I’ve been concerned about the lack of input that children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD have relating to their diagnosis and treatment. Now a new study in the May 2017 issue of the Community Mental Health Journal reports that children with a diagnosis of ADHD want to talk with their doctors about their diagnosis and the medications used to treat it, but that this often doesn’t happen. The study involved seventy families of kids aged 7 to 17. One third of the youth wanted more discussion about ADHD with their providers. The average young person had over eight questions about ADHD and its treatment, including whether they would grow out of it, how the medicine would affect them, and information about the side effects of the medicine.
I believe that children and adolescents should be involved in the process of diagnosis and treatment from beginning to end. I even feel that kids’ input should be considered concerning whether medication is prescribed in the first place. I know of no study that has given children and/or teens a choice in whether or not they were to be medicated. Considering the potentially dangerous side-effects of ADHD drugs, the fact that they stunt growth (see my blog post on a recent longitudinal study that came to this conclusion), and the fact that they may not be effective in the long-run (same study), it would seem important that the ones who are taking the drugs should give informed consent. Perhaps doctors are reluctant to do this because they don’t want to upset the child with this negative information. In my opinion, this represents even more reason to involve them in the decision-making process.
For more information about my views on ADHD plus lots of helpful strategies, order my new book (or pre-order before its publication date: August 29, 2017): The Myth of the ADHD Child: 101 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (Tarcher/Perigee).