Guidelines for ADHD and behavior disorders

Guidelines for ADHD and behavior disorders: Experts from six countries met to share concerns that many children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and/or disruptive behavior disorders do not receive appropriate treatment even though effective therapies are available.

These researchers concluded that ADHD and behavior disorders are not only prevalent and chronic, but they are associated with poor outcomes throughout childhood and adulthood if they go untreated. They call for earlier identification and treatment to avoid years of negative experiences. Research shows that up to 50 percent of all children with ADHD also exhibit symptoms of another behavior disorder. Therefore, assessment should include screening for other behavioral disorders and should be carried out in several settings with input from all adults involved with the child.

Medication is effective in alleviating biological symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and aggression; psychosocial treatment is needed to promote prosocial behavior. These specialists report that children should be treated with long-acting drugs and that dosage needs to be carefully monitored. Compliance and long-term efficacy of the drug and psychosocial therapies are more likely when the child, parents and teachers all appreciate the benefits of treatment.

These experts caution that it is difficult to motivate children and their families to continue treatment throughout adolescence. They stress that long-term follow-up is necessary to maintain motivation and to monitor treatment efficacy, side effects and changes in diagnostic status.

“International Consensus Statement: Experts Clarify Guidelines for ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders,” The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, Volume 20, Number 2, February 2004, pp. 1, 6-7.

Published in ERN April 2004 Volume 17 Number 4

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