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There are 3 types of ADHD:
- ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type (not showing significant hyperactive-impulsive behavior)
- ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
- ADHD, Combined Type.
Making a DiagnosisEffective treatment depends on appropriate diagnosis of ADD. A comprehensive medical evaluation of the child must be conducted to establish a correct diagnosis of ADD and to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms. ADD can be reliably diagnosed when appropriate guidelines are used. Ideally, a healthcare practitioner making a diagnosis should include input from both parents and teachers. However, some health practitioners choose to diagnose ADD without all this information and tend to either overdiagnose it or underdiagnose it.
ADD is usually diagnosed in childhood, although the condition can continue into the adult years.
Research has shown that certain medications (stimulants in most cases) and behavioral therapies that help children with this condition control their activity level and impulsiveness, pay attention, and focus on tasks are the most beneficial treatments. Medications commonly prescribed for ADD include:
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin®)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®)
- Atomoxetine (Strattera®)
- Amphetamine (Adderall®, Adderall XR®).
Despite data showing that stimulant medications are safe, there are widespread misunderstandings about the safety and use of these drugs, and some healthcare practitioners are reluctant to prescribe them. Like all medications, those used to treat ADD do have side effects and need to be closely monitored.
Most experts agree that treatment for ADD should address multiple aspects of the individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should also include:
- Structured classroom management
- Parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting)
- Tutoring and/or behavioral therapy for the child.