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Medication & psychosocial treatment help children with ADHD

IANS Mar 26, 2024

Medication and psychosocial treatment together can help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) -- a neurodevelopmental disorder -- to get better, according to a review of studies, published on March 25.

Researchers led by those from the University of Southern California (USC) reviewed more than 23,000 publications on ADHD. The results, published in two companion papers in the journal Pediatrics, reveal the best-suited method to effectively diagnose and treat ADHD.

The review also pointed out gaps in the research, including how best to monitor the condition’s progression over time.

“Parents, teachers and providers need evidence-based information about ADHD. We included only the most robust studies in our review, which enables us to make strong evidence statements,” said Susanne Hempel, Professor of clinical population and public health sciences at the USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

Currently, ADHD is diagnosed using many tools, “including parent and teacher rating scales, patient self-reports, neuropsychological tests, EEG approaches, imaging, biomarkers, activity monitoring and observation.”

The team also rigorously tested many medications for ADHD, which include stimulants and non-stimulants, as well as psychosocial approaches, such as behaviour modification.

Cognitive training, neurofeedback, physical exercise, nutrition and supplements, parent support, and school interventions were the other non-drug treatments that the researchers analysed for the study.

“Medications have the strongest evidence for improving not only ADHD symptoms but also other problems that often accompany ADHD, such as oppositional and disruptive behaviours,” said Bradley Peterson, Director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the lead author of the review.

“The overarching takeaway: ADHD is treatable. There are lots of studies that can show us that children absolutely can get better,” Hempel said.

The team said that the findings will help update the American Academy of Pediatrics’s (AAP) clinical practice guidelines for ADHD, the team said.

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