A Parent Guide to ADHD Treatment
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you may be wondering what the best course of treatment for him/her is. Many parents have concerns about starting medications and there are a lot of misconceptions about ADHD medication that may deter parents from considering them. The following guide is intended to provide an overview of the most common evidence-based interventions for ADHD, including information about the different classes of medications, the symptoms they are intended to target, and possible side effects to be mindful of.
Pharmacological Treatment
Stimulant medications are the best-known and most widely used medication for the management of ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults. Their efficacy is based on a long history of usage and hundreds of scientific studies. There are two derivatives of stimulants, methylphenidate and amphetamine. They are generally considered to be equally effective and carry some of the same benefits and risk of side effects. The most common side effects of stimulant medication include a decrease in appetite, problems falling asleep, and mood changes. If one stimulant is not tolerated, then the other derivative may be tried. Below are some select examples of most commonly prescribed stimulant medications. *Note: These lists are not intended to be exhaustive.
Methylphenidate derivatives:
Amphetamine derivatives:
Adderall XR®
Non-stimulant medications have generally been considered second-line medications. They are often used for those who have an inadequate or adverse response to stimulants, cannot tolerate stimulants, or have certain co-existing conditions or concerns. The scientific evidence supporting the use of non-stimulant medications is not quite as strong as for stimulants but does exist. Select examples of non-stimulant medications include:

Alpha-2 agonists (e.g., Guanfacine, Clonidine)
Wellbutrin XL®
Nonpharmacological Treatment
Raising a child with ADHD can be tough on parents. Parent management training will equip you with tools and strategies to help your child manage difficulties with focus, attention, impulsivity, and more. You will learn how to gradually shape your child’s behavior by incorporating positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and consequences for inappropriate behaviors. The evidence for PMT is strongest for kids who have ADHD as well as some behavioral challenges.
CBT is a type of therapy that can help you or your child learn coping skills to manage anxiety, sadness, or frustration related to dealing with ADHD. Research shows that kids with ADHD are more likely than their peers to develop other co-morbid conditions such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, behavior disorders, and addiction. The scientific evidence supporting CBT is robust, particularly related to its effectiveness for anxiety and/or depression.
eTNS is a neurostimulation therapy indicated for the treatment of pediatric ADHD that is cleared by the FDA as an alternative approach to medication and/or psychotherapy. eTNS delivers a small electrical impulse to the forehead through a non-invasive device during sleep and requires caretaker supervision. Participation in eTNS therapy requires a prescription from your physician as well as ongoing follow-up appointments. Its use is based on positive results in a recent academic study.
The development of critical skills can help address core issues related to ADHD including organization, time-management, prioritizing, planning, goal-attainment, and follow through. A provider familiar with organizational coaching can help provide the structures, skills, support, and strategies to address these issues to enhance functioning and self-reliance. There is evidence supporting the use of these techniques to reduce executive functioning challenges.
We are now offering a specialized ADHD program at the Mind Health Institute, Newport Beach!
Our ADHD program for children, adolescents, & adults is designed to provide the best possible care by offering evidence-based diagnostic and treatment options for ADHD. We are committed to making recommendations that are informed by the scientific literature and the most up-to-date standards of care in our field. We are also always willing to seek collaboration and consultation with all professionals involved in the care of you or your loved one. 

To learn more about our program, please feel free to reach us directly at
(949) 891-0307 -or- outreach@mhi-nb.com.