and,” 2011)

There has also been much thought put into the effect that processed sugar has on ADHD and research shows that it can have an effect on children’s activity levels. Nutritionists suggest that adding high fiber foods such as berries and other fruits, whole grains and oatmeal to your child’s diet that it can help manage their glucose levels and aid in the treatment of ADHD. These diets may be useful in the battle against ADHD but you can’t guarantee that this will help with the symptoms.

There are so many processed foods available in the market today that it is very hard to keep sugar and other processed ingredients out of your diet. In order to follow through on the diet, one must make their child’s food and snacks and keep up on a very strict regime to make sure that they do not consume the “culprit” foods. Not every person can keep up on a diet to this extreme and that is when medication is available to help keep the symptoms under control. Counseling such as behavioral training can be an effective treatment for ADHD. Also available is learning behavior management that can be an essential part of any ADHD treatment. There are three levels of ADHD behavioral training that they focus on:

* Parent training
* Classroom behavior modification
* Special education placement

Although behavioral training management can be effective, according to WebMD, most experts agree that combining behavior management along with medication treatment can be the most effective treatment plan. One medication that has been used to treat ADHD is Adderall (Dextroamphetamine-amphetamine). Adderall was approved for treatment by the FDA in 1996 and has become a very popular choice in treatment. Adderall is considered a stimulant medication and according to The Mayo Clinic it appears to boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Adderall helps to improve symptoms such as attention problems, impulsivity and hyperactivity. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2011) Adderall has many possible side effects that can cause concern, but if under a doctor’s supervision it is considered a safe treatment. (Monson & Schoenstadt, 2008)

When taking treatments into consideration, one must figure out if the side effects of the medicine are a small price to pay to conquer the annoying and life interrupting symptoms of ADHD. There are many benefits to both methods of treatment. When using the natural methods such as diet and counseling, you do not have the possibility of side effects like you do with the medication but for more severe forms of ADHD, you do not see as high of an improvement rate. Although there are the chances of side effects when taking Adderall, it does have more of a calming effect on the patient. The benefits of using Adderall include being able to focus, sit still, complete schoolwork and help in many other areas that ADHD affects.

I know that with my own personal experience as we have walked through the battle of ADHD with my son, it is difficult to find the correct treatment plan that needs to be followed. We tried diets and counseling but could not seem to get a grasp on his symptoms. After being against medication for such a long time, we finally sat down with our pediatrician and explored all options available to us.

Our pediatrician explained to us that when people have cancer, they need treatments of chemotherapy and or radiation to kill the disease. In my opinion, Adderall is the “chemotherapy and radiation” for ADHD. We tried for many years to help our son succeed in school and it wasn’t until we started his treatment of Adderall twice a day that we started to see improvement. Adderall is not an “instant” fix but given time, it is effective. Our son is now going into high school and not only does he have passing grades, but we no longer get calls from the teachers because he is unable to sit still and pay attention.

Anytime medications are used in treatment plans, there is always a possibility of side effects. By going about treatment with medication in the proper manner and following your doctor’s advice, Adderall and other medications can be a very useful tool in gaining control of your child’s ADHD. I do believe that natural treatments are always the best option and should be considered first, but when these treatments do not help solve the issue then you need to consider other options. When your child suffers from ADHD and it affects all areas of their lives, you need to be open to whatever options are available to help you get the situation under control. By using Adderall and natural treatments such as diet and counseling together, you can get control back of your child’s behavior and see many benefits in the home, social setting and school settings.

References
(2011). amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, adderall. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/amphetamine_and_dextroamphetamine/article.htm Elimination diet and food challenge test for diagnosing allergies. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergies-elimination-diet Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, Feburary 10). Mayo clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adhd/DS00275 Monson, K., & Schoenstadt, A. (2008, July 10). emedtv.com. Retrieved from http://adhd.emedtv.com/adderall/adderall.html Nall, R. (n.d.). ehow.com. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5406378_adderall-work-add_.html


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