Friday, January 17, 2014

ADHD Experts Re-Evaluate Study’s Zeal for Drugs

Twenty years ago, more than a dozen leaders in child psychiatry received $11 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to study an important question facing families with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Is the best long-term treatment medication, behavioral therapy or both? The widely publicized result was not only that medication like Ritalin or Adderall trounced behavioral therapy, but also that combining the two did little beyond what medication could do alone..But in retrospect, even some authors of the study — widely considered the most influential study ever on ADHD — worry that the results oversold the benefits of drugs, discouraging important home- and school-focused therapy and ultimately distorting the debate over the most effective (and cost-effective) treatments.Comprehensive behavioral (also called psychosocial) therapy is used far less often to treat children with the disorder largely because it is more time-consuming and expensive...“Medication helps a person be receptive to learning new skills and behaviors,” said Ruth Hughes, a psychologist and the chief executive of the advocacy group Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. “But those skills and behaviors don’t magically appear. They have to be taught.” more

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