Ask the Experts

First Line of Treatment?

“My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and his doctor wants to prescribe a stimulant. Shouldn’t the first step be to change our routines and discipline strategies to see if that helps?”

If your physician established a diagnosis of ADHD for your son, the treatment should be medication. (Editor’s Note: The new AAP Diagnosis Guidelines recommend behavior therapy as the first line of treatment for children ages 4 and 5.)

If you are not convinced of the diagnosis, you might get a second opinion.

If you accept the diagnosis, it is important to understand that ADHD is a biological disorder caused by a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter in the brain. ADHD medications stimulate specific areas of the brain to produce more of this deficient neurotransmitter. Once the level is normal, ADHD behaviors decrease or stop.