How to Treat Diabetic ADDers


"My 11-year-old son, who has type-I diabetes, was just diagnosed with ADHD. Is it safe for him to take ADHD medication as well as insulin?"

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

Yes. If the ADHD medication will be prescribed by a doctor other than the one who manages your son’s diabetes, be sure to put the doctors in touch so that they can coordinate dosing and schedules.

Before you start your son on stimulant medication, make sure that the ADHD diagnosis is correct. Low blood glucose can cause inattention and impulsivity, and high blood glucose can cause restlessness and irritability. If your son’s symptoms occur intermittently, the doctor should consider the possibility that his glucose levels are off. Symptoms caused by ADHD are generally evident at all times and in all settings.

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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