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Is Medication Necessary? How Much?
"My 12-year-old son still has symptoms of ADD, even though we put him in military school, thinking it would help him focus. Now we're considering meds. Is there such a thing as being medicated just enough to get through school and homework?
ADHD (ADD) is a neurologically based disorder caused by a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter in the brain. The only treatment that works to correct this deficiency is the use of medications that increase the level of this neurotransmitter to normal.
You are concerned about using medication, yet you describe that your son's ADHD so interferes with his success in life that he has to go to military school and he continues to fall behind academically. I ask you to give serious consideration to the stress and pain he experiences because his ADHD is not being treated. I urge you and your husband to read material on ADHD and to become educated.
This disorder is treatable and treatment is safe. Not treating the disorder leads to academic struggles, behavioral difficulties in school (being told you are not paying attention) and significant harm to self esteem. Don't be confused if a child can "hyperfocus" on activities that are visually stimulating and fun, such as video games. It's not the same thing as having to concentrate on non-stimulating material for long periods of time.
Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.