EARLY YEARS: Kids don’t outgrow ADHD, but the best way of treating it can change

Dr. Robert Trestman of Carilion Clinic says physical activity and therapies can lessen the need for medication in some teens
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 6:04 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - ADHD doesn’t look the same in each child.

Dr. Robert Trestman with Carilion Clinic Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine says the vast majority of kids diagnosed with ADHD, in general, tend to be in one of two groups or a combination of them.

“Either they tend to have problems focusing their attention and staying on task. Their minds wander. They look like they’re day dreaming a lot.”

The other group is more impulsive and hyperactive.

But ADHD doesn’t necessarily signify a LACK of attention.

“There are a large number, though that is either a single domain or multiple domain, that may be able to really focus on something and stay focused on that,” says Dr. Trestman.

That hyperfocus, Dr. Trestman explains, is usually on things that are engaging, like video games.

Sometimes it’s on art or music, too.

“Kids who otherwise cannot sit still will frequently focus for long periods of time, and that’s different, depending on the developmental stage,” says Dr. Trestman.

ADHD doesn’t just affect behavior, but also emotions and self esteem.

“It may lead to issues of self value. They may feel like they’re “not as good” as their siblings or their friends,” says Dr. Trestman.

Medication is a common treatment. But as children grow, their brains change.

Dr. Trestman says other options, like psychotherapy and an increase in physical activity, can also help manage ADHD.

“We’re asking children who generally learn by play and activity to sit still for hours at a time, and so that’s part of the challenge.”

While medication has risks, Dr. Trestman says sometimes it is the best alternative. Just make sure it’s helping your child, and check in to see how they feel when they’re on it.

“It’s important to talk to the child, the teenager, and to really monitor,” says Dr. Trestman.

Mostly, he says, it’s about empowering your child, and giving them the tools they need to be successful.

For more information about ADHD, click this link.

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