What You Should Know Before Medicating Your Child

To medicate or not to medicate. That problem feels like the biggest looming question if you have a child with ADHD. It’s even more complicated if your child has multiple diagnoses or came to you through adoption.

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In full disclaimer, I am not a medical professional and cannot diagnose or prescribe. I am not taking a position for or against medication today, but want to give you some things to consider.

1. This is a personal decision between you and your medical provider. Put horse blinders on to the unsolicited opinions of extended family and friends. Having a mental boundary to those things upfront will make them easier to handle.

2. Understand what medication can and can’t do. It alters brain chemistry which can improve focus or stabilize mood. It cannot magically instill lagging skills of executive function and organization. This is also true of natural treatment such as supplements and essential oils. This is why having parenting tools that work for kids with ADHD is so important.

3. Understand the brain science. Remember that ADHD is a physical brain disability with behavioral symptoms. The brain can have trouble focusing for one of two reasons. Too much brain activity or too little. The behavior symptoms look the same. A stimulant medication for a brain that is overactive will backfire. Ask your medical professional about a QEEG brain scan that can help you know the root of the problem so you can better address it.

4. Educate yourself. Before starting your child on a medication, understand how it works in the brain, the side effects, how long it takes to see a difference, how long it takes to get to a therapeutic dose, how long it takes to wean off if necessary. What happens if your child refuses? Is that a safety concern?

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