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What are the Different Interventions for ADHD?

By Dave Slovak
Updated Jan 31, 2024
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common behavior disorder that affects many children and young adults and that has particular effects on social behavior and learning capacity. Treatment and intervention strategies often depend on the specific subtype of the disorder. The most common evidence-based interventions for ADHD include medication strategies, family-based intervention and behavioral classroom intervention.

Medication-based interventions for ADHD use certain stimulants and similar pharmaceuticals to disrupt negative behaviors. Although ADHD medications are incapable of curing the disorder, many substances are effective in the intervention process and are often used in parallel with non-medical interventions for ADHD. Medications cannot help individuals improve social or academic skills or change an individual’s willingness to change behaviors, but many medications help prevent the negative symptoms of ADHD, which allows the person working with an ADHD individual to teach proper behavior and learning skills.

Family-based intervention provides parents with the knowledge and skills to manage children with ADHD. This intervention style focuses on parental training, family skills development and family therapy, which improve the family’s problem-solving and communication skills. The philosophy behind this method suggests that the problems resulting from ADHD can be mitigated by improving the parents’ ability to understand, manage and cope with problem behaviors. Parents can then teach ADHD children to conform to rules and better understand the consequences of poor behavior.

Unlike family-based intervention, behavioral classroom intervention focuses less on the problems resulting from ADHD and more on helping the individual with ADHD accomplish positive goals and achievements. As the name suggests, this type of intervention is used in a classroom setting. As opposed to focusing on the parents and family, behavioral classroom intervention focuses on the individual’s relationship with his or her teacher and other students.

Many behavioral classroom interventions use a reward-based system to motivate the individual to make positive choices. For example, when the individual demonstrates a positive behavior, such as waiting his or her turn to answer a question, the teacher rewards the student for good behavior. On the other hand, if the student demonstrates a negative behavior, such as interrupting another student or answering impulsively, the teacher penalizes the student for poor behavior. The reward system often involves prizes, privileges or other benefits.

Although most people focus on evidence-based interventions for ADHD, there are many other strategies used to treat the disorder. These include socialization programs, group treatment, psychotherapy, holistic medicine, and even exercise or diet regimens. ADHD is a common yet complex disorder. As a result, individuals respond differently to each treatment style. What works for one person may or may not work for others.

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