22 Dec What to Do When ADHD Treatment Stops Working
Being a parent of a child with ADHD is not easy. Your child struggles to control his impulsive behaviors, both at home and at school. He has a hard time concentrating, listening and focusing on one task at a time; and he is often hyperactive. ADHD is not uncommon among American children, especially boys, and much research has been done to determine how best to treat it. For most, a combination of medication and behavioral therapy works best.
If you have been working with a team to control your child’s ADHD with success, but are noticing changes, your treatment plan may need revising. There are many possible reasons treatment works for a child for a year or two, only to stop working. It is frustrating to recognize the difficult symptoms reemerging, but there is hope. If you can work with your expert team to figure out what is happening and what to do next, both you and your child will find relief and get back to normal.
Reasons Treatments Stop Working
The first thing you need to do when you notice a change in your ADHD child is communicate with your professional team. This may include your pediatrician, a therapist, or workers at your child’s school. Keeping up a strong collaboration with your team will help you and your child achieve the most success. Together you can make the following considerations to figure out what is happening:
- Your child may have outgrown his medication — As your child grows, you may need to have his medication dosage reevaluated. A larger dose for a larger body may be the simple solution and is worth investigating before anything else.
- Environmental changes — It is also important to consider any changes that may have occurred recently in your child’s environment that could be affecting his behaviors. This could include a move, a new school, a divorce or more difficult classes at school that demand more focus and attention.
- A new diagnosis — It may be time to reevaluate a diagnosis of ADHD. If symptoms are worsening or changing, it is possible that the initial diagnosis was incorrect. Your doctor, who made the original diagnosis, should be willing to consider this fact. If not, look for a second opinion. Also consider having your child evaluated for other disorders. It is not impossible to have both ADHD and other mental health problems, such as depression, bipolar disorder or an anxiety disorder.
- Diligence with medications — If you are not supervising how your child takes his medication, which is likely with an older child or a teen, you need to find out if he has stopped taking it or has reduced his dosage without telling you. If he is changing his dosage, it is important to find out why. He might be experiencing side effects he doesn’t like, for instance. Discuss this matter with his prescribing doctor.
What to Do Next
Once you have reached a conclusion about what is causing your child’s treatment to begin to fail, you can work with your team to come up with a solution. Even if you don’t find a definitive answer to explain the changes, you can still make treatment changes to accommodate his return of symptoms. One consideration should be a change of medications.
There are several different drugs that can be used to treat ADHD, and it is very possible that your child’s no longer works for him. You may never know why, but speak with your doctor to decide what drug you could try next. Be sure you monitor the effects of the new medication to determine whether it is helping, making no difference, or making symptoms worse.
Another option to consider is introducing or trying new behavioral interventions. If you have a therapist or a school worker on your team, they can suggest new strategies to help your child. Even simple strategies can make a big difference. Time management practices can help him get and stay organized and get his schoolwork done on time. Relaxation techniques also help to improve focus and have the added benefit of reducing anxiety. Other behavioral therapies that teach social skills and impulse control are also helpful.
Watching your child struggle with his ADHD symptoms may make you feel helpless, but you are still in control. Investigate the situation, look for a cause, discuss with your professional team and come up with a new plan and your child should see an improvement in no time.
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