Do Young Kids Need Meds?


“My five-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD, and takes a stimulant. The results were immediate, but it’s become such a battle to have him take a pill that we stopped treatment. Is it crucial for a young child with ADHD to take meds?”

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

One should not force a young child to take medication. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of changing the medication. For example, both Ritalin and Adderall come in capsules with little beads inside. The capsules can be opened and the beads sprinkled over food (yogurt, ice cream, anything).

As to your other concern, does he need to be on medication? The answer is that, if the behaviors of his ADHD (hyperactivity, distractibility, impulsivity) prevent him from successfully attending school, playing with friends, or getting along with the family, he should be.

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.
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